Smith & Nephew – The Hornsea Connection
It is a little-known fact in Hornsea, that there is a very strong local connection with the Hull Company Smith & Nephew.
Thomas James Smith, in 1856 set up business as a wholesale druggist and Cod Liver Oil Merchant, at premises in North Church Side, Hull, trading as T J Smith.
By 1861 he was living on Cliff Road in Hessle, but at some time after the railway arrived in Hornsea in 1864 he moved to the town, and occupied 7 Wilton Terrace, one of several houses which had been built on behalf of Joseph Armytage Wade about 1868.
The house still exists, but has now been converted into three flats
Thomas James Smith was a bachelor, but lived with his sister Amelia Ann Smith, at Hornsea, travelling daily to Hull by train.
7 Wilton Terrace is quaintly named “Half Hour House”, and we are of the opinion that this name dates back to the time of Thomas James Smith, probably after the fact that the train journey to Hull would have taken around that time. It is the only 3 storey house in a terrace of 2 storey houses.
Thomas’s nephew, Horatio Nelson Smith was a regular visitor to the house in Hornsea and was taken on as a partner in the company in January 1896, when the company formally became known as “Smith & Nephew”.
Thomas James Smith died at 7 Wilton Terrace on 3rd October 1896 at the age of 69.
But the Smith & Nephew connection with Hornsea did not end there. Amelia Ann Smith continued to live at the house on Wilton Terrace, but she was not there at the time of the 1901 census.
That census shows her at “Southmere”, Hornsea, but the head of the household was none other than Horatio Nelson Smith, (the nephew), who was living there with his wife Margaret whom he had married in 1898.
The original “Southmere” has now been demolished, but a modern house bearing the same name now stands on the site.
We do not know how long Horatio Nelson Smith remained in Hornsea, but there is no doubt that at least one of his children, Alister, the eldest, was born there in 1902.
By the time of the 1911 census, the family had moved to 161 Westbourne Avenue, Hull
Amelia Ann Smith died at 7 Wilton Terrace, Hornsea, on 21st March 1905.
Both Thomas James Smith and his sister Amelia Ann Smith are buried in the same grave at Southgate Cemetery, Hornsea.
Under the guidance of Horatio Nelson Smith, the Smith & Nephew company expanded considerably and eventually went on to become a multi-national company which still flourishes to this day.
Hornsea and District Civic Society has placed a “Blue Plaque” on the building at 7 Wilton Terrace, as a part of their existing “Blue Plaque and Heritage Trail Scheme”, but do need to raise more funding to continue with our scheme, so further plaques will not be possible in the near future.