Sharp-Healy Family

The Story of the first two Generations

Eleanor Rose Sharp, 1872-1914

Eleanor Rose Sharp was born on 29 April 1872 in Lee, Kent. She married an Australian Selwyn Francis Edge in 1892 in Upper Harwood, London, when she was 20 years old. Selwyn had been taken to England when he was three years old. He was born in Concord township, near Sydney, on 29 March 1868.

In the 1881 Census, Eleanor R Sharp is recorded as living in the household of Francis Walter and his wife Theodosia. She is listed along with her 13 year old sister Alice. Also there was a one year old boy named Francis Walter. The girls were listed as being born in Lee, Kent (although her death certificate and coroners report record lists her birthplace as Dublin, Ireland.)

Selwyn Edge driving a Napier.

Eleanor and Selwyn were involved in motoring, as Selwyn as a motoring buff, and was well known in the motoring world in the early 20th century. See the Unique Cars and Parts website for photo and story. He was an early pioneer of the motor car, cycle, launch and flying machines, and broke many records. There is mention of a Mrs S F Edge in "The Times" in 1904 at The Meet of the Automobile Ladies Club. She was driving a 12 horsepower Napier - see photos and story of the Napier. Selwyn wrote an autobiography in 1934 called "My Motoring Reminiscences" (see British Library listing record) and other details were published in a book by H R Grubb of Croydon in 1931, which is also available through the British Library.

Eleanor Rose appeared to share Selwyn's enthusiasm for cycling in the 1890s, joining him on rides in the south London area (they lived at Whitehall Court, London - VERY exclusive, right by the Houses of Parliament), and Eleanor drove a Gladiator car in the early 1900s (pictured). (Selwyn was agent for Gladiator cars, amongst other makes.) It looks like Selwyn and Eleanor were living separate lives, posing as necessary for society photos - the 1901 census records Eleanor as living at Whitehall but having had a financial settlement.

Following Eleanor's death, Selwyn married Myra Caroline Martin (1887-1969) in 1917 and they had 2 girls, Myra Jean Edge (1920-2012); and Sonia Frances Edge (1922-?). Myra Jean died in 2012, as noted in an obituary in The Times. She had married Maurice Hassid, and lived in Geneva. Myra Caroline Martin is mentioned on the UK National Archives website as being involved in property transactions. He was also closely associated with "the fastest girl on earth" Dorothy Levitt, who was reported as the first woman in the world to compete in a motor race. See Dorothy's story on her Wikipedia page.

Eleanor Edge, 1902.

An article entitled "Mr S F Edge" published in "The Sydney Morning Herald" on Tuesday 6 May 1930 stated: Mr S F Edge, the great English motorist, who did much to establish the six-cylinder engine by his record breaking and racing performances nearly a quarter of a century ago, claims to have covered 600,000 miles since he first drove in 1895. He has had only one insurance claim, and has a clean licence, although he has driven both far and reasonably fast. He still finds motor car driving his most interesting and pleasing sport, a long-distance drive being his greatest rest, relaxation and holiday. Many improvements in the design and equipment of cars were effected as the results of practical tests made by Mr Edge, who was the only British driver to win the Gordon Bennett Cup road race. He was also a prominent marine motorist, his boats, the Napiers, being winners of some great International races. View article online.

According to Eleanor's death certificate, Selwyn and Eleanor did not have any children. Also there was a quote in "The Times" when S. F Edge was threatened by a former employee in 1907 - the man threatened to kill him - the employee had written "And after I show that white faced adulterous cad up, I will kill him". One can only imagine what led to a comment like that. That may explain why there were no children.

Deaths

Eleanor died at 414 Roslyn Hall, The Crescent, Manly, Sydney, Australia on 24 November 1914, of natural causes from pneumonia, aged 42 (Ref NSW BDM 18730/1914), her parents being listed as John Sharp, a lace importer, and Theodosia Emma Hann.

Information about Eleanor was found after a Google search on the RootsChat discussion board and pieced together from the threads. However her death notice has not been found in any Sydney newspapers. She was buried in the South Head Cemetery, Church of England section, on 25 November 1914 (it is believed there is no headstone according to archivists who have documented all the headstones in this cemetery). An enquiry into her death was held on 2 December 1914, and there is mention on one website of her enquiry file, which has not yet been obtained (New South Wales, Australia, Registers of Coroners' Inquests, 1796-1942). Investigations continue as it is interesting that Eleanor is not mentioned in any of Selwyn's articles or notices. She is recorded in the 1901 Census as "Eleanor Rose Edge, wife, 28, living on own means, b. Lee Kent", but as mentioned above, was only publicly mentioned in 1904. Why she ended up in Australia 4 years before her death is puzzling. View Eleanor's Death Certificate 1914/018730 - original (pdf) and transcript (word).

Selwyn died on 12 February 1940 at Princess Alice Hospital in Eastbourne, Sussex, England, and in his obituary it mentions that "he was married and had two daughters". His address at the time was Dentdale Corrie-road, Beacon-hill, Hindhead, Surrey. It lists his effects as being worth £398.17s.7d. Another record shows that Selwyn Francis Edge, at age 33, was the managing director of an automobile company, born NSW. He is buried at Tilford near Farnham, along with his second wife (ashes) and cousin Arthur Cecil Edge, who died at "Uplands" in Tilford, which was where Selwyn was also living.

Headstone - Selwyn Francis Edge.

Selwyn's death and obituary was published in several editions of Australian newspapers.

Canberra Times, Wednesday 14 February 1940: MOTOR PIONEER, Death of S. F. Edge. LONDON. The death was announced of Selwyn Francis Edge, who was born in Sydney in 1868. He held many motor car records and was interested in farming pursuits and was the controller of the Agricultural Machinery Department of the Ministry of Munitions during the Great War.

Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 14 February 1940, page 16: DEATH OF MR S. F. EDGE. The death has occurred of Mr. Selwyn Francis Edge, aged 72, a former prominent figure in the motor business in the United Kingdom. He was born In Sydney. Mr. Edge was the founder and principal shareholder of S. F. Edge, Ltd. He sold out his interest in 1912 and occupied himself mainly with farming and land-owning interests until 1921, when he returned to the motor business. He became governing director of A. C. (Acedes) Cars, Ltd. In 1917, he was controller of the Agricultural Machinery Department of the Ministry of Munitions. With Mr. Dan Albone, of Biggles wade, he introduced the farm tractor in Britain. Mr. Edge was the winner of many classic cycle races, the Gordon Bennett race, the International Harmsworth motor boat trophy, and the championship of the sea at Monaco. He was the holder for many years of the 24 hours' motor car record of 1,581 miles' continuous driving, in Britain.

OBITUARY - MR SELWYN F. EDGE. Motoring Pioneer In Britain. LONDON, February 13. The death of Mr. Selwyn Francis Edge, motorist and one of the pioneers of the motor manufacturing industry in Britain, is announced.

Mr Edge, who was born in Sydney 72 years ago, was the outstanding long distance racing cyclist of his time InEngland. He founded in 1899 the Motor Power Co., and was later associated with several firms, including that of Napier. He founded S. F. Edge Ltd, but sold out to D. Napier and Son Ltd. In 1912 he was then occupied withfarming interests until 1921 when he returned to the motoring business. He was controller of the Agricultural Machlnery Department of the Ministry for Munitions during the Great War, and at his death was governing director of A. C. (Acedes) Cars Ltd. When farming he established the biggest, pedigree pig breading business in Britain, and introduced the farm tractor to the country. For 17 years he held the English record of 1,581 miles for 24 hours of continuous driving, and was the only British winner of the Gorden Bennett race for balloons and the Harmsworth Motor-boat Trophy.

References

September 2015: Thanks to Craig Horner, UK, for information about Selwyn's 2nd wife, and image of Eleanor with vehicle.

See Graces Guide to British Industrial History for complete history of Selwyn Edge.

Wikipedia: You can view the entire life story of Selwyn Edge on his Wikipedia page.