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Frederick William Steer

1906 - 1987
10 Ashling Road
Greater London

The following was penned for Fred's funeral by Harry Cane, his brother in law.

'Fred Steer was the first born into a large family. His DAD was a Master builder, who taught his son the business from A to Z. Fred was a good pupil, The Great Metropolis, and the Provinces, are littered with Garages, Bungalows, Houses, Flats, Shops, Offices, and Factories that he supervised in what he called his tour of duty. Hundreds of families are delighted with the additions he made to their homes. He was acknowledged by Council Building Inspectors, as a superb workman.

Fred was a bachelor, he was loved by his Nephews and Nieces, they knew him well.

The local children, took their broken books, toys and bicycles, to him, he repaired them all in his own fashion, there were times when he had to mend their broken hearts as well, and this he did well.

For years he took toddlers, in and around London, on the busses, his young friends were no strangers to, The Thames, Greenwich Pier, and The Cutty-Sark.

In the early post-war years, he built six-inch televisions, from surplus Army and Navy gear, he was an expert, with microphones, and loud-speakers. At Christmas, he filled the home with, music, colour, glittering lights, and party games, some forty years ago, he introduced Sammy-Snowman into the Christmas scene, to tell the children stories from the North-Pole. Fred was devoted to his, Mum and Dad, he lived alone in the old home, for the last twenty years, visited regularly by his sister.

Fred and Sammy-Snowman, will be remembered always. Fred will be sadly missed.'

Fred appears to have served in the Home Guard during the second World War.

A number of recollections testify to the generous and caring nature of Uncle Fred and his eccentricities. His legacy has inspired his nephews in their lifetimes, particularly Bruce who was his godson and inherited some of Uncle Fred's traits. Fred heated his home by paraffin and the greasy black decor of the outside toilet, more like an interior of a old stove than a convenience, was due to a smoking wick one winter. His car, a pale blue Hillman Minx was known as Lixey after the number plate LXY. When he retired Fred vowed never to drive again and Lixey went to the graveyard.

When Bruce was extending his house in Peopleton in Worcestershire in the 1970s Fred stayed and assisted. He cleaned the windows with a paint scraper and the fine scratches on the glass are an amusing record of his welcomed help. His televisions were legendary, with their six inch circular green radar screens. Built into old gramophone cabinets they had an awe inspiring complexity that defied all but Fred. The unusual roof aerials matched the unusualness of the televisions. Before televisions, Fred built radios and was one of the pioneers of in-home radios in the 1920s. His first set survives at Tower House complete with his initials fretted into the loud speaker grill. His bed, an unusual 4 foot width, also survived at Tower House for many years, having beforehand belonged to his sister Kath. Before switching to cars, Fred enjoyed motorcycling and his ultimate machine was an Aerial Square Four. This monster bike was top of the range in its time and for many years it languished in his shed at number 10. Much to Bruce's chagrin it was given away just as Bruce was coming of the age when fast motor bikes were definitely on the wish list.

Another of Fred's interests was billiards and his massive billiard table not only provided hours of games amusement but also provided a table at Xmas large enough for the extended family to sit around to eat, open presents, enjoy vintage film shows and to let off the most obnoxious and probably Click to discover where the family livedvery dangerous indoor fireworks. One year the exploding bomb of presents was a popular innovation and thereafter more powerful exploding bombs became a preoccupation. The billiard table survives at Lionel's at Trefrew Hall.

Fred died at home in November 1987 and was cremated. His inscribed slab now resides at Tower House having been recovered from Mitcham Road Cemetery.

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William Isaac Steer

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Caroline Alice Steer (formerly Grange)


20th CENTURY first half, PEOPLE




England - Southern

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