Speed, Henry (1853-1940)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1915
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1915

Early years

Henry was born abt 1853 at Malpas, Cheshire to parents Henry and Ann. The 1871 census describes Henry, senior, as a sawyer and local preacher.

Henry received his first religious influences in the Primitive Methodist preaching house in that village. When he was ten years old the family moved to Chester, where he spent the next thirty years.

Henry attended the George Street Sunday School and later the Commonhall Street Sunday School, when it opened, as it was nearer his home.

Business life

At Chester, after working as a butcher, Henry commenced working for the London and Manchester Assurance Company. He started as an agent and developed to superintendent, inspector and finally director, serving for a total of thirty-three years. Chester, Liverpool and London were the centres of his service.

Contribution to the Community

When resident in Lewisham, Henry was a member of the Lewisham Borough Council and also of the Board of Guardians. In 1915, he was a member of Birkenhead Town Council. At Birkenhead, Henry also served as President of the Free Church Council.

Contribution to the Connexion

Henry described himself as follows; ‘I was born in a Primitive Methodist preaching house; was baptised at a Primitive Methodist camp meeting by Rev Henry Higginson; was converted at a Primitive Methodist lovefeast, and married a Primitive Methodist preacheress in an historic Primitive Methodist Church at Chester.’

Henry was a generous benefactor. He gave £200 towards the premises at New Ferry and contributed to home and foreign missions, the orphanages and any good movement.

Henry became a local preacher at the age of sixteen. He also served as Sunday School superintendent and Circuit Steward.

Henry was Vice President of Conference in 1914.


Henry married Sarah Wilson (abt 1850-1831) in the spring of 1876 at Chester, Cheshire. Census returns identify four of five children.

  • Albert Alexander (1878-1942) – an insurance official
  • Orry Augustine (1880-1948) – life assurance superintendent (1911)
  • Florence Gertrude (1882-1941) – married Herbert Ernest Pinhorn, an assistant secretary of London United Temperance Council (1911)
  • Henry Theodore (1886-1941) – a mariner; died at sea

Henry died on 6 December 1940 at Chester, Cheshire.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1915/43

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • You can learn more about a fascinating family Bible belonging to the Speed family here:

    By Christopher Hill (10/03/2023)

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