Leatherhead & District Local History Society

Members of the Leatherhead & District Local History Society will be very sorry to hear that David Bruce died in December after a heart valve replacement. David occupied various key posts in our Society, having been Records Secretary, Hon. Secretary, our first Museum Curator, and Chairman of the Museum Trustees.

How David came to be Records Secretary is rather amusing in retrospect, though perhaps not quite so amusing for him at the time. 1968 was the year of the Great Flood in Leatherhead and many nearby properties were flooded. At this time the records were in Fetcham in the garage of Mr. Ruby, Chairman of the Society, who had died earlier that year. Answering a plea from Mrs. Ruby to rescue the records from the floods, John Lewarne collected them and decided to take them round to David Bruce. As David and his wife were out, John Lewarne left them with their daughter - complete with wardrobe in which to house them! So that was how he became Records Secretary. He held this post until 1984, and also that of Hon. Secretary from 1970-71.

However, undoubtedly what David is best remembered for is being our first Museum Curator from 1983-1991. Although many volunteers helped with the restoration of Hampton Cottage, enabling it to open as a Museum in 1980, it was David who, almost single-handedly, acquired the artefacts to display and who set everything up in the Museum. Since then it has gone from strength to strength, and it is sad that he was not able to come to the Jubilee last October. However, I am sure that he would have been very proud to see how what he established as ‘his baby’ has grown into such an excellent Museum which is still very much loved and cherished by all who serve it, in whatever capacity. Linda Heath

from the February 2006 issue of the L&DLHS newsletter