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British Industrial History

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Ernest William Hart

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Ernest William Hart (c1859-1913)

1907 Petrol Electric Transmission Gear for Motor vehicles - by Hart-Durtnall E. W. Hart and William P. Durtnall.[1]

1911 Living at Crescent Road, Luton, Beds: Ernest William Hart (age 51 born Luton), Straw Plait Dyer and Bleacher - Employer. With his wife Emily Louise Hart (age 49 born Luton) and their daughter Marguerite Louise Hart (age 19 born Luton). One servant.[2]


1913 Obituary.[3]

We regret to announce the death of Mr. Ernest William Hart, which took place at his residence, Crescent-road, on Saturday last. The deceased gentleman was a well-known bleacher and dyer, and about a fortnight ago had the misfortune to contract a chill, which later on developed into pneumonia. His condition soon became critical, and oxygen was repeatedly administered. The treatment seemed to have the desired effect, as later on he revived and the doctor thought the crisis had passed about 12.30 Saturday morning, however, he complained that he could not breathe properly, and oxygen was again administered. Dr..... was summoned, but found that the patient was beyond the reach of medical aid. The cause of death was clot of blood on the heart.

The deceased was enthusiastic motorist, and drove the first self-propelled vehicle in Luton and in Bedfordshire. The Hart-Durnall petrol electric system, which entirely did away with boxes, was his invention, but of late years he had not taken such a keen interest in motoring.

The deceased was fifty-four years of age, and he leaves a widow, one son and one daughter to mourn his .... The late Mr. Hart had a remarkable trying business career, but his indomitable energy and natural buoyancy of spirit, overcame difficulties which would have spelt .... a less courageous spirit. In the course of his business experiences he had no less than three outbreaks of fire to contend with, the third of which, in November, 1902, at Windmill-road, the damage amounted to the sum of £8,000. Business was at that time very pressing and, prosperous, but unfortunately not one builder in the town would entertain the idea of re-building the premises for Mr. Hart. Undaunted, he engaged an architect, bricklayers, etc., and started the work of re-erection himself and successfully completed them, working day and night till they were finished. At this time he installed the electric light on the premises, long before the Corporation started their station.

In the early days of motoring Mr. Hart's name and inventive genius were well to the front, and he had business transactions with all the great motoring pioneers in days gone by. The late Mr. Hart was great traveller, and had been all over Europe. His geniality was a marked characteristic, and the sympathy of wide circle of friends and acquaintances will be extended the bereaved family in their sorrow.

The funeral took place Wednesday afternoon at the Luton General Cemetery. the Rev. E. B. Mahon, the King-street Congregational Church, conducted the service. The chief mourners were: Mr. Oscar Hart (son), Mr. Baxter Hart and Mr. Leonard Hart (brothers), Mr. Clifford Hart and Mr. Leslie Hart (nephews), Mr. Alfred Ashby, Mr. Charles Ashby (cousins) Mr. Arthur Tomalin (brother-in-law)....



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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1907/01/25
  2. 1911 Census
  3. Luton Times and Advertiser - Friday 18 July 1913