Richard Cooper - City Benefactor

Dear Editor,

Like most of your readers I was pleased to see the report of the opening of the water feature near the site of the former Crucifix Conduit, but how sad to see no mention of the principal benefactors, the Richard Cooper family who in 1922 gave the whole of the Friary estate including the land on which the water feature now stands to the City of Lichfield. Richard Cooper (1847 - 1913) qualified as a veterinary surgeon 1868 and set up in practice at 52 Bore Street, Lichfield. He was veterinary officer to the Staffordshire Yeomanry and served as a councillor and alderman of Lichfield City Council, as well as a J.P, Deputy Lieutenant and High Sheriff of Staffordshire.

But at the same time Richard Cooper, in 1885, inherited from his uncle the family business of Cooper Research Laboratories, manufacturing sheep dip and other products. Expansion abroad made him owner of 1,000,000 acres in Africa, Australia and America. During this period one of his ambitions was to purchase and present to the citizens of Lichfield the Friary estate, then still in private hands. But this never came on the market before he died in 1913. His son, Sir Richard Ashmole Cooper was able to do so in 1922, and in addition paid for the cost of moving the clock tower to its present position to allow the building of a new road. Surely some recognition of these benefactions is called for?

Yours sincerely,

Howard Clayton
September 2001