Biography and Notes
Henry Hucks Gibbs of Aldenham and Clifton Hampden. 1st Baron Aldenham (1896). Born at 2 Powis Place, Bloomsbury, Holborn, 31 August and baptised at Stowe-Nine-Churches, 4 October 1819. Educated Rugby 1832-6, matric. at Oxford (Exeter College) 16 February 1837; 3rd Class Classics and BA. 1841. M.A. 1844. Died aged 88 at Aldenham House 13 September and was buried 18 September 1907 at Aldenham. Will was dated 16 (cod. 28) 1906, proved 20 December 1907. Monument in Clifton Hampden churchyard.
Before Rugby he was at Redland, nr. Bristol. On his father's death he succeeded to the estates in and about Clifton Hampden and on his mother's to those in and about Aldenham. He made various changes in them by sales and purchases (see 'Antony & Dorothea Gibbs' by J.A. Gibbs), pp. 45-6). Lord of the Manor of Burston (Herts), sometime of that of North Moreton (Berks), and till 1902 of that of Clifton Hampden, which estate (and at that time about 1340 ac. nearly all of Oxon.) he then transferred to his son Alban, and, by purchase in 1877, patron of Aldenham. He augmented, 1901-5, the living of Clifton Hampden by restoring to it the Parsonage of 1832-46 and buying the overlarge one of 1846 for his son Alban's Manor House and he built there the beautiful brick bridge over the Thames in 1864 (designer Gilbert Scott), The Coppice house and the Village Hall. He made extensive alterations in Aldenham House and laid out the famous gardens there, his son Vicary helping largely in developing them. He restored and reseated Aldenham Church, 1882 (architect Sir A. Blomfield) and gave a new choir screen in 1903. In St. Alban's Abbey he restored the High Altar Screen 1884-9 (sculpted by H. Hems), gave the reredos with sculpture representing the Resurrection by Sir Alfred Gilbert and reconstructed the organ. He contributed to the building and endowing of Christ Church, Radlett, 1864, erected sundry buildings and cottages in Aldenham and Elstree, and diverted the public road on the west of Aldenham House.
He was entered at Lincoln's Inn Jan. 1840: Joined Antony Gibbs & Sons in the City of London 1843; a manager thereof 1847; partner 1848; head 1875-1907. Under him the Firm closed their Peru Branch in 1880 (at the time of the Peru-Chile War) and concentrated in Chile, and the next year took over Gibbs, Brighton and Co. with their English & Australasian Branches, and West INdian business. A director of the Bank of England 1853-1901 (Governor 1875-7). A director of the Mexican Railway Co. 1864-1905; of the Indemnity Mutual Marine Assurance Co. 1869-1906; and sometime of the Colne Valley Co., and of other companies. Member of Lloyds 1855. President of the London Institution in the City of London 1888-94. President of the Bimetallic League from 1881 and of the City of London Conservative Association 1881-1907. Served on Royal Commissions on the Stock Exchange 1877-8, on the City Parochial Charities 1880, on the Depression of trade 1885-6. He and other members of the family founded the London St. James Gazette (Conservative paper) in 1880 and owned it till 1888. Member of Parliament (Conservative) for the City of London 18 April 1891-July 92 when he retired. A commissioner of Lieutenancy for the City of London. Member of the English Church Union from 1862 (a Trustee 1876-1907), on the Council 1886-1907) and vice-pres. of the Herts (West) Branch 1897-1907. On the Council of Keble College, Oxford, 1873-1907. Member of the House of Laymen of Canterbury Convocation 1887-1907 and treasurer sometime to 1907. A Life Member from 1888 of the Corporation of the Church House, Westminster. Governor of Aldenham Grammar School 1881-1907. A Justice of the Peace for Herts. and Middlesex. High Sheriff of Herts. 1884. A Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery 1891-1907. Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society 1859 and of the Society of Antiquaries 1885 (sometime on its Council). President of Guy's Hospital 1880-96.
Created Baron Aldenham 31 Jan. 1896.
Among his books he had the best collection of copies of the 'Book of Common Prayer' in English hands. Author of catologues of his own books and MSS (printed 1876, 1888 and 1890 with supplements to the last 2 in 1898 - all since revised in a new catalogue, see his son Alban): 'Pedigree of the family of Gibbs' with historical introduction, 1st edn. 1890, 2nd edn. 1904: 'The Game of Ombre' 1st edn. 1874, 2nd 1878, 3rd for Roxburghe Club 1902; 'Account of the High Altar Screen in the Cathedral of St. Alban's' 1890: 'A Colloquy on Currency' (Contemp. Review 1889, 2nd edn. separate 1893, 3rd 1894, 4th 1899): various pamphlets on the currency and bimetallism from 1876, including 'The Double Standard' (1881) of which a French edn. 'Le Double Etalon' was published by the Belgian Bimet. Association 1883. Minutes of his evidence before the 'Indian Currency Committee', 1899, are printed in Appendix to their Report. Editor, 1868, of 'The Romance of the Chevalere Assigne' for the Early Eng. Text Soc.; and, for the Roxburghe Club, the 'Life and Martyrdom of St. Katherine of Alexandra, 1884 and the 'Hystorie of the most noble knight Plasidas' 1873. To the latter club he contributed 'The Royal History of the Knight Generides' 1865. He was a member of the Philological Society from 1859 and assisted in the production of the 'New Oxford English Dict. (pub. 1888-1928) edr. Murray and others) from 1857 to 1907, subedited the greater part of letter C and was one of the sub-editors of K (see Prefaces to Vols. I, II, V, and VI, Pt.2).
Member of the Club 'Nobody's Friends' from 1851 (president 1895-1907); of the Roxburghe Club 1863-1907) (treasurer 1878-92, vice pres. 1892-1903, pres. 1903-7); of the Carlton and Athenaeum Clubs.
He lost his right hand September 1864 from a gun accident at Mamhead, Devon, (rented for a season by his uncle William).
He resided at Frognal, Hampstead, 1849-56 (a house with 18 acres, since destroyed, in the North Angle of Finchley Road and Frognal Lane); at St. Dunstan's in Regent's Park, St. Marylebone 1856-1907 (then the Blinded Soldiers and Sailors Home). Aldenham House, which passed to him on his Mother's Death, was let till 1868 but occupied by him 1868-1907.
His Life is in the 'Dictionary of National Biography' Vol II of 2nd supplement, but there are a few mistakes in it some of which are corrected in 'Errata' printed in Vol. III of the supplment. For some other particulars see 'Antony & Dorothea Gibbs' by J.A. Gibbs. See also 'Complete Peerage', 2nd edn., I, 104 (note). His diaries 1841-1907 are in possession of his great-grandson, Antony Aldenham.
Portraits: Drawing by J. Slater (1823); miniature by Sir William Ross (1852) in possession of his great grandson Antony Aldenham; oil by G. F. Watts R.A. 1876, (engraved by James Faed) in possession of Christopher Gibbs 2009 and another copy in possession of Vicary Gibbs: oil by W.W. Ouless R.A., full length; oil by T.C. Gotch; chalk (with his son Alban) by E.U. Eddis (1860). Oil by Watts (1896) in possion of VIII; replica of the Gotch in possession of his grandson Andrew Antony; but three-quarter length in possession of A. Gibbs & Sons. Copy of Ross' miniature by Ross's daughter, and crayon head by her in possession of Lord Cullen.
Standing monument and steps to his memory in Clifton Hampden churchyard by Walter Tower (1907).