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Herford, Siegfried Wedgwood (1891-1916)
Herford, Siegfried Wedgwood (1891-1916)
Although Herford is widely credited with being the first rock-climber in the ‘modern’ twentieth century idiom (he is celebrated for the ascent of the first ever ‘Hard Very Severe’ rock climb: Scafell’s Central Buttress), he has always remained a rather enigmatic, shadowy, figure. In early life, Herford was an intense, almost autistic child, and was subjected to an unorthodox educational career heavily influenced by his parents’ liberal Unitarian principles. Later he undertook aeronautical engineering studies at Manchester where he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Wittgenstein. Herford possessed a considerable intellect and chose to combine this with his equally capable physical powers to the rock face. Following an apprenticeship on Pennine gritstone, he applied his skills to the Lakeland crags and advanced rock-climbing by a full two decades in just a few routes. Sadly, Herford’s potential remained largely unfulfilled; he was killed at the cruelly early age of 24, by a German rifle-grenade in the trenches of Flanders.
Further reading: Siegfried Herford: An Edwardian Rock-Climber Keith Treacher. Ernest Press, 2000.

Biographical information is kindly supplied by Colin Wells.
2006-08-06 00:00:00
Maxine Willett
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Herford, Siegfried Wedgwood (1891-1916)