Herbert James Karslake

Herbert James Karslake was born in Mortehoe, Devon, in 1882, the son of railway signalman and porter Michael Karslake. Herbert spent his childhood living in the railway cottages at Mortehoe. By the age of 18 Herbert was training as a plumber’s apprentice. He married Linda Fry Pile in 1908.

Herbert Karslakes Wedding
Herbert Karslakes Wedding, copyright the Karslake family. From left to right: Fred Pile (brother of the bride), Herbert Karslake, Linda Pile, Annie Pile (sister of the bride), and William Pile (father of the bride).

Herbert and Linda had a son, Harry Howard Karslake, in 1909, and a daughter, Bessie Winifred Karslake, in 1910. By 1910 they were living at 4 St Peter’s Terrace, Highfield Road, Ilfracombe. Herbert was the Sanitary (or ‘Nuisances’) Inspector to the Urban District Council.

Herbert Karslake and his family, probably taken between 4th and 18th September 1915. Copyright the Wills family, with thanks to Herbert’s grandson Graham Wills.

In 1922 Herbert invented and sold the “Magic Kettle” which he exhibited at a Church sale of works in Ilfracombe, and subsequently sold. Herbert also built a fantastic model railway, which he exhibited at the following Wesleyan Church sale. The railway covered 60 square feet and was quite a sensation.

Herbert Karslake’s railway. Copyright the Wills family, with thanks to Herbert’s grandson Graham Wills.

Herbert died on 30th Jan 1928, aged only 46 years. Herbert’s full story will be told in my forthcoming book.