Our former local correspondent for Warwickshire, Leslie Menzler, died in 2014 aged 93 with no surviving family. He has left us a generous legacy.
John Hall, our Coventry local correspondent writes of Leslie:
Little is known about his early life but old family photos show Les living in Surrey with siblings and servants. His father, F A A Menzler CBE was an actuary who became Chief Development and Research Officer of the London Transport Executive.
As an adult, Les worked for many years for British Thomson Houston and GEC in Witton, Birmingham. Google reveals that he has two patents to his name in the field of electrical engineering. After his retirement GEC recalled him as a research consultant—a man of intellect.
Les was a main player in OSS and Ramblers’ Association (RA) footpath campaigns in the mid-1950s when he was (among other things) the Warwickshire footpath secretary in the old RA Midland Area. From 1974 Les concentrated mostly on his work for the society.
A shadowy figure, he rarely attended meetings but worked tirelessly in the background, using his considerable research skills to influence the early stages of the definitive maps in several Midland counties with a prolific input to the first review of those maps.
Les researched the archives of several Midland county record offices and his listings and interpretations of enclosure, tithe and quarter session records are valuable today. Indeed, council rights-of-way officers still contacted Les for his knowledge and recall of path matters right up to his demise.
Perhaps one anecdote will do justice to his patience and skill. Shropshire County Council (in compliance with the inspection of parish documents under section 17 of the Local Government Act 1894) published Shropshire Parish Documents. Tucked inside Les’s copy is a letter from the county archivist in 1978 profusely thanking him for the corrections he had made to several references, and for alerting them to another important document of which they had no prior knowledge. Such was his diligence.
Those who walk our Midland paths do so because of the unstinting efforts of this modest man who worked so steadfastly for the public benefit. Our fine network of paths and his great store of research are his fitting legacy.