The Factory

The Person


Arthur Fern Shaw comments on some of Webster’s characteristics

“What kind of a private life, it might be asked, did James Fern Webster lead and what were his recreations? I think that it is best to answer these questions by the description given to me by those who knew him intimately.

He was described as one that possessed a full sense of humour., always at home in good company, quick tempered but soon forgot any differences, not sulky, not dogmatic. One who had the rare gift of weighing things and men in the balance. A very patient man and always a good listener.

When he gave his opinion due respect was readily given to other people’s views, it was the outcome of experience and authority. A wave of expectation was always felt by his friends. Would he talk about some of the new ideas he was working out or say something about his latest inventions? When this did happen nothing would distract their attention, their minds would be completely absorbed by the speaker.

Fishing was his main recreation. There were many streams around Birmingham that my Grandfather was acquainted with. He rented several including the large Earlswood Lakes.  One can understand this liking for piscatorial pastime, as it is known that many a problem of intricate nature has been solved in the quietude of a pool or stream by thinking men, when a fisherman has been lost in ‘other worlds’ that they have not noticed biting and have got away with the bait!

My Grandfather travelled quite a lot but seldom for pleasure alone, business reasons being the main issue, when trunks were packed for a trip to the continent. Many of his patents were protected in countries abroad and licences granted for working them, so it became necessary from time to time to make visits to his business friends abroad.

On these excursions my Grandfather always travelled alone. Upon his return members of the family would spend a very delightful time unpacking and viewing the various things that he had brought back with him. In matters of art, he possessed a keen and critical eye and was quick to notice and possess if possible any piece of clever craftsmanship. Many beautiful and rare specimens of artistic workmanship visitors to Fern House admired to their delight and surprise.”

Extract from Biography

Poem in Webster’s handwriting

The Person