Reginald Child



Reginald, nicknamed Tom, was noted for his great sense of humour, phenomenal memory, love of music and extensive knowledge of coconuts. A native of Portsmouth, and son of a Royal Marine, Tom was educated at Portsmouth Grammar School. and later obtained a BSc and PhD in Chemistry at London University.

His first job was at Boots Pure Drug Company as a research chemist. It was around this time that he developed this unusual interest in coconuts and in 1939 took up a position as director of the Coconut Research Institute in Ceylon.

In the early 1940s Tom produced a number of articles for the New Guinea Agricultural Gazette including, Coconut Oil—Properties and Composition; The Food Value of the Coconut, Coconut Shell Charcoal and The packing and keeping qualities of desiccated coconut.

Tom married Hannah Colley in 1922. There were no children and they divorced. In 1947 he married Frances May Daffy (b. 1925) of Brixton and, at that time, a graduate of Reading University who was teaching French at Finchampstead Church of England School. They had two sons, Philip Stephen (b. 1949) and Robert Ernest (b. 1952).

In 1959 Tom joined the Tea Research Institute of East Africa as senior chemist, and later, director. He returned to England to settle in 1961 where he continued his researches. His book, entitled simply, Coconuts, in which he described their history, production, cultivation and commercial value, was published in 1964.

He also made a number of trips to various coconut producing countries including the Seychelles, Fiji, the Gilbert & Ellis Islands, Thailand and Malaysia in an advisory capacity and to continue his research.

Tom always had an interest in local government having been elected as a councillor in Ceylon and in 1964 was elected County Councillor, and in 1966, Conservative Councillor of Wescott Ward

In addition to civic and research work Tom was a competent pianist and played mainly the works of Chopin, his favourite composer. A devout Christian he was a also lay reader and frequently took services in churches in the Wokingham area.

Tom died in March 1989 at the age of 85. Child Close, off Ashridge Road is named in his memory.


Former Mayors of Wokingham from 1947 - 1979, by J Bell.




“Reginald Child,” Wokingham's Virtual Museum, accessed September 22, 2020,



Mayor in 1971

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