George G. Lerry – First editor of the Wrexham Leader

The rebuilt Leader Office, Regent Street, Wrexham. 1950

BERTHA SCHREIBER was baptised on 8 August 1886 at St Mary`s Church, Bryanston Square, Westminster. Her parents were Eugene Schreiber and Ann Dyas, who ran a lodging house at 27 York Street, Marylebone.

In 1890 her father applied for a naturalisation certificate; they were living in Oswestry at that time.

He states he is a subject of Germany, and was born in Mastbach, in Westerberg. He is aged 49, married and is a lodging house keeper and courier. His 2 children living with him are Bertha aged 13 and Gladys Mary who was 8.

The next year, Bertha was with her mother Jane, her 1 day old sister Gladys Mary and her aunt Mary Dyas, they were still in York Street. The boarders included a nurse, governesses, servants who were from Switzerland and Germany,   so it was a respectable establishment. It was listed in the London Directory of 1891.

When she was 13 she was admitted to the St Marylebone Central School in Westminster on 12 October 1896, before then she had been in a private school.

In 1900 Bertha was at the Board School in Oswestry.  The school board had decided that it would be an incentive to improve attendance by giving out books at the annual prize distribution. The event was held in the Public Hall where Bertha was awarded a consolation prize in a recitation programme.

By 1911 the family were at 26 Oswald Road, Oswestry

Jane was a boarding house keeper; Bertha was   an Assistant Elementary School Teacher, 

Gladys Mary was employed in “fancy drapery “and Mary Dyas was still with them.

Later that year Bertha married George Geoffrey Lerry in Oswestry.

GEORGE GEOFFREY LERRY was baptised on 6 May 1883 at Holy Trinity, Oswestry. He was the son of George Humphreys Lerry and Florence Mary Otterhead. His father was a solicitor’s clerk from Oswestry and his mother was born in Wrexham.  He is listed in Kelly`s Directory 1909 as George Lerry 54 Castle Street, Oswestry. General Advertising Agent. He became a journalist and was still with his family until his marriage.

On 1 April 1913 George Geoffrey Lerry was initiated to the Square & Compass Lodge, Wrexham.

He was awarded the MBE in the 1918 Birthday Honours, at that time he was the secretary to the North Wales Joint Disablement Committee, Wrexham. This organisation had been set up to aid injured serviceman.

At their meeting in 1914 the Chairman reported that the Treasury had approved of the payment of a rent of £ 110 per annum as the rent for the residence known as Little Acton, near Acton Park, Wrexham, for use as a, hostel for discharged men. He had opened up negotiations with Sir Neville Cunliffe, who had consented to lease his property at Little Acton to the Committee. The building would be used as a hostel for the accommodation of discharged men who would be under training at Acton Park in the diamond-cutting industry and other crafts. The men would receive hospital treatment when required at the Croesnewydd Hospital, about a mile and a half away. The Secretary, Mr. G. G. Lerry, stated that he was every week receiving applications from various parts of the country, from men discharged as arrested or cured from sanatoria in which they had been treated for tuberculosis, for admission to the market gardening course at Wrexham Garden Village. He was so far unable to accept these men, as the Denbighshire Committee had been unable to remove the rule against the admission of men who had suffered or were suffering from tuberculosis.

The couple lived in Gerald Street for many years and in 1939 were at No 16. His occupation was “editor”.

George G Lerry was the first editor of the Wrexham Leader from 1920-1948 and   wrote many articles and books  on  the history of  the Wrexham area and  was well known in local, national and international eisteddfodau, and had a keen interest in Wrexham Football Club.

In 1949 the “Leader Office “on Regent Street was destroyed by a fire. Most of the records were ruined but a document on the history of St Giles Parish Church was saved. It had been written by George and had taken him over 2 years. 

When Bertha died in 1955 they were still in the same house, she was a wealthy woman in her own right. George Geoffrey continued to live at their home and died there on 3 December 1971, he was reunited with Bertha and buried in Wrexham Cemetery.

Many of the Personal papers and documents belonging to George are held at the Denbighshire Archives.

Researched by Annette Edwards. September 2020.

Grave ref: Wrexham Cemetery B-07107

IN LOVING MEMORY OF BERTHA, WIFE OF GEORGE GEOFFREY LERRY, 16 GERALD STREET, WREXHAM. BORN JULY 8TH 1886. DIED APRIL 20TH 1955. RIP. ALSO OF THE ABOVE GEORGE GEOFFREY LERRY M.B.E. JOURNALIST, FIRST EDITOR OF THE WREXHAM LEADER, SPORTSMAN AND HISTORIAN. FREEMAN OF THE BOROUGH OF WREXHAM. WHO DIED 3RD DEC 1971. AGED 88 YEARS.

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