Group Captain Samuel Rexford-Welch (fondly known as Rex), sadly passed away in February 2013, aged 97! Rex was a great English eccentric and a very close friend of the owners of Hungerford Arcade for over 40 years!
Rex was a Cambridge University graduate whose RAF career began as a medical officer in the far east. He later became a specialist in radiological protection, witnessing nuclear tests on Christmas Island and in the US. Rex went on to work in the US on the space programme, meeting Presidents and astronauts!
Loving the weird and the wonderful, Rex amassed a huge collection during his long and distinguished career, which included a man trap, a pickled snake in a jar, a rattlesnake's rattle, taxidermy, including and elephant trunk, an alligator and even a monkey skeleton! He also had a set of eight glass eyes by Dr. Coulomb of Paris together with an oak cased opticians set.
Rex had a fascination for animals and bees. He kept a pet rat who roamed freely around the house! A shock for unsuspecting visitors!
Rex was no pushover, as two burglars found out when they broke into his remote cottage. Rex caught them and held them at the point of a Samurai sword until the police arrived and took them away!
Rex slept in an amazing bed, with 17th century oak panels and rode a red 73cc Pesaro Motobi scooter!
After his retirement at the age of 70, Rex developed a passion for horology and became an accomplished clock maker and restorer. Rex had many beautiful time pieces including, long cased clocks, pocket watches and even a rare 19th century Chinese rosewood mantel clock.
Through his lifetime, Rex amassed an enormous collection of photographs and slides, which were sold at auction and now reside in the USA!
Rex led a very active and extremely interesting life and had many, many friends. He was wonderful company, with an amazing sense of humour. He was held in high esteem and was much loved by everyone who knew him! One thing is for sure. Rex will never be forgotten!