It is with great sadness that I must record the death of my father, Charles Lynam FRIBA FSA JP and former Mayor of Stoke (1903-4), who died at ‘Cliff Bank’ in Stoke-on-Trent on February 21st, aged 92. Together with my mother Lucy (née Garner), who predeceased him in 1906, he brought up our large family of 14 children, ten of whom survive.
He was born in 1829 at Colwich, in Staffordshire and lived in the reigns of five English monarchs. He was educated at Christ’s Hospital (then in central London) and made his first journeys to school in the old stage coaches.
After an apprenticeship he joined his father, who was borough surveyor of Stoke, and on his father’s death he started for himself as architect and surveyor and continued in active work until the outbreak of war in 1914.
It would be out of place here to enumerate the many important buildings which he designed in Staffordshire, the North Stafford Infirmary, many churches, schools, private houses and public buildings. He designed the present Dragon School in 1895 and its extension with the present School House in 1910. In his 91st year he made the design for our War Memorial Cross, which was erected and dedicated on November 8th, 1920. It was his and our great regret that he was unable to be present, and that he has never actually seen it. For the last months of his life he had a large photograph of it always at hand, and very often spoke of it.
My father’s practical creed may be summed up in the word, work. When he took a short holiday he would be found sketching or studying the beauty of nature or art from earliest dawn till outdoor work was no longer possible. Extremes of cold or heat or rain never stopped him; indeed, he found something to admire and enjoy in every phase of weather or scene, however unpleasant it might seem to other people.
On the Bench in his latter years he was known as most kind and tender-hearted towards those in trouble and was a terror to wilful evil-doers. It may be noted that he became a total abstainer early in life as an example to others, but that he never dictated to others what course they should pursue. Every man should follow his own conscience was his creed. He never smoked, he never read a work of fiction, he had no liking for poetry or the stage, but grand prose such as he found in the Bible and Ruskin he loved. His architectural drawings and paintings were of the highest order, and he greatly admired the Pre-Raphaelite school of painting. He was one of the great Victorians.
The words of St. Paul fitly sum up my father’s long, strenuous and most useful life:
‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.’