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Tim Birkin burial trivia


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#1 ChrisD

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Posted 09 February 2020 - 17:39

ok, this is total trivia, but I am always interested when different sources disagree.  Sadly, I am also interested in trivia!

 

In the latest Classic & Sportscar magazine Mick Walsh states that Tim Birkin wanted to be buried with his feet pointing to the sea but that his wish was denied him because the Bishop insisted that all the graves be "kept in line".

 

Paul Kenny, in his biography of Charles Villiers ("The man who supercharged Bond") states that Birkin was buried "his feet pointing out to sea as he wished".

 

Does anyone have the answer please?

 

 

By the way, I am having real problems with the new Motor Sport archive that was launched a couple of weeks back.  I cannot get the search to work.  Either it comes up with 'no results' for information that I know is there somewhaere because I have previously accessed it, or it gives dozens of pages that do not contain the information that I have searched for.  Am I alone?  Am I missing something?  I have emailed Motor Sports a couple of times since the launch of the new website about this but have received no reply.



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#2 Tim Murray

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Posted 09 February 2020 - 20:47

Here are a couple of photos of Birkin’s grave at St Nicholas Church, Blakeney, taken from this blog post:

66123-D9-F-7720-47-F9-9-E5-C-61-E5-B359-

A25-E29-D5-7-B28-4-E0-C-B312-545-F2-B790

As can be seen, his grave appears to be in line with all the others and parallel to the church. Google Maps reveals that the church points approximately ENE. For his feet to be pointing directly at the sea at its closest point they would have to be pointing slightly East of due North, so it does appear that the Bishop won the argument. However, if one follows the ENE direction his feet seem to be pointing in, one does find the sea fairly soon.

#3 P0wderf1nger

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Posted 09 February 2020 - 22:02

Hello Chris

 

I can help bring your sources more into alignment.

I can't recall now where I read that Birkin was laid to rest with his feet pointing out to sea. I've had a hunt around and found the 1993 50th anniversary memorial rally guide that gave me all the juice on his speedboat, Ida, and that merely says his wish was to be buried at St Nicholas'. 

 

I visited Birkin's grave myself during the 70th anniversary rally and I can recall thinking, 'Where's the sea then'? I can certainly agree with Tim that the grave is laid parallel with the others in the churchyard. Google maps suggests that if it had been laid out at right angles to its actual orientation, the sea would be nearer his feet.

 

I assure you that I would only have used a reputable source, but it would appear that it and I were wrong.

If I can remember the password to tmwsb.com, I'll add this to the errata.

 

Good of you to refer to a book that is now more than 10 years old. I trust the rest of it standing up to the test of time.

Paul


Edited by P0wderf1nger, 09 February 2020 - 22:03.


#4 Roger Clark

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 07:25

Many years ago, probably in the 60s, I visited Birkin’s grave in Blakeney. My memory is that the grave was completely unmaintained; the headstone was very worn and almost illegible, nothing like what we see today. They say that if you can remember the 60s you weren’t there but can anyone say whether my memory is correct?if it is, who was responsible for the renovation?



#5 Doug Nye

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 07:52

Alain de Cadenet is one who cleaned-up Birkin's grave - more than once, I believe - to mark his respect for 'Tim's memory...

 

DCN



#6 Michael Ferner

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 10:26

Is Archie Birkin buried there, too?



#7 Tim Murray

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 11:58

Archie is buried in the Birkin family mausoleum in the cemetery at West Bridgford, just south of Nottingham and not far from the family home at Ruddington Grange:

https://www.findagra...ld_cecil-birkin

#8 ChrisD

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 12:15

As ever, many thanks to all who replied.  Looking at the photo of the grave in Tim's posting and Google satellite view it does indeed look as though the Bishop got his way.



#9 john winfield

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 12:41

Archie is buried in the Birkin family mausoleum in the cemetery at West Bridgford, just south of Nottingham and not far from the family home at Ruddington Grange:

https://www.findagra...ld_cecil-birkin

 

That's interesting; I never realised that the Birkins were from Nottingham, nor that they had a family mausoleum in West Bridgford. For anyone visiting, this cemetery is not in West Bridgford centre, but just north of Nottingham's southern ring road, at the southern edge of the city suburbs; leave this (A52) ring road at the A60 roundabout, north of Ruddington, and the entrance is a few hundred metres along on your right. If asking directions, nobody ever talks of the 'southern cemetery', it's always Wilford Hill (cemetery/crematorium). If you can see the church/chapel on the crest of the cemetery hill, you're nearly there.

I wouldn't advise visiting by car just at the moment as the traffic is chaotic. A major bridge crossing the Trent has suddenly been closed because of structural defects.

 

Edit. It seems that the Grange manor house, as occupied by the Birkins, was demolished in the mid-twentieth century. I think the house's modern replacement forms the heart of the golf club located between Ruddington village and Wilford Hill cemetery.


Edited by john winfield, 10 February 2020 - 12:51.


#10 Gregor Marshall

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 14:08

I think the church does tend to get final say in these matters, but interesting to see the real details.
As a slight aside, it is Welwyn Garden Citys 100th anniversary this year (and where I now live) and I know that the Bentley Drivers' Club are due to erect a plaque in August at the site (now a Topps Tiles) of where the "Blower" Bentleys were built by Tim Birkin.
Most of you probably aren't aware though, my step-father Miles Hutton very sadly passed away in September and his grandmother, Margaret Hutton was married to W.O. Bentley (W.O.s third wife), who as you are aware was not a fan of the blower, so I'm in two mind about going to the plaque erection and it's actual significance.



#11 P0wderf1nger

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 14:55

I think the church does tend to get final say in these matters, but interesting to see the real details.
As a slight aside, it is Welwyn Garden Citys 100th anniversary this year (and where I now live) and I know that the Bentley Drivers' Club are due to erect a plaque in August at the site (now a Topps Tiles) of where the "Blower" Bentleys were built by Tim Birkin.
Most of you probably aren't aware though, my step-father Miles Hutton very sadly passed away in September and his grandmother, Margaret Hutton was married to W.O. Bentley (W.O.s third wife), who as you are aware was not a fan of the blower, so I'm in two mind about going to the plaque erection and it's actual significance.

Hi Gregor

 

It appears that the blue plaque was presented to Topps Tiles in November.
https://www.whtimes....-city-1-6359403

 

Commiserations on the loss of your stepfather.

 

Paul



#12 Allan Lupton

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 16:06

A resident of the First* Garden City comments: Birkin (later Birkin & Couper) occupied 19 and 21 Broadwater Road, Welwyn Garden City, so there is an opportunity to get the occupier of 21 in on the act - as it's Majestic Wine it could be a good party!

 

Back to the OP it is fashionable to refer to people like Villiers using both given names, rather than just the one used by the person at the time. That leads to other people re-shortening the name but using the first name even where the second is known to have been used as in (Charles) Amherst Villiers. How long before we read of those two English World Champion drivers, John Hawthorn and Norman Hill?

 

 

 

 

* Letchworth, founded in 1903


Edited by Allan Lupton, 10 February 2020 - 16:08.


#13 Odseybod

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 16:24

Nice coincidence - Topps Tiles is just down the road from where my Jag-wah is currently receiving a new exhaust system - at a price that would make even Dorothy Paget's eyes water.



#14 Vitesse2

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 17:56

A resident of the First* Garden City comments: Birkin (later Birkin & Couper) occupied 19 and 21 Broadwater Road, Welwyn Garden City, so there is an opportunity to get the occupier of 21 in on the act - as it's Majestic Wine it could be a good party!

 

Back to the OP it is fashionable to refer to people like Villiers using both given names, rather than just the one used by the person at the time. That leads to other people re-shortening the name but using the first name even where the second is known to have been used as in (Charles) Amherst Villiers. How long before we read of those two English World Champion drivers, John Hawthorn and Norman Hill?

 

 

 

 

* Letchworth, founded in 1903

As one who also uses his second given name I fully understand. When dealing with any government department I'm now just resigned to being addressed as 'John'. Because even if you tell them politely that you don't use that name they don't bloody listen ...



#15 Doug Nye

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 22:33


From memory - perhaps dangerously unchecked (because I'm enjoying a rare day off) - didn't Birkin, late in his life and really struggling to avoid personal bankruptcy, rent a property in the near-unpronounceable Norfolk village of Tacolneston - I believe locals call it 'Tacolston' - either Tacolneston Hall itself, seat of the Boileau family (as, I believe, he claimed) - or in fact a rather more modest res just nearby?

 

The poor fellow was actually living "in reduced circumstances", anyway...and then he set off for Tripolitania...

 

DCN

 


#16 P0wderf1nger

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 21:36

Birkin-grave-1.jpg

 

The wreath-laying party at the 2013 Birkin Memorial Rally. From right to left: Birkin's grandson, Timothy Buxton; Timothy's son; Adam Singer of the Benjafield's Racing Club; and Franco Weibel.

 

Franco's family used to own GK 3841, the Blower in which Ian Fleming was once photographed. That image is on the cover of my Villiers biography, The Man Who Supercharged Bond. 

 

Birking-grave-2.jpg

 

The dedication on the wreath read: 'Tim Birkin, who gave us inspiration beyond mortality, and the dream of living a life at full throttle'.


Edited by P0wderf1nger, 11 February 2020 - 21:43.


#17 Gregor Marshall

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 09:21

Hi Gregor

 

It appears that the blue plaque was presented to Topps Tiles in November.
https://www.whtimes....-city-1-6359403

 

Commiserations on the loss of your stepfather.

 

Paul

 

Hi Paul, thanks for the commiserations, he had been ill with Parkinsons and Myasthenia Gravis for quite a while unfortunately, but  a couple of years ago was able to take part in the Paul McGann Sky TV documentry the Petrol Age and tell stories about his recollections of growing up with W.O.  

Thanks for the link, slightly strange, as it says that they were presented the plaque in November, but it's not being unveiled until August this year!!  I do visit the Majestic Wine regularly (for my wife!!) and it is a very good one :)


Edited by Gregor Marshall, 13 February 2020 - 09:21.