Neville Alexander Thomas Nix Feary, 1884-1957

Neville Alexander Thomas Nix Feary was born in 1884 in Earith near St Ives, in what was then Huntingdonshire. His Father Neville was a farmer and was born in 1845 in near by Sutton. Neville senior married Lucy Nix in 1862 also in Sutton. She was born in 1842 in Upwell, Norfolk. Their first child Lucy Ann Nix Feary was born in 1870 in Earith. Then three more girls Mary Neville in 1871, Fanny E in 1873 and Rosie M 1878. Finally Neville Alexander sometime in 1884, he was later christened on the 26th December 1884 in Bluntisham, his father's occupation was given as 'Gentleman'. Sadly Lucy his mother died that year, possibly giving birth to him.

In the 1891 census he was aged 6 and a school boy. His sisters Lucy and Mary were still living at home along with Neville senior.

The Gables, Dartford Road, Sevenoaks.

Neville Alexander's whereabouts in 1901 was a mystery, until an entry was found of an 'Alick Feary' age 16 born in Earith, staying as a 'Visitor' with William Nix at 'The Gables, Dartford Road, Sevenoaks, Kent.

So the age and the place of birth are correct for this entry to be our man, but the decider must be that he was staying with someone with his mother's maiden name. William Nix age 72, who born in 1829 in Somersham, Huntingdonshire, was in fact Neville Alexader's uncle. Maybe he was known as Alick to avoid confusion with his father Neville.

Given that Alfred Grose went to school in the same street as Alick lived, we must assume this is where they met. It is quite likely that Feary attended the Avenue House school as well, but stayed with his uncle rather than boarding there.

Dartford Road, Sevenoaks. The Gables is behind the hedge on the right.

In 1908 he married he married Lucy Louise Dawe in Ulverston. Lucy was born around 1879 in Ashton, Cheshire, daughter of William Purchase Dawe, born 1841 in Holwell, Dorset and Emma Dawe, born 1840 in Sheffield. Lucy was christened on 10th July 1880 in Tintwistle, Cheshire. She had two sisters and one brother. Emma M born 1874, Arthur P born 1875 and Jessie A born 1878

Regent Street Polytechnic in about 1912. (Copyright of the University of Westminster Archive Services.)

In 1909 Neville Alexander is reported to be living in Mafakin Cottages, High Street, Oakington, and that he was an aeronautical instructor to the Regent Street Polytechnic in London (now part of the University of Westminster).

Why did he and Alfred Grose come to Oakington to build a pioneering monoplane? Well the answer lies with the tenant of Manor Farm in Oakington. Thomas Cooke who lived at the Manor House was reported to be the brother of Neville Aleaxnder's wife. However Lucy was not Thomas' sister. A clue to the relationship comes from the 1901 census. Neville Feary (Senior) was still living at Earith with his daughter Mary, and his niece Mary Cooke. Mary Cooke was born around 1873, in Warboys and was daughter of Thomas Cooke and Susanna Cooke nee Feary. Susanna was born in Sutton in 1837, and must have been the sister of Neville senior. So Thomas Cooke was Neville Alexander's uncle, and being the owner of a farm with a barn of a suitable size to build a monoplane. In addition Manor Farm being in Oakington was surrounded by flat fields, which would have been an ideal place to try and take off in an aircraft.

High Street, Oakington about 1915. Mafakin Cottages are a terrace of three cottages to the right.

Neville Alexander went on to have three children Lucy Eileen (or Ellen) in 1909 in Chesterton, Cambridge, Neville Mendham in 1910 in Brentford and William G in 1921 in Hitchin. There is reference to a 'Neville M Feary' at Stoatley Rough School in Haslemere, Surrey between 1945-1960, but it is uncertain whether this is Neville Mendham or not.

N.A. Feary, his wife Lucy Loiuse and children Lucy Eileen and Neville Mendham, taken in 1912.

Llanberis Villa, No. 17 Paston Lane, Peterborough.

By 1916 Neville Alexander went to work for Frederick Sage & Co. Ltd of Peterborough, as a designer. Sage were shop fitters, but during the First World War built aircraft. On 19th Oct 1916 a patent was granted for "Improvements in or relating to Spring Fastening Devices" and Feary was listed as co-applicant with Sage. At that time he was lving at No. 17, Paston Lane, Walton, Peterborough. By the time he had left Sage in 1919 there had been a total of nine Sage/Feary patents taken out and he had moved to No. 1, Fletton Avenue, Peterborough. It would appear that he left Sage early in 1919 as he filed for a patent in his own name for 'A process for stiffening hair brushes' on 26th March 1919.

No.1 Fletton Avenue, Peterborough.

It appears that between 1925 and 1927 Neville had moved to Clare Lodge, Isleworth, London. In 1927 he had filed a patent for 'Improvements to tennis racquets' and at that time he was living at 24 High Holborn London WC1. From 1936 to 1956 lived at 207 Nelson Road, Twickenham.

Nothing else is known as to what happened to Neville Alexander after this, other than he died in 1957 in Westminster, aged 72. Why was he in Westminster when he died? Is there any connection with the University? What happened to his children? There are many un-answered questions, so if anyone has any further information on Neville Alexander's life or family I would be very pleased to hear from you.

Click here to view the Feary Family Tree Oakington Plane