Scandals, Royalty and the extraordinary life of one of Widcombe’s most famous residents of the 1960s
By Harry Mottram. Writing in 2005 the photographer Robert Whitaker described Jeremy Fry as, “an entrepreneur, an inventor, an engaging host and the saviour of the Theatre Royal, Bath; he was also a close friend of Princess Margaret and the Earl of Snowdon.””
Certainly Jeremy Fry was all of those and much more as well as being the owner of Widcombe Manor where he entertained the Royals and a wide spectrum of friends and business associates in the 1960s.
Born in 1924 in Bristol Jeremy was a descendant of JS Fry, the chocolate manufacturer, which left him a useful inheritance which he later invested in Rotork his own electrical and mechanical engineering business that serviced the oil industry. The business continues today in Brassmill Lane in the city.
One of his employees a was James Dyson who he worked with on a number of projects including a marine vehicle and theatre auditorium inside the Roundhouse.
Gossip columnists were perhaps rather more interested in Jeremy’s private life and his friendship with Antony Armstrong-Jones (later Lord Snowdon) who married Princess Margaret.
And there hangs a tail as such was his friendship with the future Lord Snowdon that he was set to be his best man at the Royal wedding in 1960.
Today it would not have proved an issue but in the 1960s having shall we say an flamboyant bachelor’s life signified something that the Establishment couldn’t accept. He had been convicted of ‘importuning’ – a serious offence at the time.
Ditched as best man Jeremy and the Royal couple remained good friends and they regularly visited Widcombe Manor where Jeremy even installed a juke box for their amusement.
Jeremy was the youngest of three children in a wealthy family and attended the top public school Gordonstoun, before studying at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, after which he joined the RAF during the war.
Later he was accused by the sculptor Lynn Chadwick alleging adultery with Chadwick’s second wife, Frances, causing his wife Camilla to walk out on their marriage. Frances Chadwick took her own life and Jeremy had to pick up the pieces of an unholy legal mess ending with his divorce to Camilla in 1967.
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