Oswald Hamilton F.R.C.S. - A.M.E.E. - A.M.I.M.E.

Oswald Hamilton's business premises on the corner of the crossroads at Old Stratford

Mr. Hamilton was a Mancunian by birth, and was educated at the Technical School in Manchester, passing on to Queen's University in the same city. Later he went to London University as an assistant in chemistry to Sir Henry Roscoe, and whilst there he was assistant editor of the Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry. In 1891 he became manager of the White Lead Company at Northfleet in Kent, and six years later in 1897 he moved to Old Stratford, where his first piece of important work was to patent armour lead for the late Mr. J. J. Atkinson who at that time residing at Cosgrove Priory. He also did successful  experimental chemistry for the late Sir Thomas Femor Hesketh, of Easton Neaton, Towcester. Mr. Hamilton had not long established himself at Old Stratford before he became interested in motor engineering, and after doing experimental work in this direction, he founded his engineering company in 1903. A piece of land was purchased near the crossroads which included the Old Steam Tram Depot and a garage was erected which was named "Midland Automobile & Engineering Company" - this being noted for the quality of the wormanship done there. In 1911 a further piece of ground was purchased to expand the business.
He personally managed these works up to the time of his death in 1935. His Daughter May Tee became proprietor of the garage which remained active until 1954 when it was taken over by R. P. Faulkner (Coachbuilder) who eventually bacame bankrupt.

Oswald Hamilton lived at Lancaster Cottage, London Road.

Oswald was responsible for supervising and maintaining the local water supply, which came from an Artesian well located in Wharf Lane. It had a windmill which pumped the water up to a tower at the highest part of Old Stratford located in the Towcester Road. Before water was piped into individual houses, you had to fetch and carry the water from cast iron pipes, unless you were lucky to have a well at home.

Midland Auto & Engineering Company
The garage was not connected to main electricity but had its own low voltage power supply petrol engine, which had a generator. As well as driving the belt driven machines, the power supply was used for making and energising magnets which were used in the construction of Model T Fords.
People brought their accumulators to be charged for use in their radios.
Alway happy to help others, Oswald allowed the R.A.C. patrol man at the crossroads, Vince Mallows, to use the telephone at the garage.

Oswald had a small laboratory at Lancaster House where he made soap and ointments. Another of his inventions was non-slip treads for stairs on the underground.

The machine shop 1905
L-R: Herbert Hamilton, Oswald Hamilton Junior, Oswald Hamilton, Harold Tapp

The aluminium crank case for a marine engine came from Dover
and was repaired in 24 hours

The Northampton Mercury June 25th 1909


On Sunday there was a motor smash at the cross roads at Old Stratford, two cars, one coming from the direction of Northampton and the other going up the hill towards Towcester, colliding.
Both cars were considerably damaged. Fortunately the occupants did not sustain serious injury. Several including some ladies were much bruised and upset, however, and they were taken into the residence of Mrs. Rolls and attended to. By Dr. Bull.
Later in the evening Mr. O. Hamilton, of the Automobile Engineering Works, Old Stratford, took the occupants of one car up to London. At the time of writing our correspondent had been unable to obtain the names of the car occupants.

The images below are of the car that was mentioned in the newspaper article.


Many a good car has been scrapped owing to its having met with a serious accident and being thoroughly broken up. That scrapping is not necessary will be evident from the illustration given herewith, which depict a 16 h.p. Sunbeam that belongs to Brigadier-General E.J. Phipps-Hornby, V.C. This car, as will be seen, was practically reduced to its molecular constituents, but owing to the efforts of The Automobile and Engineering Co., Old Stratford, Stony Stratford, Bucks., it was re-constructed with the final result shown in the second illustration.

Oswald was very interested in the Boy Scout Movement, he was appointed the local District Commisioner, and became very active with the local group. In 1925 he was awarded the Scouting "Medal of Merit" and in 1926 he became responsible for obtaining the use of the "Quarries" as a Camping Ground. These days the "Quarries has become a popular and much used Activity Centre.

Medal of Merit
Oswald Hamilton

The District Commissioner with a very jovial face covered with a thick beard. Not for him the shorts of other Scouts, he always wore breeches.







The tribes of Hiawatha (otherwise) the officers , Scouters and Cubbers of the Stony Stratford, Wolverton and District Local Association of the great Boy Scout movement) gathered at the Victoria Hotel, Wolverton, on Saturday evening last for a dinner and social evening, and more particularly to honour the District Commissioner, Mr. Oswald Hamilton, of Old Stratford, who has for many years taken a leading part in the work of the organisation and has done more, perhaps, than any other gentleman in Bucks or in the neighbouring district of South Northants, to place the Boys’ Brotherhood on a sound footing and to make it an agency for real good in the large area over which he has been the esteemed and popular controlling head for so long.

The chief object of the dinner was to present to the popular Hiawatha the Medal of Merit of the Boy Scouts’ Association, graciously conferred upon him by the Chief Scout, Sir Robert Baden-Powell, in recognition of the Commissioner Hamilton’s long and valued services.

At that time it was suggested that Mr. Hamilton, who was now the, district commissioner, should take over the Wolverton and Stony Stratford troops and that they should be part of the Potterspury District Association. That arrangement had continued successfully ever since. Just lately there had been some sort of an idea that that would be altered. Somehow or other a rumour got abroad that Mr. Carlile had seen appointed county commissioner for Bucks and would take over the troops in a certain art of the county of Northants and have jurisdiction over them as county commissioner. He had been to London and interviewed the secretary, and he could assure them that the whole position was practically as it was. No change had been made but there might have been some little misunderstanding through a new organising, secretary who had been flying around the district, and, like a new broom had been making a lot of dust.

Before asking Big Wolf to propose the next toast, the Chairman said he' Would like to' associate himself with the appreciation they all felt for the great work Mr. Hamilton had done. “ I am not a Scout myself," said Mr. Weston," but he has called me over  to his place on many occasions to tell me what was going on for the progress of the movement. I have been able to see his work and the effect of his influence upon the boys of the district, and I think a great deal of the success of the Scouts' Association has been due to Hiawatha for all he has so willingly done for the welfare of all Scouters and Cubbers. I really don't know how he finds time for the Scout movement, but it is one of those things which he has at heart, and from what I know of him, everything he takes in hand he performs to the best of his ability." (Applause.)

Rev. W. H. Shackel (Big Wolf) then submitted the toast of " Hiawatha." He had been reading  “Hiawatha " the previous night to refresh his mind on some of the outstanding points in Hiawatha's existence and life. He read how he lived and toiled and suffered for the tribes of men and people that they might profit; how he prayed and fasted in the forest, not for greater skill in hunting, or for greater craft in fishing; not for triumphs in battle nor for greater skill amongst the warriors, but for the profit of the people and the advancement of the nation. And he thought those words brought, out very much the life of their own Hiawatha. He had worked all these years for the profit of the tribes, for the advancement of the people. It had been nothing for himself but always everything for others. Love and sacrifice and consideration for others stood out prominently in the life of Hiawatha and those characteristics were outstanding in the life of their Hiawatha of to-day. (Applause.) Hiawatha had a title which fitted him well, because he was out for the whole tribe, out for the advancement of the people. It was in the speaker's earlier days of scouting, when he was assistant commissioner, that he approached Mr. Hamilton to, become district commissioner. He was told of his zeal and keenness for the movement and he thought it would, perhaps, be a good thing if he could get hold of him; and he was very glad when he knew that he would take up the work. As a result of what Hiawatha had done the Scout movement in that district had reached a very high level. The spread of the movement over that part of the county had been due entirely to the efforts of Hiawatha. The Rev. Shackel then read the certificate, signed by the Chief Scout, which accompanied the Medal of Merit, and said he felt himself the honour had come too late; it ought to have come years ago. But it was with the greatest pleasure he handed the certificate to their beloved Commissioner. When the reverend gentleman pinned the Medal of Merit on Hiawatha's breast the tribes rose and the room rang with the familiar howls of the Scouts. Hiawatha was rousingly welcomed on rising to respond to the toast of his health. He said he was very deeply touched by the kind expressions of Big Wolf. There were three occasions in his Scouting experience which came to his mind and brought back happy memories. The first was when they had big gathering at Old Wolverton when they were honoured by a visit from the Chief Scout, and when Sir Robert Baden-Powell expressed himself as highly satisfied with all he saw. The second occasion was when there was an unrehearsed entertainment in the hunting grounds, and when the tribes prepared a mixture which was afterwards described as Hiawatha’s pig tail pudding. He was unable to attend to it at the proper time, but Olney cubs kept it boiling until he was able to taste of the preparation. The third and last occasion would always remain with him as a happy memory, because he felt that although the high honour of the Medal of Merit had been awarded for services rendered but was an award to the Association with which he had been so delighted to be associated for so many years. Without the assistance of those sitting round the table that evening his efforts would have been futile. The Wolves he thanked very much for the help they had at all times so readily given, and he was not unmindful of the assistance given by the troops in the district. He thanked the Scouters who had created a very healthy atmosphere and a real scout spirit in the movement locally. Although he was the recipient of the emblem he felt it was one which he should treasure and value as a recognition of the work done by the Association. Hiawatha having mentioned the Scouters and Cubbers who had so loyally supported him in his work went on to pay tribute to the devoted voluntary services of the ladies who had interested themselves in the movement. He also thanked Mr. Line who generously and consistently had allowed the Scouts the use of the columns of The Bucks Standard as their official organ. Before resuming his seat Hiawatha presented Mr. F. Lane with a gold Scouts’ Thanks Badge and expressed appreciation of the services he had rendered the Scout movement.

Medal of Merit
The swastika was used by the boy scouts in England, although it was taken off Robert Baden-Powell's 1922 Medal of Merit after complaints in the 1930s.The 1924 edition of Sir Robert Baden Powell's Scouting For Boys is dedicated by permission to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and His Royal Highness Prince Albert Duke of York. Two of the Proficiency Badges illustrated therein, the Thanks Badge and the Medal of Merit, are made up of the Prince of Wales's fleur-de-lys superimposed upon the Swastika.

Bucks Standard May 5th 1934

A Friend of the Boy Scouts.


"Hiawatha," of the Happy Hunting Gounds.

With unexpected suddenness the death took place at his residence at Old Stratford on. Monday last of Mr. Oswald Hamilton at the age of 66 years. His passing was a great shock to his many business friends and associates over a wide district, but to none did it bring the sense of a great loss more than to those interested in the Boy Scout movement, with which he had been so closely identified for a quarter of a century, and for the advancement and success of which he had never Spared himself and to which he had ungrudgingly given the best years of his very active and useful life. As " Hiawatha," the name by which he was familiarly known to all Scouts in Buckinghamshire and to many more beyond the borders of that county, Mr. Hamilton, by his own indomitable energy, by the fire of his enthusiasm, by his sincerity of purpose, and by his Christian example, had from the very smallest beginnings built up the Boy Scout movement until it had become an organisation, the value and importance of which has come to be recognised in almost every town and village of North Bucks and in many centres in South Northamptonshire. " Hiawatha " was the founder of the District Boy Scouts' Association, and up to the time of the reorganisation scheme a year or so back he held the position of District Commissioner, a post which carried with it many responsibilities, but in which the beloved chief proved himself a capable leader and a born organiser. He brought new life to the movement when some 20 years ago he organised a big rally of Scouts and Cubs at Old Wolverton. The inspection of the troops on that occasion was performed by General Sir Baden Powell, the Scout' founder, who paid a high and well deserved compliment to Hiawatha and to his valuable work in a cause which lay so close to his heart. Then, later, he secured as a training and camping centre that wide expanse of land near to Cosgrove, which has ever since been known as the " Happy Hunting Grounds " of the Scouts of the district. It is sincerely to be hoped that this stretch of pasture will long be preserved for Scouting activities and as a memorial to one of the best friends local Scouting has known. " Hiawatha " was a man with the highest Christian ideals, and in Scouting, as in all departments of his everyday life, his simple character, his boyishness of outlook (if one may so describe it), his unfailing interest and concern for the welfare of the lads and for his fellow men also and the example of a life spent unselfishly for the benefit of his neighbours, gained for him the high regard and esteem of all who could claim his friendship or acquaintance. In Scout matters he had been a frequent and valued contributor to these columns, and his articles were always based more or less on the grounds of religion, on which he believed the success of the movement solely depended. He lived up to the Scouts' motto daily; he was never wanting when there was a "good  turn " to be done; and his whole life was marked by a strong desire to promote the brotherhood of his fellow men.
He had been for many years a regular worshipper at Stony Stratford Congregational Church, which for a long time he served devotedly as secretary and as superintendent of the Sunday School. He relinquished those offices just prior to 1914, when the Scout movement had so much developed that it was necessary for him to give it much more time and attention.
Mr. Hamilton was a Mancunian by birth, and was educated at the Technical School in Manchester, passing on to Owen's University in the same city. Later he went to London University as an assistant in chemistry to Sir Henry Roscoe, and whilst there he was assistant editor of the Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry. In 1891 he became manager of the White Lead Company at Northfleet in Kent, and six years later in 1897 he moved to Old Stratford, where his first piece of Important work was to patent armour lead for the late Mr. J. J. Atkinson who at that time residing at Cosgrove Hall [Priory]. He also did successful  experimental chemistry for the late Sir Thomas Femor Hesketh, of Easton Neaton, Towcester. Mr. Hamilton had not long established himself at Old Stratford before he became interested in motor engineering, and after doing experimental work in this direction he founded, in 1903, the Midland Automobile Engineering Company, with works at the junction of Watling Street and Buckingham road. He was the owner of and personally managed these works up to the time of his death.
He interested himself in local affairs and had been chairman of the Pensions Committee for the Passenham district, succeeding the late Mr. J. J. Atkinson in that position.
Deep sympathy is expressed for the son and daughter in the bereavement they have suffered.
Funeral at Potterspury

Funeral at Potterspury

The funeral of Hiawatha Thursday afternoon at the little Congregational Church at Potterspury, some two miles from his home and from Old Stratford, where the greater portion oh his life was spent of his life was spent, was marked with a simplicity and reverence which he himself would have desired. Many business friends and associates, representatives of the Scouts and others gathered to pay their tributes of sympathy and respect on this glorious spring afternoon.
The Rev. J H. Bolton (pastor) conducted the service. Appropriate voluntaries were played by the organist, and deceased's favourite hymn, " God holds the key of all unknown, and I am glad,” was sung.
In a short address the Pastor said their friend was best known as a man of great activity. His mind always seemed to be occupied with a desire to achieve. He was a man of more than action; he was a man of feeling, a man of thought, and a man of will; also he was a man of very humble and personal spirit. Those who knew him intimately would feel that the hymn they had just sung expressed that upon which he as resting, upon which he spent his life and upon which he was content to go on with his many activities. In this rushing life he felt that behind engagements and organisations and his every-day life there was God, and his God. He had gone through the shadows into the light of the presence of his God, for which they were all thankful.
The Interment was in the chapel burial Ground, in the grave in which deceased’s wife  was buried many years ago.
The chief mourners were—Mr. and Mr. S. Tee. Old Stratford (son-in-law and daughter); Mr. and Mrs. H. Hamilton, Aylesbury (son and daughter-in-law); Miss May Hamilton and Mr. H. Hamilton, Aylesbury (grand-children); Mr. Cook. an old and dear friend, and Mrs. Tee, sen., friend: also Messrs. H. Tapp, T. Grimsley and C. Foddy (employees of deceased).
The Boy Scouts movement was represented by: Col. P. Gould, D.S.O. (secretary of the Bucks County Association), Mr. W. Holloway, Wolverton (secretary of the local Association). Mr. R. Fisher, formerly of Wolverton (secretary of the South-West Herts Association,  Scoutmaster Hayes (North (Crawley), Assistant Scoutmaster  H. Bawden and Cubmaster W. A. Clarke (Stony Stratford), Patrol Leader and King's Scout F. Frisby (Wolverton), Cubmaster  A. J. Smith and Assistant Cubmaster  McLeod late Potterspury Troop). Second Patrol Leader E. BavIngton, and Scout H. Windsor.
Others attending the funeral were Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Dickens, Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Scott, Mrs. Davis, Mr. Fanshaw, Mr. R. French (a close personal friend of the deceased), Mr. Thos. Thornton, Mr. Alan Giles, Mr. S. Webster, Mr. Lawrence (Stony Stratford), Mr. Cecil R. Line (Newport. Pagnell), Mrs. P. Perrin and Mrs. A. Gould, (Wolverton), Mr. N. Williams, Mr. Robert Clarke (Wolverton). Miss Newbold (Stony Stratford). Mr. Kerr, Mr. J. Fairchild, &c.
The floral tributes were very beautiful and were sent by the following:-
To Dad, from May and Sid and his little Cecil – At rest with Christ.
In loving memory of Dad, from Herbert, Lil (Pops) and family—“Gone to meet the Great Lone Scout."
With deepest sympathy, Midland Auto. Employees.
Col and Mrs Byam Grounds.
With deepest sympathy. Mr. and Mrs. C. Kentish and Mr. R. M. Cockrill
With deepest sympathy, Millie and family and Mrs. C. Tee.
With sincere sympathy, E. H. Littledale.
 Mr. and Mrs. P. Y. Atkinson and Misses M. and G. Atkinson, Cosgrove Priory.
With kind remembrances  the Cook family, Northfleet.
 With esteem and remembrance sincere sympathy. Arthur  Gamble.
 In loving remembrance  of  our dear friend, Mr. and Mrs. H. Cowley.
With deepest regret, Mr. and Mrs. S. Wester.
In loving memory, the memory of the little bus driver (Trevor Brown).
With deepest sympathy, Mr. and Mrs. and Chibi Holloway.
 "Baloo," to beloved Hiawatha, with grateful thanks for his guidance, wisdom. loving kindness throughout all my Scouting.
With heartfelt sympathy, Mr. and Mr. Jas. Roberts.
With sincere sympathy, Mrs. Adams and Mr. J. Adams.
With deepest sympathy, Dorothy Jones.
With deepest sympathy, Mr. and Mrs. J. Webster.
In loving memory of a good friend and neighbour, from all at Kingston House.
With deepest sympathy, Mr. and Mrs. Humphrey and family, Ivy Cottage.
With deepest sympathy Mr. and Mrs. Adams and family, Firs Farm.
With sincere sympathy, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Dickens R.I.P.
With deepest sympathy, Officers, Scout and Cubs of 1st Stony Stratford Group Boy Scouts.
With deepest sympathy, Win and Jack Tee.
With deepest sympathy and undying memories of a wonderful friendship, Thinking Chief (Cyril Esson, Oxford).
In loving memory, Mr. and Mrs. Side and family.
A tribute of sympathy, 1st Wolverton Group Boy Scouts.
With deepest sympathy, Mrs. Pinney – Rest after weariness.
Col. Gould.
Mrs. Brown, Wicken.

When Oswald Hamilton passed away in 1934 aged 66, his daughter May Tee became proprietor of the business which remianed active until 1954 when it was taken over by Mr. R. P. Faulkner (Coachbuilder) who became bankrupt. The premises was then occupied by "Light Industry" .

The site of what had once been Mildland Automobile Engineering Co.