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British Industrial History

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William Henry Reed

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William Henry Reed (c1851-1923) of Reed and Smith and the Wansbrough Paper Co. Gave Streatham Hall to become the University of Exeter

c.1851 Born in Bodmin, son of Edward Reed, revenue officer, brother of Albert Edwin Reed

1879 Married Caroline Vickery, in Axbridge[1], one of the Vickery sisters; his brother Albert married another of the sisters.

Albert and his brother William worked together in a Cardiff paper mill. [2].

1881 Manager of paper mill employing 80 hands, living in Bath with Caroline Reed 24 and Ethel Reed[3]

1891 Paper manufacturer, living in Cullompton, with Caroline Reed 35, Ethel Reed 10, Arthur C Reed 9, Edgar S Reed 7, Herbert S Reed 4, Clifford H Reed 2[4]. Reed's business later became Reed and Smith

1901 Living at Thornlea, Cowley Road, Exeter: William Henry Reed (age 50 born Bodmin), Paper Manufacturer - Employer. With his wife Caroline, one daughter and three sons.[5].

1906/07 Mayor of Exeter.[6]

1911 Living at Thornlea, Cowley Road, Exeter: William Henry Reed (age 60 born ?) Paper Manufacturer - Employer. With his wife Caroline.[7]

1923 Died in Exeter[8]


1923 Obituary.[9]

The death occurred his residence, Thornlea, Exeter, yesterday morning, of Mr. William Henry Reed. Deceased had suffered from heart trouble for several years, and had been more or less invalid for the last six months. During that time had been gradually getting weaker, but Saturday morning seemed much better. The rally was only temporary, however, and he passed away in his sleep about 6.30 yesterday morning at the 72. He leaves a widow, one daughter (Mrs. Harold C.) and four sons (Messrs. Arthur, Edgar, Herbert, and Douglas Reed). A fifth son, the Rev. C. H. Reed, chaplain H.M. Forces, died the result of war service.

Deceased was for many years an Alderman of the City Council, and in 1904, when the British Medical Association visited Exeter, occupied the Mayoral office. During the time he served a member of the Council Mr. Reed was chairman many important Committees, including the Electricity Committee, and rendered yeoman service in connexion with the extension the Corporation electricity works. As member of the Committee of the Royal Albert Memorial he displayed keen interest in the work of the College and Museum, and recently gave the beautiful mansion Streatham Hall to that authority.

His interest in education was not only local. For 20 years he was Chairman the Governors of Queen's College, Taunton. A Justice of the Peace for Cullompton Petty Sessional Division, he represented that on the County Council for a considerable period.

He was a staunch Wesleyan, and prior the building of the St. Sidwell's Chapel and was a regular attendant the Mint Chapel. He was a generous subscriber to the funds of the St. SidwelJ's Chapel, and upon the completion of the edifice went to worship there.

In 1906 Mr. Reed fought the Tiverton Division as a Liberal in opposition to the late Hon. Lionel Walrond, who was contesting the seat for the first time. Mr. Reed was defeated by 4,455 votes to 3,970.

In early life Mr. Reed was engaged abroad for considerable time, and upon returning to England was actively engaged in the manufacture of paper, being head of the firm of Messrs. Reed and Smith, which had mills at Silverton, Cullompton, and Buckfastleigh, and the Wansborough Paper Co, Watchet.

He was proprietor of the "Western Times" and "Evening Echo", which afterwards became amalgamated with the "Devon Express," and, still later, was published as the "Express and Echo."

In conjunction with his brother, Mr. Reed owned forestry plantations in Newfoundland and Canada, but relinquished these interests some years ago.

The funeral will take place at St. Sidwell's Wesleyan Chapel Thursday.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. BMD
  2. The Times, Mar 13, 1969
  3. 1881 census
  4. 1891 census
  5. 1901 census
  6. Exeter Mayors
  7. 1911 census
  8. BMD
  9. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Monday 28 May 1923