Photograph sparks Rennie family's science heritage pride

Wharfedale Observer: Councillors in their finery outside Micklefield House, Rawdon, to celebrate the creation of the first Aireborough new council in 1937 Councillors in their finery outside Micklefield House, Rawdon, to celebrate the creation of the first Aireborough new council in 1937

The man who gave his name to Rennies indigestion tablets has been spotted in a Wharfedale Observer photograph dating back decades.

An image of John Rennie and fellow councillors was captured for posterity in a photograph of the first Aireborough Council, taken 76 years ago.

And when the picture was reproduced on the Across the Years page on October 24 this year Mr Rennie was recognised by his granddaughter Patricia Bartlett, of Calverley.

Mrs Bartlett said her grandfather, who was seated on the left of the front row, was the chairman of the first Aireborough Council.

“He was born in Oldham, Lancashire, in 1883, qualified as a chemist with retail businesses in Blackburn and Chorley, and in 1910 he joined Sir William Cartwright as chemist and managing director of W.B. Cartwright manufacturing chemists at Larkfield Mills, Rawdon,” she said. He lived at Tarn Grange, Larkfield Road, Rawdon, until his death at the age of 77 in January 1961.

“Rennies indigestion tablets (still in production today) were named after him.

“He had also been chairman of the bench of Otley Magistrates and a past provincial master of the Royal Wharfedale Lodge.

“My Mother was Elsie Cunningham (nee Rennie) eldest daughter of John and Lydia Rennie.”

Patricia and her sister Ann Webster said: “We have no documentation to authenticate the origin of Rennies, however it has always been our understanding that grandpa gave his name to the tablets which we believe were manufactured at WB Cartwrights. The formula was subsequently sold and to-day they are manufactured by Roche.”

They added: “Grandpa married Lydia Eckersley in Lancashire – our mother Elsie Rennie was born in 1908 in Lancashire – so it seems that they moved to Rawdon sometime between 1908 and 1910 as Grandpa was working at WB Cartwrights in 1910. They had four daughters (one died in infancy). There are five grandchildren all surviving.”

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