A BIOGRAPHY of a Whitchurch man who is said to have inspired the character of Mr Toad in Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows will be formally launched tonight (Friday).
The Real Mr Toad, by Henley writer Michael Redley, tells the story of banker, sportsman and Liberal politician Sir Charles Rose, who bought Hardwick House, off Hardwick Road, in 1909.
The Elizabethan manor is now owned by his great-grandson Sir Julian Rose, who lives there with his family and runs it as an organic farm and forest.
Sir Charles was a racehorse breeder, keen aviator and an early proponent of the motor car. He died in 1913, aged 65.
The 80-page booklet examines his public achievements and his private life, including his infidelity and the deaths of three of his sons in the Boer War and First World War.
Mr Redley will give a presentation at Hardwick House at 6.30pm and will be selling copies of the booklet £6 each.
To book a free place, email firstname.lastname@example.org