Sir Francis Tress Barry

Related imageSir Francis Tress Barry was MP for Windsor from 1890 to 1906.

Barry was born in 1825 in Orpington Kent. He left school at 16 and went to Spain to work in business in Bilbao. By 1846 he had become vice-consul for the Biscaya province, and during the 1850s he made a fortune from a Portuguese copper mine. He was ennobled as Baron de Barry in 1837 by the King of Portugal.

In 1872 he purchased the country estate St Leonard’s Hill, and got involved with philanthropic projects in Windsor. During the 1880s he financed the building and fitting out of new consulting rooms and a children’s ward at the Infirmary on Victoria Street, as well as an isolation ward with nurses rooms. He became president of the Hospital in 1888.

Barry was made a baronet in 1899.

Outside of Windsor he financed the excavation of Nybster Broch, an Iron Age drystone structure in Scotland, where he had bought Keiss Castle.  (See collection link below)

He died in his Windsor home in 1907 aged 82. Barry Avenue is named after him.

Tress Barry Collection CoverSir Francis Tress Barry Collection

Catalogue of Material held in the National Monuments Record of Scotland




Charles Knight: Father and Son

By Dr B Mitchell

Charles Knight (senior) was born around 1750, and brought up by the Rev James Hampton, a Yorkshire clergyman. The rumour that he was the illegitimate son of Fredrick Prince of Wales and Henrietta Knight may well be true. Fredrick died in 1750, and was known to have had a liaison with Henrietta Knight, a society beauty. James Hampton was in the pay of the royal court, and after James’ death, Charles Knight inherited a considerable legacy, and moved to Windsor. He set himself up as a printer and bookseller opposite the castle gates, where George III paid him frequent visits, like brother to brother.

In 1812 Charles Knight senior with his son Charles Knight junior started printing Windsor’s first newspaper, the Windsor and Eton Express. By this time he had become an alderman, and was twice Mayor of Windsor. In 1819 he retired, and left his printing business to his son. He died in 1824, but there was no obituary to him in his paper, just a brief death notice.

Charles Knight (junior) was born in 1791. His mother died shortly after his birth, and his father never re-married. He grew up learning about the printing business, but was also overseer of the poor in Windsor, encouraged by his father. He made the startling and unheard of suggestion of actually visiting the poor in their homes.

After his father’s death, Charles sold the newspaper and moved to London to follow a career which made him famous. He had ever been keen to bring books and learning to the poorer classes. In London he got involved with the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge and published The Penny Magazine, The Penny Cyclopaedia, The Library of Entertaining Knowledge, and other publications specifically aimed at the working classes. He died in 1873 and was returned to Windsor to be buried on Bachelors’ Acre where all his family had been laid to rest.

See Windsor and Eton Express, 1812-1830, the Charles Knight Years.

Charles Knight WEE Book

Available from the WLHG at the special price of £5.00


Windsor: WW2 Memories

Historians Dr Brigitte Mitchell and Mr Derek Hunt are looking for Windsorians willing to share their Second World War experiences, be they civilian or military.

Windsor World War 2
Mothers and Babies evacuated to Windsor. Prams were donated for their use.


After their highly successful publication of Windsor in the Great War,  and to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of war, the two historians are researching Windsor’s experience of World War 2.

Anyone willing to meet and share their experiences, photos, letters, and so forth, are asked to email WLHG via our Contact page.


Open Day

Open 01


Windsorians were given a glimpse into the town’s past when members of Windsor Local History Group invited locals to attend an open day held in Windsor Baptist Church on Victoria Street.



For members of the group one of the highlights of the day was listening to people shareOpen 03 their memories of growing up and living in Windsor.


Displays included hundreds of photographs covering shops, streets, and pubs, Windsor in both world wars, and maps showing the changes to the town over several centuries, as well as images of Old Windsor. Files of newspaper clippings, letters,  and other ephemera were freely available for those interested to look through and read, and members of the group were on-hand to talk to people and answer questions.

Open 02


The group also showed a film made by them some years ago, which gives a brief history of Windsor as well as showing ‘then and now’ images of the town. Coupled with a slide show of vintage and historic images, these proved to be a popular highlight. The church opened its café so visitors were able to get a drink, then relax and watch in comfort.

The event was so popular that WLHG have decided to hold another open day next year.


WLHG Open Day

Members of WLHG at the Open Day

(L to R seated) Sue Mercer, Elias Kupfermann, Beryl Hedges

(L to R standing) Anne Taylor, Margeret Lenton, Susy Shearer, Vaughan Sutton, Brigitte Mitchell, Catherine Sutton, Jacqui  Cawthorne, Tony Heaton, Sue Ashley, Leslie Grout

(Behind the camera) Photograph and Image Copyright: Carol Dixon-Smith


Windlesora No. 34

Contents Win4 Cover

  1. The Totem Pole
  2. Sir Dhunjibhoy Bomanji
  3. Princess Christian Nursing Home
  4. Centenary of the End of WW1
    1. Horse Chestnuts and the War Effort
    2. Windsor and the End of the Great War
  5. Ghosts of Businesses Past
  6. Award for WLHG Chairperson
  7. Windsor: Contagious Diseases Act
  8. Frederic Rainer
  9. Princess Charlotte
  10. Vera Lynn in Windsor
  11. Thomas HArdy
  12. Lord Roberts and the Veterans series
    1. Private John Statham
  13. Centenary of the RAF
    1. Aircraft Crash in Eton, Feb 1918
    2. Reginald A R Try RFC
  14. Edward James Try
  15. White Hart Hotel
  16. Centenary: Daniel’s Windsor Store
  17. The Whistling Court Case
  18. WIndsor Cemetary series
    1. Cololnel Muter
  19. Book Review: St Edward’ Churchs
  20. Obituary: Norman Oxley


The Journey Begins

An ancient Chinese saying tells us that

a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. 

Windsor Local History Group took that first step in 1976 when a number of WEA students and tutors formed the Windsor Local History Publications Group whose stated aim was to foster research in the field of local history (specifically the town and people of Windsor) and to publish the results.

The word ‘publications’ was dropped from the name in 2004, and it became known as the Windsor Local History Group. Members have individual topics and specialisms but share their knowledge and research in a variety of ways; books, articles or talks. They contribute to the WLHG’s annual journal, Windlesora, and  group publications such as Windsor 1000 Years.

Although this is not a society but a limted membership group, WLHG are always keen to share their knowledge and to meet and discuss topics with Windsorians of all ages.

So. Thank you for joining us. Don’t be shy about contacting us, and remember:

Good company on a journey makes the way seem shorter (Isaak Walton)

Long Walk