An exhibition of portraits of significant political figures in mid to late 19th century Grimsby.


From fist fighting with troublemakers to helping eradicate a smallpox epidemic, Grimsby’s 19th century mayors and political figures are fascinating. This exhibition explores ten such historical figures whose portraits form part of the Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre collection.


Curated by Scott Backrath, GFHC Collections Volunteer.
I would like to give special thanks to Louise Bowen, Jennie Cartwright, Adrian Wilkinson and Paul Wiskin. This is for their help in researching and refining this exhibition.

10 artworks
  • Charles Bartholomew Moody. Mayor of Grimsby (1855–1856)

    Dr. Charles Bartholomew Moody was a medical doctor who became the town’s first coroner in 1891.


    He also carried out the inquest into the murder of Sarah Ann by her husband Richard Insole in 1887. This was the first recorded murder in Grimsby for 56 years, and it was Moody’s job to establish the facts. Richard Insole was found guilty of murder
    and sentenced to death.


    Dr. Moody was either the grandfather or great uncle (sources differ) of Sixth Officer James P. Moody. Sixth Officer Moody was on the bridge of the Titanic when it struck the iceberg in 1912.
    Tragically Sixth Officer Moody drowned trying to launch a lifeboat.

    Charles Bartholomew Moody, Mayor of Grimsby (1855–1856)
    Thomas Benjamin Kennington (1856–1916) (attributed to)
    Oil on canvas
    H 120 x W 83 cm
    Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre
    Charles Bartholomew Moody, Mayor of Grimsby (1855–1856)
    Image credit: Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre

  • William Grange. Town Clerk of Grimsby (1861–1913)

    William Grange was a loyal public servant and an
    outstanding lawyer. Newspaper obituaries dedicated to William Grange suggest that he was loved and respected by the town.


    An example of such respect is shown in a newspaper on 9 June 1913. According to this article, no man has been more bound up with the history of Grimsby than Mr. Grange.


    Although he was never Mayor, he served Grimsby for
    60 years. For 52 years he was town clerk and he
    attended 52 elections for Mayor. At the time of his death he was the oldest town clerk in the United Kingdom.


    Grange welcomed many royals to the town for several important openings. He welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Connaught when they opened People’s Park in 1883.

    William Grange (1861–1913), Town Clerk of Grimsby 1899
    Arthur Stockdale Cope (1857–1940)
    Oil on canvas
    H 125.7 x W 100.5 cm
    Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre
    William Grange (1861–1913), Town Clerk of Grimsby
    Image credit: Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre

  • John Wintringham. Mayor of Grimsby (1864–1865)

    John Wintringham was a liberal and a legal man who was interested in educational issues and Christian organisations.


    He was a partner in the law firm Messrs Grange and Wintringham.


    During his chairmanship of the Grimsby School board several schools were set up including the Wintringham Higher Grade School. As Deacon for The Spring Congregational Church and was seen as a model religious man.


    He was largely responsible for the eradication of a smallpox epidemic in Grimsby in 1888. His efforts included encouraging people to be vaccinated and treated at the Smallpox hospital.


    He was made an honourary Freeman of the Borough in 1889. This is the highest honour that a council can give.

    John Wintringham, Mayor of Grimsby (1864–1865)
    Thomas Benjamin Kennington (1856–1916)
    Oil on canvas
    H 127 x W 101.5 cm
    Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre
    John Wintringham, Mayor of Grimsby (1864–1865)
    Image credit: Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre

  • Edward John Bannister. Mayor of Grimsby (1868–1869)

    Edward Bannister was a titan of industry and a very kind man.


    He was a founder of the huge coal exporter Edward
    Bannister and Co. At the time of his death, he was a very wealthy man, leaving behind £38,542.


    Bannister was also a generous man and often used his money for the good of society. He donated to local charities.


    He was a Justice of the Peace, a Tory and a Unitarian (a type of Christian). A Justice of the Peace is someone who conducts cases in court for minor offences in a local area.


    As well as his charitable donations, Bannister’s kindness shone through in court. Drunks were often forgiven for their offence after pleading guilty and apologising.

    Edward John Bannister, Mayor of Grimsby (1868–1869) c.1901–1902
    Thomas Benjamin Kennington (1856–1916)
    Oil on canvas
    H 126 x W 103.5 cm
    Grimsby Town Hall
    Edward John Bannister, Mayor of Grimsby (1868–1869)
    Image credit: Grimsby Town Hall

  • Henry James Veal. Mayor of Grimsby (1877- 1878 & 1887-1888)

    Henry James Veal served as town mayor for four
    years. This is longer than anyone else in this
    exhibition.


    Veal oversaw significant improvements to the town hall.An extension was added 1887-1888. This included a new banqueting hall and the council chamber.


    It was during his Mayorship that the Prince and
    Princess of Wales opened the Union Dock in 1879. This was possible as his 1878 term had not yet ended.


    Veal wanted more representation for Grimsby at county level. He wanted to use Grimsby’s lack of
    representation as an argument for greater
    independence. The goal was to make Grimsby into a
    County Council of its own instead of being under
    Lindsey County Council.

    Henry James Veal, Mayor of Grimsby (1877–1878) c.1888–1889
    Thomas Benjamin Kennington (1856–1916)
    Oil on canvas
    H 150 x W 120 cm
    Grimsby Town Hall
    Henry James Veal, Mayor of Grimsby (1877–1878)
    Image credit: Grimsby Town Hall

  • Dr Thomas Bell Keetley. Mayor of Grimsby (1883–1884)

    Keetley was a talented man in many respects.
    He became a Councillor in 1853. Keetley did not like how his fellow councillors behaved, disagreeing with their angry debates and lack of control. He was also a committed Tory.


    Dr. Keetley was qualified in both pharmacy and surgery. He owned his own practice and was a very good surgeon. He once saved the life of a Norwegian Sailor who had been shot in the head!


    Keetley was known to be good with his fists. In 1875 he broke up a fight on a train. Keetley pulled Ted Cane, one of the troublemakers, off the train. Cane was put on trial the next day and looked ‘severely punished’ by Keetley, who was 55 at the time!

    Dr Thomas Bell Keetley, Mayor of Grimsby (1883–1884) 1885
    Walter Major Marsden (1851–1932)
    Oil on canvas
    H 112 x W 86.3 cm
    Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre
    Dr Thomas Bell Keetley, Mayor of Grimsby (1883–1884)
    Image credit: Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre

  • Henry Smethurst Senior. Mayor of Grimsby (1885–1886)

    As well as being politically active, Henry Smethurst SNR was involved in education and the fishing industry.


    Smethurst was a good mayor, so much so that he was
    elected for a second term without disagreement.


    For over 15 years Smethurst served the Grimsby School Board.


    Smethurst was a pioneer of the Grimsby fishing industry. By 1880 he was operating 15 smacks. However he had problems with his crews. Sexually Transmitted Diseases were so common amongst them that sometimes some of his ships could not stay at sea. Smethurst tried to propose municipal brothels to remedy this, however the idea never came to life.


    Smethurst was also responsible for Grimsby’s first hospital.

    Henry Smethurst Senior, Mayor of Grimsby (1885–1886) 1887
    J. L. Armitage (active 1887)
    Oil on canvas
    H 195.2 x W 122.2 cm
    Grimsby Town Hall
    Henry Smethurst Senior, Mayor of Grimsby (1885–1886)
    Image credit: Grimsby Town Hall

  • Sir George Doughty. MP (1895). Mayor of Grimsby (1892–1893)

    Sir George Doughty is one of the most famous
    political and commercial figures in Grimsby’s
    history.


    He made his significant wealth as a builder and then grew his fortune further by investing in steam trawling. Doughty was active in the political scene and a great public speaker. In 1895 he was elected as Grimsby’s MP and would fulfil this position until his death with a
    short break in 1910.


    His son, Wilfrid, left the Doughty Collection to the people of Grimsby. This collection was started by Sir George and expanded by Wilfird. It contains over 200 historical objects ranging from ship models to art works.


    The Doughty collection is now managed by the
    Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre.

    Sir George Doughty, MP (1895), Mayor of Grimsby (1892–1893)
    Engers
    Oil on canvas
    H 127 x W 100 cm
    Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre
    Sir George Doughty, MP (1895), Mayor of Grimsby (1892–1893)
    Image credit: Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre

  • Henri Josse (1828–1893), MP for Great Grimsby

    Henri Josse was a French political refugee that came to Grimsby in the 1850’s in order to manage exports.


    By 1877 Josse was dispatching 313,000 tons of coal per year to France. He became a very wealthy man.


    Josse was mentored by Sir Edward Watkin. At this time Sir Watkin was the Chairman of the influential Manchester, Sheffield and Lincoln Railway Company. As such he heavily
    influenced who became Grimsby's MP.


    Sir Watkin helped Josse to become Grimsby’s MP. Josse was a Liberal and Sir Watkin was a Tory. This caused a bitter row in Parliament because it was thought that Tories should not promote Liberals.

    Henri Josse (1828–1893), MP for Great Grimsby 1873
    Pierre Paul de Pommayrac (1807–1880)
    Oil on canvas
    H 115 x W 84.5 cm
    Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre
    Henri Josse (1828–1893), MP for Great Grimsby
    Image credit: Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre

  • Jack Sutcliffe, Mayor of Grimsby (1896–1897)

    Jack Sutcliffe was a well connected man who was
    respected by everyone from all walks of life. He was heavily involved in the town’s commercial and
    political scene.


    As President of the Grimsby Chamber of Commerce
    Sutcliffe was at the centre of Grimsby’s economic life.


    He was also a great patron to the town who donated a lot of money to private charities.


    Sutcliffe was the Mayor of Grimsby during Queen
    Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897.


    Lord and Lady Yarborough and Sir George Doughty MP
    and Lady Doughty were considered among his
    personal friends. His popularity was reflected at his funeral. So many wreaths were placed that during his procession several vehicles were needed to carry them all.

    Jack Sutcliffe, Mayor of Grimsby (1896–1897)
    Thomas Benjamin Kennington (1856–1916)
    Oil on canvas
    H 151 x W 120 cm
    Grimsby Town Hall
    Jack Sutcliffe, Mayor of Grimsby (1896–1897)
    Image credit: Grimsby Town Hall