David came to Coventry in 1970 to train as a teacher and has subsequently worked in local schools up to the present. He has always had an interest in history although did not train in this field. Personal interest in the study of Binley, where he was living at the time, and Ernesford Grange farm in particular, led him to search for illustrative material. This in turn introduced him to the world of Victorian and Edwardian photography, especially the latter which provided a rich resource of photographic postcards. Since the late 1970s he has been searching for photographs of Coventry and Warwickshire that give an insight into the lives of past generations, especially their built environment. In the early 1990s he studied for an MA in Historical Studies at Leicester University and wrote his thesis on ‘Inter War Shack and Track Development’. Out of this came a paper on the development of the Warwickshire community of Binley Woods which was published in the Journal of the Warwickshire Local History Society. The article was a joint winner of the 2000 British Association of Local History Award. He continues with his local history research, especially into the development of Coventry Suburbs, his local Warwickshire community and, of course, Coventry and Warwickshire photographers.
Albert was born in pre-war Tile Hill Coventry and so has seen first-hand the post war expansion of the city and the redevelopment of its city centre. A product of an entrepreneurial engineering family, he carried on this tradition later in his working life setting up a business refurbishing and repairing fork lift trucks as well as sharing in the running of an antique shop in Queen Victoria Road. In between times he worked for a number of leading Coventry engineering firms as a specialist engineering draftsman. For a spell in the 1950s he took his skills to Detroit working in the motor industry there. Even before he retired Albert used his extensive collection of Coventry and Warwickshire ephemera in the 1980s to produce an illustrated book on Berkeswell with the proceeds going to fight the proposed ‘superpit’ coal mine in the area. All this was alongside his passion for old cars having restored an MG and a couple of Alfa Romeos in his time. Like many Coventrians of his generation he holds trenchant views on the changes he has seen in his lifetime to the fabric of Coventry .
Sadly Albert died in November 2022, but his collection lives on and is in the process of being digitized for wider access via the Coventry University hosted ‘Coventry Digital’ website.