The Following article appeared in the Telegraph and Argus on 15th February 1974.
Oswald ‘Ossie’ Michael Stroud was the youngest son of Bradford’s first Rabbi, Dr Joseph Strauss. He was born in Bradord on 7th January 1897 and led a very full, active, and interesting life, including marrying Clare (1898-1995) in 1920 and becoming father to Roy, and his two sisters. His living was earned as chairman of a major Bradford Textile firm, Stroud, Riley & Drummond Ltd. He died aged 87 on 24th November 1984.
Telegraph & Argus
Friday 15th February 1974
People: By Frank Higginson
A HARVEST AFTER THE HARD WORK
Besides being a noted figure in the wool textile trade, MR.OSWALD M. STROUD (right) is a successful farmer and he has a long record of social and charitable work. He’s also a man who changed his name because of Hitler.
The baker had been busy at his oven. He had made a loaf of wholemeal bread. He gave me a piece spread with butter,
it was delicious. But more remarkable than the bread, was the baker, none other than 77 year old Mr. Oswald M. Stroud. For half a century a major figure in the Bradford wool textile trade.
Cooking is one of his hobbies and he especially likes to bake wholemeal bread.
He’s a man who has often cast his bread upon the waters.
He did that I suppose when only a week after been discharged from the Middlesex Regiment in 1919 he scraped together what little money he had and put into a tiny textile business in a cellar hole in Bradford.
The partner who joined him in launching that modest enterprise was Mr. L. Wynne Riley, whom he had met several years earlier while both were studying textiles at Bradford Technical College.
With a long struggle they built up the business, its staff growing from two to 800. Both Mr. Stroud, who had been chairman and his co-founder retired from the board of Stroud Riley Textile Group in July 1972.
But Mr. Stroud still has other interests, chief of which is his flourishing farm at Bolton Percy near York. His interest in farming germinated when for his health’s sake he was sent from Bradford at the age of ten to live for a while on a farm in Wales.
From that time he wanted a farm, and bought one in Nidderdale in 1928. Eighteen years later came the move up to the present farm, where he has a herd of more than a hundred Hereford cattle. He’s a successful show exhibitor- he’s had first prize at the Royal Show. And he is president of the Hereford Northern Breeders’ Association.
Such a man is Mr. Stroud. Only he wasn’t always called Stroud. Hilter caused him to change his name. His father was Dr. Joseph Strauss who came from Germany in 1872 when he was appointed Bradford’s first Rabbi. A bearded figure with a ready smile, he walked much, spurning the trams. And each day he used to walk from his home in St. Paul’s Road, Manningham to Bradford Mechanics’ Institute to read the papers.
He sent his son Oswald to be educated at Belle Vue School and Bingley Grammar School and later to Bradford Technical College where he twice won the City and Guilds first prize and medal in textiles.
But the lad who made textiles his business found in 1933, as Hitlers stance grew, that the name Strauss was a disadvantage. A customer in London threatened, “I’ll do no trade with damned Germans”.
He didn’t realise that the man whose name he disliked had not only served in the British Army, but had joined with his brother-in-law Mr Joseph Morris to buy a big house in which to accommodate refugees from Hitler’s Germany. Anyway the go-ahead young textile manufacturer changed his name to Stroud. He had married soon after starting his business. He and his wife celebrated their golden wedding in February, 1970. They have a son and two daughters, 12 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Mrs. Stroud has joined her husband in much of his social and charitable work, including that for the Bradford branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Of which he was the first chairman. He is now the president.
He is also a member and past president of Bradford Rotary Club, vice-president and former chairman of Bradford Local Savings Committee, a former chairman of the finance sub-commitee of Bradford “A” Group Hospital Management Committee, a former member of the Bradford Health Executive Council and a former chairman of Bradford Synagogue.
In 1964 he was awarded the O.B.E. For 15 years he served as a Bradford magistrate.
An associate of the Textile Institute Mr Stroud is delighted that his son Mr. Roy V. Stroud, the present chairman of Stroud Riley and Co. Ltd, (now part of the Stroud Riley and Drummond Group) has been newly elected chairman of the Wool Textile Delegation.
Mr Oswald Stroud‘s home is at Sefton Lodge, Park Drive, Heaton, Bradford, little more than a mile from where he was born.
“I love Bradford”, he says, “It’s a bit cold, a bit draughty and a bit short of sunshine and it’s hills seem to me to become annually a bit steeper, but it has the most wonderful people that one could wish to meet – kind, friendly people.
“And I want to say that Bradford’s textile trade provides for other industries a splendid example of what the relations should be between employer and employed. It’s been like that in all my 77 years. I’m proud to be a Bradfordian and proud to be a member of the textile industry.”
But now, resting from his efforts in the textile industry. He can devote more time to hobbies, among them the cultivation of plants in his greenhouse, writing his memoirs and listening to music.
One of his distant relatives through his mother was Mendelssohn, and his three favourite composers are Mozart, Mendelssohn and Beethoven – in that order.
He’s one of the most travelled Bradfordians. Business has taken him to almost every part of the world. Nowhere has he been more impressed by what he has seen than in Israel.
He has seen a boundary fence running for miles upon miles with nothing but rock and sand on one side and on the other side magnificent green fields and trees stretching far into the distance.
And he has seen such a fence with an Israeli sentry on one side, and an Arab sentry on the other, both armed with rifles yet tossing cigarettes over in a most comradely way.
“That’s the attitude of the ordinary people”, he declares. “In Israel, the people yearn for peace, pray for peace…Peace in which to till the earth, manufacture their products, and bring up their families. And my goodness, they deserve peace.”
Transcribed by Benjamin Dunn
Ossie Stroud T&A 1974 Adobe Pdf readable version