Some biographical and genealogical notes on Hubert Berry of Berry and Vincent.
Hubert Berry (1870-1947) was the fourth generation of Berrys to run the building firm that was to become Berry & Vincent in 1932. His great grandfather John Berry (1780-1863) began it all when he was apprenticed to John Prawl – a builder with premises on the corner of Park Street and Bowden Hill – in 1800, and having married his daughter Martha in 1803, was taken into partnership and took over the business on Prawl's death in 1822.
John had three sons, and the eldest William – apprenticed as a carpenter – took over the business on his father's death and introduced the woodworking side of the business in 1830. He built Crediton and Newton St Cyres stations, and Cowley Bridge Station in 1848; he built many buildings in Crediton, and it was a fall from a ladder during the construction of 133 High Street that hastened his death in 1874.
His son William Boddy Berry (1838-1907) had taken over the firm in 1862 and greatly expanded the business. His church work included restoring the Lady Chapel and he built chapels throughout the south west, and Hittisleigh School. He died suddenly in 1907 to be succeeded by the last of the Berrys – Hubert.
Hubert built Thorverton Bridge in 1908 - the first reinforced concrete bridge in Devon – still in use today and now Grade II listed. He was particularly interested in architecture and restored the Governors' Room in Crediton parish church; he also designed a series of “standard” dwellings, and Peverell in Searle Street was his “ideal seven-roomed residence”.
He owned the first motor car in Crediton, a 10 h.p. Delage registered T1680 in 1909; the number is still in use today, currently on a Volkswagen Golf. Hubert handed over management of the company to Edwin Vincent in 1915 and retired to Ottery St. Mary He died in Chagford in 1947.