The Corbetts - Father & Son

  • 15 Jan 2012
  • Worcester People and Places
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At St. Catherine's Hill, London Road, lived Edward F Corbett, a successful solicitor who became a local historian. His firm was something of a legal institution in the city, and many well-known men in the legal profession received their training at his hands. The practice came to a sudden end, however, when it was found that Corbett had been using Clients money in business speculations that had failed. In 1902 he was sent to prison for embezzlement; and after serving his prison sentence, and no longer able to practise as a solicitor, he turned his attention to local journalism, writing articles for the Worcester Herald. He had an unrivalled knowledge of local people and affairs and between 1924 and 1930 his ambitious series retraced John Noakes's footstopes of fifty years earlier under the pen name 'Stroller'. The articles continued in Berrow's Worcester Journal and are a useful source for todays's local historians, provided they are approached with some caution since Corbett was in no sense a disciplined researcher.
Corbett's son, Edward, was also a solicitor, but it was said he was bitten by a 'travel bug'. Days spent in the office were tedious and irksome to him and he found relief by going to Shrub Hill Station and watching the trains go out. One who knew him well told how, after putting the usual notice on his door, 'Back in an hour', he went one glorious May morning to Shrub Hill and was about to return when the London express came in from Hereford. Quite unable to resist the urge to board the train, he brought a ticket and eventually spent the day at London Docks. In the evening as the tide turned and the ships began moving down river, he was approached by a ship's officer who offered him a berth to Australia. He signed there and then and by nightfall was on his way. It was nearly two years before he returned and by that time the 1914-18 War had started. He had a flair for languages, and a particular interest in folklore; and he was reputed to be a wonderful storyteller, regarding it as a serious art.