Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Frederick Mason Brewer (1902–1963)

Mayor of Oxford 1959/60

Frederick Mason Brewer was born at 8 Vivian Terrace, Woodfield Road, Kensal Rise, Middlesex in 1902 and baptised at St Peter's Church, Ealing on 16 November. He was the son of Frederick Charles Brewer (born in Horsham, Sussex in c.1870) and Ellen Maria Owen (born in Windsor, Berkshire in 1869/70). His parents had married in Paddington on 15 June 1895.

At the time of the 1911 census Frederick (8) was living at at St Matthew’s School House, 6a Porchester Gardens, Bayswater with his father Frederick (40), his mother Ellen (41), and his older sisters Winifred (15), Ella (14), and Phyllis (10). Both his parents were working as elementary school teachers, and the household was cared for by a spinster aunt from each side of the family: Amy Brewer (33) acted as housekeeper, and Edith Maude Owen (25) as cook.

Brewer came up to Lincoln College in 1920 on an open scholarship, and obtained a First Class degree in Chemistry. He then undertook research under Professor Frederick Soddy.

From 1925 to 1927 Brewer was Commonwealth Fund Fellow at Cornell University, and in 1927–8 he was Lecturer in Physical Chemistry at the University of Reading. He returned to Oxford in 1928 as a Demonstrator and Lecturer at the Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory, remaining in the city for the rest of his life.

In the third quarter of 1929 in the St Thomas's district of Devon, Frederick Mason Brewer married Stella Margaret Pulling (born in Kensington on 26 October 1898). They had the following children:

  • Elizabeth M. Brewer (born in Oxford in 1930)
  • John Brewer (born in Oxford in 1933).

Brewer had swum for the University as an undergraduate, and from 1939 to 1945 he was President of the Oxford County Amateur Swimming Association, and from 1953 President of the Oxford City Swimming Club. During the war he was Chief Warden in the City, organizing Air Raid Protection work. After the war he was President of the Oxford Council for Drama & Music and Chairman of Governors of the Oxford College of Technology.

Brewer was elected as a university member on the City Council in 1944.

In 1955 Brewer was appointed Reader in Inorganic Chemistry. He had been attached to St Catherine’s Society from the 1930s, and when it became a full college in 1962 he was appointed an official Fellow on its foundation.

In 1959 Frederick Mason Brewer was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1959/60). In 1961 he was made an Alderman.

On Monday 11 February 1963 (just a week after collecting his CBE at Buckingham Palace) he collapsed as he was about to preside at a meeting of the Water Committee at the Town Hall, and died in hospital

† Frederick Mason Brewer was living at 6 Moreton Road when died at the Radcliffe Infirmary on 11 February 1963, aged 60. His funeral took place at Oxford Crematorium. His effects came to 3736 11s., and his executors were his wife Stella and son John, who was now an engineer.

His wife Stella Margaret Brewer died at 6 Moreton Road on 23 September 1979. Her effects came to 336,875.

See also:

  • Oxford Magazine, 1962–3, pp. 260–1 (obituary)
  • Oxford Times, 15 February 1963, p. 13 (obituary)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 5 November, 2018

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