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On this Day 1963: Coventry say farewell to Pearl Hyde

On this Day

On this Day 1963: Coventry say farewell to Pearl Hyde

OTD, April 23rd, 1963…

Midland Montage reports on the funeral of Pearl Hyde, the former Mayor of Coventry who had at the time of her death been working as a personality and public relations manager for ATV. Pearl was killed in a car crash whilst in Scotland. Pearl Marguerite Bigby was born in 1904 in North London to Harman and Ellen Bigby. Her father was landlord of the Vine Inn in Waltham Cross and he too passed away in the same unfortunate circumstances as Pearl in a motor accident when she was 13.

After the death of her parents, she moved to the Midlands, first to Birmingham to stay with relatives, and later Coventry – the city that would become a huge part of her life. She married Walter Eric Hyde in 1923 and they had one son, Eric.

Hyde joined the Labour party in 1931, and was elected to Coventry Council for the Walsgrave ward in 1937. She became an alderman in 1952 and the city’s first female lord mayor in 1957, with her daughter-in-law Elizabeth Hyde as her lady mayoress. In 1962 Pearl and fellow ATV personality Noele Gordon were named two of the ‘Women of the Year’ at a ceremony in London. For her dedication to politics, notably for ‘a lifelong concern with promoting the welfare of Coventry’s citizens’, she was awarded an MBE.

Thanks to her vast charity and political work Pearl is still highly regarded by Coventry, a school is named in her memory and nine years ago the Coventry Telegraph named Hyde as one of “50 heroes of Coventry and Warwickshire”.

Pearl Marguerite Hyde MBE died on the 15th of April 1963 while on holiday in Scotland when a car she was driving collided with a lorry. Her funeral took place at the New Coventry Cathedral.

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