Philip Sale



Philip Sale was a member of one of the best known and respected families in Wokingham. As well as being dedicated to public service, the family was successful in business. Sales Vegetable Seeds began in 1818 when grandfather Stephen Sale (1799-1880) took a wagon to London to buy seeds which were to be his stock in trade. The family owned a large piece of land in the vicinity of Cockpit path, a part of which was an orchard. The rest was used for testing seeds.

The youngest son of Stephen (1799-1881) and Caroline Sale (1820-1889), Philip, at the age of fifteen, was recalled from school at Thame to enter his father’s business. Upon the death of his father he became the principal of the company, Sale & Son, a position he held for the rest of his life.

At the beginning of the century, Philip purchased a large piece of land in Rectory Road upon which he built his family home which he named Chapel Gardens. Much of the grounds were used for growing and a part was sold in 1904 to provide a site for the old police Station.

In 1885 Philip married Emily nee Hall (1859-1937) from Gloucester and they had six children: Constance (b. 1888), Dorothy (b 1890), Stephen (b. 1892), Philip (b. 1895), Oliver (b. 1896) and Gilbert (b. 1898). Left a widower in 1937, Philip married Mrs. L. Fulcher, widow of Mr. Charles Fulcher two years later.

In addition to his business and civic duties Philip was a member of the Committee of the Wokingham Institute; secretary to the Wokingham Total Abstinance Society, and a director of the First and Second Wokingham & Bracknell Nos. 541 and 647 Starr-Bowkett Building Society.

During the Boer War, a staunch Baptist, Philip displayed a sign in his window questioning whether the British should kill their Boer brothers. This resulted in his being labelled a traitor and his shop boycotted.

On a number of occasions he refused to pay his church taxes and appeared in the magistrates’ court. Although he was frequently fined he never went to prison as an anonymous person always paid the fines. He never discovered the identity of this generous donor.

Philip Sale was made an Honorary Freeman of Wokingham in 1936.

Philip died at his home on Saturday 23rd August 1947 and was buried on the following Wednesday in the Free Churchyard on Reading Road.

In 1951 the Sale family donated a piece of land, near Cockpit Path, to provide a memorial to his memory. A complex of thirteen bungalows and one house called "Philip Sale Memorial Homes" were built at a cost of £ 28,000.


Former Mayors of Wokingham from 1885 - 1946, by J Bell.
Honorary Freeman of Wokingham, by J Bell




“Philip Sale,” Wokingham's Virtual Museum, accessed June 21, 2021,



Mayor 1920