Rodger Field


Businessman, Town Councillor and Magistrate.

Rodger Field married Sheila Mary Riach at Bank Street Methodist Church in 1965 and both were members of Wetherby Motor Club. They held a buffet supper for all their friends in the Swan and Talbot on 24 September 1990. To celebrate their 38th anniversary Rodger bought Sheila a brand new Ford Ka car. He had three motor cycles a 1922 Triumph, a 1928 Norton 490 c c CSI and a 1913 500 c c Zenith and achieved his ambition in 1971 to ride the Isle of Man TT Circuit on the Norton. He competed at the 1972 8th International Windmill Assembly Vintage Motor Cycle Rally in Harrogate. Rodger remembered riding his motor cycle on the frozen river Wharfe in the winter of 1962-3.

The joinery business was started by his father Herbert Wiseman Field as H W Field in 1946 and it made several unusual items. In 1969 they made some enormous doors, 24ft by 12ft, for a building in Idle Bradford being constructed by Teasdale and Metcalfe, then in 1974 they made some enormous cart wheels. They also renovated and cleaned graffiti of two cherub statues from the Valley Gardens in Harrogate. Then in 1992 Rodger’s firm restored the old mill wheel which became a feature of the riverside walkway. Few small firms have such a record of long service by employees and in 1984 four were presented with gold watches. Henry Leafe, Brian Knowles, Harry Saynor and Rodger Fields himself received a gold watch. In 1990 Len Greaves was presented with his gold watch.

Rodger was a go ahead businessman but he loved working in the past and every inch of his office and workshop was occupied by relics of a by-gone age. Rodger and his wife Sheila opened their own private museum to the public every year and also played host to a motor cycle rally. There were 700-800 visitors in 1988. Two years later in 1990 visitor donations raised £132 for Wetherby in Bloom. In April 1993 Rodger described it as his “Aladdin’s Cave” and estimated he had 300,000 exhibits. He had an MGB GT, the last ever made, stored in the workshop rafters and it had never been used. Rodger came in “like a white knight” in 1989 according to Wetherby Historical Society President, Dr James Lodge, by providing one of his sheds to accommodate the society’s museum material, where it would be insured and safeguarded. Dr Lodge presented in 1991 a box of surgeon’s instruments to the museum. Rodger also, in 1992, provided a Wetherby home for a Merlin engine salvaged from a Halifax bomber which crashed on the golf course on 24 August 1944. He gave a home to a pulpit from an old Wetherby church. Readers of the Wetherby News were shown, in 1995, 9 items from Rodgers vast collection to identify in a fun quiz. The museum suffered a set back in 1995 when a 1977 Honda trials bike was stolen.

His business sponsored Wetherby Athletic with Fields name appearing on their kit in 1983, a year later as Wetherby Athletic President Rodger presented the team with tracksuits too. Rodger provided a new summerhouse to the Friends of Wetherby Medical Centre as a prize to raise money for two heart machines. Wetherby Lions presented Rodger with a certificate of appreciation for helping out with Lion’s theme nights. Rodger was a long time supporter of Wetherby in Bloom and in 1991 his company was awarded a Certificate of Merit in the Yorkshire and Humberside Britain in Bloom competition. He also served on Wetherby Town Council and was pictured ‘testing’ the new space net in the new £20,000 plus Scaur Bank playground in 1991. Rodger was present in the historic photograph taken, in the Council Offices Council Chamber, to mark the centenary of the parish and town councils. He lost his seat on the council in the 1995 elections. He became President of Wetherby Agricultural Show in 1994 and his joinery firm did much of the work setting out the show pens and erecting grandstands over many years. He started young and was there as a boy helping set out the showjumping fences.

To this day many wooden sheds and buildings far and wide retain the Fields logo with the caption “Fields Across The Country”.

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