Henry Smith 1958 & 1960
He was a self made man. He loved books and had a beautiful singing and speaking voice. He read allowed at 'Penny readings' a popular form of entertainment at the time and sang at all the local concerts. He was a hopeless romantic and very handsome. Although nervous and imaginative.
He was trained as practical printer and foundered the Eveshan Journal in 1860 with his brother William. It was a old established printing business of Richard Bult with whom Henry had served his apprenticeship. In the old days Henry used to help set the type by hand. He was entirely responsible for running the printing business and the bookselling and stationers shop. As the Journal grew the commercial side of the paper became increasingly important. His brother who was apprenticed to George Henry Garrard in 1890 had to petition the Master of the Rolls to continue as a partner in W.and H.Smith book shop. A clause in this petition exactly set out the relationship of the two brother in that business. It read as follows:- That your petitioner's personal engagement in connection with the partnership of the business of W.and H. Smith is confined almost entirely to the writing of articles for and the editing of a weekly newspaper publish by them. The petitioner's brother Henry Smith conducting the commercial side of the business......" Henry Smith continued actively in this position until the partnership was converted into the present limited liability company, when he became Chairman of the directors a position he retained for the rest of his life.
Henry Smith was a man of most impressive appearance, tall, upright, handsome and dignified. He was one of the most dignified personalities who ever walk the streets of Evesham. He was a man with a great sense of humour and had the endearing quality of delighting in telling a story against himself. A man of integrity and honour, he gained the respect of his fellow townsmen generally and the affection of those associated with him in public works.
As a young man he was actively associated with the Evesham Mechanics' Institute and he became its honorary secretary. The Evesham Institute performed a most vital part in the adult education of both brothers. Both came under the influence of Herbert New a great scholar and man of letters and the senior partner of Messrs. New. Prance and Garrard.
His greatest public work for Evesham was performed on the Town Council which at the time of his death he was the "Father." He never had to fight an election being returned unopposed. He was subsequently an Alderman for many years. It is interesting to note that on his brother Williams death in 1906, he succeeded him as Chairman of the Public Library Committee. He was Mayor of Evesham four time, and such , worthily and ably represented his town as its chief citizen. ( See Granny Becks book about the Royal Visits)
As a public speaker he was outstanding. He never spoke on the political platform, for unlike his brother who was a right-wing Liberal he never took any active part in politics.
In connection with his public works he was interested in education. He was for many years a Grovener of Prince Henry's Grammar School and he was one of the first to realise the great benefit which would accrue to the town and district could the foundations of the Grammar School and the endowed school in Bengeworth known as Deacle's School be amalgamated and formed into a Secondary School under Worcestershire County Council. After prolonged negotiations this scheme was carried out in 1905. The secondary school - to which girls were admitted for the first time - continuing the title of Prince Henry's Grammar School. He was elected chairman of the governors in 1907, on the proposition of Mr. Willis Bund, chairman of the County Council.
In 1894 he was placed on the commission of the peace for the borough of Evesham and was an able and trusted magistrate whose fair-mindedness inspired confidence.
In religion he always remained a strict member of the Church of England. At one time he attended All Saints as a boy singing in the choir. Later he crossed the churchyard and became a regular worshiper at the Church of St. Lawrence. Perhaps it my here be stated that he possessed a delightful baritone voice and at one time was in great demand at local concerts.
In his early days he joined the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment.
He was the first secretary of the Evesham Boating Club when it was founded in 1863 retaining the position for 30 years. For a few years he was actively involved in rowing his position was always No 2 in the boat.
He was twice married. He married Mary, widow of John Hurd Gordon and for a time lived at Avon View, Hampton were his first two daughters were born. He was widowed in 1875 and went to live at The Parks, Aldington. While he lived there he purchased just over 8 acres of the Lanesfield Estate on Greenhill, Evesham. He built "Lanesfield." In 1883 he married Clarissa Ann, daughter of William Felton of Birmingham and niece of Edwin Felton, Wine and Spirit Merchants of Vine Street, Evesham. They had two children. My Grandmother Eva Maud Beck nee Smith and Horace raymond Smith. (Most of the information in this story was obtained from the 1960 Centennial of the Evesham Journal)
He died on 25th June 1917 under circumstances which must be considered tragic, for his only son had enlisted in the local Territorials on August 8 1914 and had been at the front in the First World War for a long time causing his father endless anxiety. Had he live another 18 month he would have seen the end of the war and the safe return of his son .
On His gravestone in Evesham Cemetery are inscribed " A race well run".
Anita Harper nee Beck. Henry Smith Gt. Grandaughter. New Zealand