|Monty Hyams (1918-2013): Patent Information Pioneer||home||intro||derwent||personal||downloads||links|
Montagu Hyams was born in London, 1st March 1918, second son of Harry Hyams and Elsa Alice Bernstein. Tailor of waistcoats and teacher of piano respectively, they were offspring of late 19th century Jewish immigrants from Russia/Poland.
Elsa Alice succumbed to tuberculosis when Monty was four, having been kept in medical isolation for much of his infancy. "I can only really remember my mother on her deathbed" was how he used to put it.
The boys were farmed out for a period, Monty lodging with the owners of a laundry in Bramber, Sussex, and commencing his education at the village school. On Harry's remarriage he was fetched back to London and raised in West Hampstead, winning a scholarship to the prestigious, and at that time local, Haberdashers' Aske's school. He excelled at mathematics, physics and chemistry, but also won a Shakespeare study prize.
The 1930s were tough times, with University unaffordable for the likes of Monty, who commenced work at 18 after his Higher School Certificate. He continued studies via night school, however, at London's Regent Street Polytechnic. By mid-century, Monty was a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chemistry, one of the forerunners of the Royal Society of Chemistry. FRIC denoted more experience and standing than a Member, who was in turn a Graduate with professional experience. A GRIC had completed study equivalent to at least second class honours degree. (Source: Wikipedia).
Monty's first work was as a bench chemist at the British Launderers' Research Association in Hendon, where he had to analyse laundry that was the subject of customer complaints. By the time war broke out, he was at Morgan Crucible Company on the banks of the Thames, where work included on munitions. His was classified as a reserved occupation, exempted (indeed forbidden) from conscription, so military service was confined to evenings with the Home Guard anti-aircraft gunnery on Hampstead Heath.
In 1943, he wed Valerie Horwit, to whom he'd been introduced by relatives who rented the flat above the Hyams'. Marriage lasted till Valerie's death in 2006, producing sons in 1949 and 1954. (Photo shows the newly weds).
1947 Monty joined the Pyrene Company, still as a research scientist.
The career-changing 'stroke of luck' that followed is explained by
Monty in his own words