Godalming's Unfamous Residents
Jeremiah Bascom Dinkworth
Godalming's least successful business tycoon.
Born: October 3rd, 1902 in Godalming, Surrey.
Died: February 14th, 1958
Jeremiah Dinkworth was born a Hindu to a Protestant family in their Godalming home while his mother was not looking. However, two weeks later, his father (Sergeant Major David Arthur Dinkworth) was delighted with his new son. He was informed of the birth while in transit, returning home after serving two years in the Boer War (1899 - 1902). Within his first year, Jeremiah and his parents were all persuaded to convert to the Church of England because of the sheer beauty of the nearby Church of St Peter and St Paul (which has always remained stationary and can still be found in Godalming to this very day). Furthermore, the rector of the church (renown locally for his love of firearms) was said to have been very persuasive at around that time.
Jeremiah attended the local schools but was not a particularly memorable child. In fact, few people remembered him attending any of them. Furthermore, his teachers had difficulty remembering him even when shown the old school registers or when he was pointed out in photographs.
Jeremiah's early years were spent in his father's tailoring business, unsuccessfully learning the trade. He married Cynthia Eagerbend after a lightning romance at the age of twenty-one, within just two months of their first meeting. They had their first child (Earnest) five months later.
Jeremiah later tried taking up carpentry but that resulted in many accidents, most of which involving his left thumb.
Having extensively studied the successes of the American business magnates, such as Henry Ford (1863 - 1947) and Erastus Corning (1794 - 1872), and having reached his twenty-seventh year, Jeremiah decided that he too would attempt fame and fortune. After studying economic theory and the operations of the stock market, he invested all his savings and his inheritance from his father's estate. The stock market crash of 1929, just one week later, put paid to his immediate plans but, sadly, did not shake his confidence.
In 1935/36 Jeremiah created an aircraft factory in a local farmer's barn. The plan was to manufacture the tandem winged, French-designed HM14 'Flying Flea' under licence and sell the aircraft to the relatively prosperous inhabitants of Godalming. He reasoned that if he sold enough the council would then be obliged to build the airfield needed to support them. It is unclear as to how he intended to convince the authorities in London to build a suitable receiving aerodrome to make his customers’ purchases worthwhile.
Jeremiah was classified as unfit to become a test pilot due to his enormous, flat left thumb. With little capital, no knowledge of aerodynamics and little skill at carpentry, Jeremiah's attempts at improving and simplifying the aeroplane's design proved to be fatal for his test pilot, the farmer. Furthermore, the second, almost complete, prototype HM14 was raped to destruction by the farmer's prize bull.
From mid-1935, through to 1941 Jeremiah started many other business ventures, none of which had the success he hoped for. All were based in his small flat above his family's tailoring shop in Godalming High Street.
When World War two started and, upon learning that men up to the age of 41 could be conscripted (especially if unmarried), Mrs Cynthia Dinkworth sued Jeremiah for divorce. Jeremiah, fortunately, managed to have his 42nd birthday before they could draft him.
During the second world war, Jeremiah served with the Home Guard but was not a particularly memorable soldier. In fact, few people remembered him attending any of the drills, training, or military exercises. Moreover, his officers had difficulty remembering him, even when shown unit documentation or when pointed out in photographs.
Jeremiah died of natural causes in 1958. Few people remembered the funeral, even when shown the photographs.
Appendix A – Jeremiah's Least Forgettable Companies
1936: The Dinkworth Bicycle Manufacturing Company Ltd
Jeremiah built a bicycle from part of the framework of one of the destroyed Flying Fleas. He sold it to a neighbour. Encouraged by this he started constructing a second.
1936: The Dinkworth Motor Bicycle Manufacturing Company Ltd
After his neighbour returned the original bicycle as being uncomfortable, unsuitable, and unsafe, Jeremiah mounted the engine from the Flying Flea into the frame and resold it to the same person.
1937: The Dinkworth Sports Car Manufacturing Ltd
After inheriting several items of furniture and the bent motorcycle from his neighbour (after a fatal road accident) Jeremiah built a car chassis and re-used the engine. The new prototype four-seater sports car was known as the Dinkworthy Dinkle Mk 1. The interior design of this vehicle was unusual, as the rear seat was a well-upholstered settee. The vehicle had a miniature chandelier which hung from the centre of the roof and a small log fire built into the rear of the front passenger seat, complete with a small wooden mantel shelf and side-mounted chimney. Rear seat passengers did complain about continually having to duck to avoid the swinging chandelier and the front passengers often complained about the heat, but Jeremiah was reluctant to give up any of the vehicle's unique selling points.
1937: Dinkworth Car Sales
This company was tasked with the sale of the sports car prototype as no-one had shown interest in the car to date. The Dinkle Mk 1 was promoted as the only sports car in the world in which the passengers could enjoy freshly made toast during their journey.
1937: Dinkworth Budget Petroleum Supply Ltd
A company formed in the hope that cheaper petrol might encourage local residents to purchase his sports car.
1937: The Dinkworth Coachworks and Motorcycle Side Car Manufacturing Company Ltd
After a road traffic accident (caused by smoke from burnt toast obscuring the driver's vision), Jeremiah reconstructed the original motorbike and used the remaining half of the Dinkle Mk 1 to form the basis of a sidecar. The chandelier was omitted but the fireplace was retained. The combination was marketed as the only motorcycle/sidecar in the world in which the passenger could enjoy freshly made toast.
1938: Dinkworth's Fire Extinguishers Ltd
Jeremiah formed this company from his experiences after the sidecar caught fire during a demonstration.
1938: Dinkworth's Scrap Wood and Metal Merchants
Unable to make progress with his earlier companies, and under some pressure from his wife, Jeremiah sold all his assets, although it was rumoured that Mrs. Dinkworth's ample lingerie fetched the most money.
1939: Dinkworth's Used Tea Bag Brokering Ltd
Until 1940 it was unclear why Jeremiah invested so heavily in acquiring used tea bags. Nevertheless, he managed to obtain a considerable quantity for a very reasonable price during this period. He managed to accrue nearly three tons of tea bags which he kept in his flat. It was then that, for reasons unclear, his wife left him.
1940: Dinkworth's Instant Suntan Bathing Emporium
Jeremiah opened the bathroom of his flat as a Suntan Bathing Emporium. The idea was that after just a few minutes of bathing in his lukewarm secret formula 'Magical Sun Tanning Fluids', the bather would acquire an instant healthy suntan. The Suntan Bathing Emporium had to close when it was discovered that bathers were unable to submerge their knees or their heads at the same time into the secret formula. Thus, when they emerged, they were not tanned in these locations. Furthermore, one or two customers stayed too long and found themselves dyed a very dark and unfashionable colour which was noticeably uneven.
1940: Dinkworth's Natural Leather Tanning Works
Jeremiah tried unsuccessfully to use the tanning process on anything else inanimate but there was little demand.
1941: Dinkworth's Business Consulting Ltd
Jeremiah tried marketing the extensive business knowledge he had acquired over the previous few years. It soon became clear that the war-time economy really had no need for his experience. Had he tried stand-up comedy he might have been significantly more successful – but that is not saying much.