REFERRING to the current controversy over Sir Edward Elgar and Alfred Watkins, both were creative in very different ways, but comparing the two individuals is an impossibility (Letters, October 26).

Alfred Watkins came from a well-known family. He was locally born and bred and was a well thought of inventor with a varied number of interests.

But if you stopped people in Hereford, or anywhere for that matter, his name would not register. Elgar is rightfully world-renowned.


I have an interest as my father, Rex Townsend, and his two brothers at Hereford Cathedral School were choristers in the early 1900s, a period when Elgar lived at Plas Gwyn in Hampton Park. Furthermore, my father, as the senior cathedral chorister, had tea as a youngster with Sir Edward, as he proudly told me many years ago.

Elgar’s works are so magnificent. They are played at the proms and the Three Choirs Festival regularly features his work.

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On Remembrance Sunday, it was so stirring to hear Elgar’s Nimrod played at the Cenotaph.

The piece is one of his greatest works and possibly the most recognised.

Yes, Alfred Watkins was a clever inventor and a statue in remembrance of him in Hereford would be welcome, but to utter his name in the same breath as Elgar would be absurd.