Dr. Thomas Smailes (1849-1915)

Dr. Thomas Smailes (1849-1915) was a Honley surgeon, medical health officer, councillor and Justice of the Peace.

His son, Thomas, became a local councillor and was the Mayor of Huddersfield from 1946 to 1947.


He was born on 13 March 1849[1] in Northamptonshire, to Wesleyan minister Richard Smailes and his wife Jane (née Green), the oldest of their ten children.

He studied medicine in Leeds, becoming a M.R.C.S (Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons), and was appointed the medical officer to the Honley district in 1875.[2] He was also appointed the medical officer of South Crosland shortly afterwards.

He married Esther Mason on 19 April 1876 at the Wesleyan Chapel, Pickering, Yorkshire, and they settled at Town Head, Honley, where he worked as a surgeon and medical practitioner.

They had at least six children:

  • Ethel Smailes (1877-1961)[3]
  • Richard Smailes (1878-1945)[4]
  • William Herbert Smailes (1881-1946)[5]also became a doctor in Honley, as did his son, Thomas William Smailes (1908-1971)
  • Marion Smailes (1883-1920)[6]
  • Thomas Smailes (1887-1955)[7]
  • Winifred Smailes (1892-1974)[8]

He was the chairman of the Honley Local Board during 1889 to 1890, but his attempts to improve the sewers and river water quality in Honley were reportedly blocked by other board members, who then voted him out.[9] However, he was able to contribute at a conference held in June 1891 to discuss steps that could be taken to improve the quality of the River Calder.[10]

Despite what had happened previously, he was voted back into the role of the Local Board chairman in 1892 and then re-elected unanimously the following year.[11] By the end of 1894, it was reported that the efficient new drains had been laid in the village.[12] He was re-elected chairman again in January 1895 and held the post until 1899, after which he became the vice-chairman.

In September 1894, Dr. Smailes was one of several "of the most influential men in Honley" who supported an application to the Brewster Sessions for the opening of an off licence in Honley. It was argued that the township had "a population of close upon 6,000 inhabitants, and there was no place in Honley at which people desiring to obtain beer in small quantities could do so" other than at a public house, where there was a risk of then drinking to excess. The application was turned down.[13]

By 1895, he had become a Justice of the Peace (J.P.) for Honley.

He retired to Hawthorne House in Honley.

Esther Smailes died on 17 February 1911, aged 60.

Thomas Smailes died on 24 June 1915, aged 66, and was buried on 26 June at St Mary's Church, Honley, alongside he wife.[14]

Notes and References

  1. Date given in historical records and also on his gravestone.
  2. "Medical Appointments" in London Evening Standard (17/Sep/1875).
  3. Born 21 June 1877 in Honley. Married 1908 to Digby Wrangham Hardy. Died 1961, aged 84.
  4. Born 9 November 1878 in Honley. Married 1907 in India to Maud Elizabeth Leathley. Died August 1945, aged 66.
  5. Born 6 July 1881 in Honley. Married 1907 to Hilda Thomson. Worked as a medical practitioner. Died March 1946 in Honley, aged 64.
  6. Born 13 December 1883 in Honley. Died a spinster in May 1920 in Honley, aged 36.
  7. Born 24 August 1887 in Honley. Died 28 December 1955, aged 68.
  8. Born 19 December 1892 in Honley. Died January 1974, aged 81.
  9. Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (07/Mar/1890) and Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (11/Jun/1891).
  10. "The Purification of the River Calder: Important Conference at Huddersfield" in Huddersfield Chronicle (20/Jun/1891).
  11. "Honley Local Board" and Huddersfield Chronicle (29/Apr/1893).
  12. "Local Board Dinner at Honley" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (13/Dec/1894).
  13. "Adjourned Brewster Sessions" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (26/Sep/1894).
  14. "The Late Dr. Thomas Smailes: Funeral at Honley Cemetery" in Huddersfield Daily Examiner (28/Jun/1915).