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Peter Hill

Chris Biddle's plaque commemorates lawn mower inventor

Published on 31st October 2014

Chris Biddle plaque 01The British inventor of the lawn mower has been commemorated by Guild member Chris Biddle, editor of Service Dealer, as he celebrates the 250th edition of his weekly email newsletter for the farm and horticultural machinery trade.

The e-newsletter has achieved a strong following, says Chris: “The 'open-rate' of near 50% we achieve with Service Dealer Update (the percentage opened of the total sent) is way, way above the average for similar e-mails in virtually every other sector.

Service Dealer Update“And the satisfying aspect is that we constantly get told that people grab a coffee in the office and sit by the computer at mid-day on a Friday, waiting for the e-mail to drop into their in-box and provide their fix of up-to-date industry news.”

As for his decision to commemorate the invention of the lawn mower, Chris says: “I was struck by a remark on a US lawn and garden website that, given the importance of his invention, it was strange that there was no reminder of Edwin Budding's achievement in his home town of Stroud.

“Although there is no longer a formal Blue Plaque scheme, I thought this the best way to remember someone whose contribution to our social, sporting and cultural life has been immense.”

Chris Biddle plaque 02A 'replica' Blue Plaque was duly commissioned and after fruitful discussions with local councils and the business now established where Edwin Budding engineered his lawn mower, the plaque was duly mounted.

“The Phoenix Textile Mill  where Budding would have been burning the midnight oil to fine-tune his invention in 1830 is no longer standing, but on the same site are a number of specialist businesses, including the award-winning Stroud Brewery,” says Chris. “Thanks to Stroud District Council, the Brimscombe and Thrupp Parish Council and Greg Pilley, founder of Stroud Brewery Company, the plaque was mounted to the outside of the brewery building.”

Edwin Budding and his business partner John Ferrabee made a quantity of lawn mowers, supplying one of the early machines to Regents Park Zoo. The first manufacturing licence was bought by Ransomes in 1832 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Budding pale aleGreg Pilley's business brewed its first beer in 2006: “We strive in every way to make our business as sustainable as possible – financially, environmentally and socially,” he says. “We minimise our resource use, source local and organic ingredients, and re-cycle our waste as feedstuff for pigs and cows on local smallholdings.”

Stroud Brewery's 'Budding Ale' - which is produced with an image of a lawn mower on the label - is one of its top sellers. At an ABV of 4.5%, it is described as having a ‘grassy bitterness, sweet malt and luscious floral aroma’.

It may well feature at a formal unveiling of the plaque. Cheers!

Peter Hill

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