Henry Pond was born in Southampton on 22 June 1818 and baptized in St Mary’s Church on 21 July. His father, James Pond, was landlord of the Cossack Inn at the corner of Cossack Street and Winton Street in Kingsland. James died in early 1829 (buried at St Mary’s on 13 February 1829), leaving his widow, Elizabeth Pond (nee Barnes), as licensee until 1833. Henry was educated at St Mary’s Church and Sunday school. At the age of about 16 years he left the school, seceded from the established church and adopted Nonconformist views – according to The Southern Reformer, 17 March 1881, p 10, after entertaining objections to portions of the burial service and subsequently to other compulsory sections of the prayer book. He became a consistent advocate of complete religious liberty, supporting the separation of Church and State.

Henry spent his working life in the newspaper trade. He was initially apprenticed as a compositor to the Tory Hampshire Advertiser. At the beginning of 1842 he joined the politically more sympathetic Hampshire Independent, and was successively compositor, reporter, sub-editor , printer and publisher (appointed printer and publisher in January 1852 on the departure of Jacob Jacob). In December 1856 Henry accepted an appointment under Mr Wolff as assistant correspondent at Southampton of The Times,but continued his connection with the Independent as a shipping and occasional correspondent. Presentations marking Pond’s work on the Southampton paper were recorded in the Hampshire Independent, 31 January and 21 February 1857. He was still The Times correspondent in November 1878 (occupation given in the St Mary’s registers on the baptism of a daughter on 15 November. The Times did not fill up the appointment on Mr Wolff’s death, but in recognition of Pond’s services, he having really done all the work, they granted him a pension (Hampshire Independent, 19 December 1901).

Henry Pond was active in the administration of his home parish of St Mary. He was elected to the St Mary’s Board of Guardians in April 1861, specifically to represent the interests of the working class district of Northam (Hampshire Advertiser, 6 April 1861). He had been asked to stand at every election for the previous fourteen years, but had each time refused on the ground that he could not spare the time. His recent resignation as publisher of the Hampshire Independent – replaced by Alfred Dyer – now gave him the opportunity to serve. He resigned as a poor law guardian towards the end of 1863, in disapproval of ex-officio members going down to outvote those directly elected by the ratepayers (Southern Reformer, ibid).

Pond was an active supporter of the Liberal party in the borough. A ready speaker – critics said that once started he usually spoke for over an hour – he was a regular contributor at political meetings. He first appears in the poll books in 1842, voting for George Thompson and Lord Nugent. He was heavily involved in the general election of 1852, and maintained an active role in election contests until the 1880s. Away from specifically party interests, he was a member of the Southampton General Early Closing Association (Hampshire Advertiser, 12 June 1852) and a lecturer in the southern counties for the abolition of capital punishment (Douglas Jerrold’s Weekly Newspaper, 13 November 1847).

The son of innkeepers, Henry Pond was to become one of the foremost temperance campaigners in the district. He joined the Southampton Temperance Society in November 1836 – shortly after its establishment – and in his younger days was a lecturer for the National Temperance League. He spoke at large temperance meetings in – amongst other places – Edinburgh, London and Birmingham. In January 1877, at Southampton Town Hall, he was presented with an illustrated address to celebrate his forty years of total abstinence and his devoted work for the cause. Two months later he was a speaker at the annual meeting of the National Temperance League in Exeter Hall, London. Pond was also active in the Independent Order of Rechabites, a friendly society founded in August 1835 as part of the temperance movement. He was on the annual committee of the order in 1848 and served as auditor.

Pond joined the Polytechnic Institution some five or six years after its establishment (in 1830). He subsequently served as a committee member, secretary and vice-president. Well into his retirement, Henry was one of the speakers at the jubilee celebrations of the Polytechnic in 1890.

Henry Pond was twice married. He married Elisabeth Crewys (Gibraltar-born) in St Mary’s Church on 8 December 1839. He married his second wife, Arabella, in the 1870s. Henry – then of ‘St Austin’, 19 Denzil Avenue - died on 19 December 1901, aged 83 years. He was survived by Arabella, who died on 6 January 1913, then living at Prospect Villa, Lodge Road.

Henry Pond

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From The Southern Reformer, 17/03/1881


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