Henry Thomas Banks

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Henry Thomas Banks was born on 11 November 1866, in Hythe, Hampshire, the eldest son of Henry Martin and Sarah Banks.[1] Probably he was born in the fourth house from the south on Hythe High Street,[2] and the family were on the High Street at the time of the 1871 census,[3] where they remained on the 1881 census. Henry, by then aged 14, was described as a sailor,[4] and as a 10-year-old he had gone to the Mediterranean with his father,[2] a master mariner, on a ship belonging to the Bessemer family of Mount House, Hythe.[5] In 1889 he spent three months cruising the Channel on the Merrymaid,[6] a 25 ton yacht owned by D C W Lysons;[7] probably a few years later he worked on the construction of the Price of Wales dry dock in Southampton.[5] It was in the 1890s that he started work for Hythe Ferry. Family tradition say this was a temporary arrangement while his uncle Richard Banks was ill.[2] Initially he worked as a deckboy on the Frederica and Hotspur, gaining a pilot's certificate in 1909, and becoming the ferry captain shortly after, a job he retained until about 1935.[8]

On 1 August 1890, Henry married Susan Barfoot at Hedge End, Hampshire,[9] the village where she was born and grew up.[10] After their marriage they lodged on Hythe High Street with Henry's maternal grandmother, Hester Smith, and this is where their oldest son John was born.[11] By 1901 they had moved to 1 Prospect Place, Hythe,[12] and towards the end of the decade they moved down the road to 4 Prospect Place,[2] where they are found on the 1911 census, together with all eight of their children.[13] (This house has since been renumbered 7, and named Ferryman's Cottage, presumably after Henry; it is now grade II listed.) Henry died on 28 September 1952,[14] aged 85, only three months after his retirement from the Hythe Ferry,[8] and Susan died on 26 July 1957, aged 90, leaving an estate valued at £2347 1s 11d.[14]


  • John Martin Banks (1890–1971). Married Violet Ethel "Queenie" Wilmott (1890–1970).
  • Elsie Winifred Banks (1897–1978). Married Harold Arthur Beels (1892–1953).
  • Mabel Louise Banks (1899–1979). Married Stephen Biggs (1892–1973).
  • Bessie Banks (1900–1957).
  • Henry Samuel Banks (1902–2003). Married Jessie Dorothy Green (1901–1958).
  • Susan Evelyn Banks (1904–1990). Married Thomas "Paddy" Glenn (1902–1988).
  • Arthur Thomas Banks (1905–2002). Married Constance Frances Scheu (1914–1978).
  • Hilda May Banks (1909–2010). Married Samuel Crosbie (1904–2001).


  1. Banks, Arthur. Transcript of Banks family bible, circa 1995. Privately held by Richard Smith. (The bible was last known to be in the possession of Henry's second son Harry.)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Information provided to Richard Smith by Arthur Banks, Henry's youngest son.
  3. The National Archives. 1871 census for Fawley, Hampshire, England (RG10/1185), fol 10, p 12. Henry Martin Banks's household. Digital images on Ancestry.com.
  4. The National Archives. 1881 census for Fawley, Hampshire, England (RG11/1203), fol 11, p 16. Henry M Banks's household. Digital images on Ancestry.com.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Unknown newspaper clipping, "Diamond Wedding", about August 1950. Copy held by Richard Smith.
  6. Certificate of Discharge. Dated 22 June 1889. Copy held by Richard Smith.
  7. The National Archives. Discovery catalogue entry "Merrymaid Reg No 94516" (DCrew/94516).
  8. 8.0 8.1 Titheridge, Alan. Hythe Pier and Ferry: A History, p 82. Southampton, 1981.
  9. Marriage certificate of Henry Thomas Banks and Susan Barfoot, 1 Aug 1890, at the parish church of Hedge End, Hampshire. Original held by Richard Smith.
  10. The National Archives. 1881 census for Botley, Hampshire, England (RG11/1218), fol 28, p 25. John Barfoot's household. Digital images on Ancestry.com.
  11. The National Archives. 1891 census for Fawley, Hampshire, England (RG12/911), fol 9, p 12. Hester Smith's household. Digital images on Ancestry.com.
  12. The National Archives. 1901 census for Fawley, Hampshire, England (RG13/1051), fol 6, p 4. Henry T Banks's household. Digital images on Ancestry.com.
  13. The National Archives. 1911 census for Hythe, Hampshire, England (RG14/5912), sched 18. Digital images on Ancestry.com.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Principal Probate Registry. Index to wills and administrations, 1858–1995. Digital images on Find a will, UK government website.
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