The Local Historians: 8 Dr Francis Hyde

Francis Edwin Hyde was born at 144 Cambridge Street in 1908, the son of Walter Hyde a railway clerk. He attended the County School at Moon Street, where he was, incidentally, a class mate of one of my aunts, and from there won a scholarship to Liverpool University. On graduation he became a lecturer in history at the university and he spent the remainder of his career there, retiring as a full Professor of History. He specialised in Liverpool’s mercantile history and published several books and articles on the subject. He married Marina Welton in 1935 and he died at his home in Birkenhead in 1978.

He was Wolverton’s first professional historian and at brought his expertise to bear on the history of his native town. He contributed some valuable work in print. He wrote the first, and at the time definitive, A Short History of Wolverton, which was published in 1948. It was a slim volume of 48 pages and a copy can still be found in Wolverton Library. He provides a broad overview of Wolverton’s agricultural and industrial history and the book is invaluable for providing a map of Wolverton’s fields after enclosure. The map was drawn by his wife Marina (The maps in all these books were attributed to Marian R Hyde) from an 18th century field map which has since disappeared. Thus, until this map turns up, the book is the only source.

He also collaborated with Sir Frank Markham on A History of Stony Stratford. This was published in 1948. Hyde was responsible for the chapters up to the end of the Tudor period and Markham from 1700 to the present day. He also published in two parts, an extensive academic paper called The Growth of a Town in Town Planning Review, 1949. In this paper he describe the economic origins of Stony Stratford at the beginning of the 13th century.

Among his published history books are:

  • Mr. Gladstone at the Board of Trade 1934
  • Blue Funnel: A History Of Alfred Holt And Company Of Liverpool From 1865 To 1914. 1956
  • The Senior John Samuel Swire, 1825-98: Management in Far Eastern Shipping Trades  1967 with Sheila Mariner
  • Shipping Enterprise and Management, 1830-1939 Hardcover– 1 Feb 1967
  • Liverpool and the Mersey: The Development of a Port, 1700-1970 – 1971
  • Cunard and the North Atlantic 1840-1973: A History of Shipping and Financial Management Paperback – 1975