Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Henry Christy

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Henry Christy (1810–1865), anthropologist and philanthropist

1810 Born in Kingston upon Thames, the second son of William Miller Christy, banker.

Became a partner in the family hat making business ,Christy and Co. in Gracechurch Street, London

1841 He was a hat manufacturer[1]

Succeeded his father as a director of the London Joint Stock Bank.

Christy's wealth, both earned and inherited, gave him the means and the leisure time to pursue his interest in science, and he did so with the same energy that he applied to commerce.

1850 Christy began to visit foreign countries in order to study the characteristics of their inhabitants. He took a strong interest in ethnology, and returned from his first expedition with an extensive collection of fabrics from south-west Asia, and a large series of carved native figures from Cyprus.

He brought a sample of loop-pile towelling fabric from Turkey which had a major impact on his father's business W. M. Christy and Sons. His brother, Richard, recognized its potential commercial value and the firm created the "Turkish Towel" which soon gained Royal recognition

1851 The ethnological displays at the Great Exhibition had a strong influence on Henry Christy, focusing his interests on the cultures of contemporary hunter-gatherer societies.

1852 He travelled to Scandinavia, and again in 1853, drawn by the ethnographic museums in Stockholm and Copenhagen.

1858 He joined the Geological Society. This qualified hi, for investigations connected as much with geology as with archaeology or ethnology.

1863 He took part in a collaborative examination of the caves along the valley of the Vézèré in France, which held numerous remains; Christy's fortune enabled the investigators to recover thousands of interesting specimens.

1865 Christy, with some geologists, went to Belgium ti examine some recently discovered caves . While at work he caught a severe cold. Soon after he died of pneumonia.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1841 census
  • Biography of Henry Christy, ODNB