The Thurlows

Village News & Information

The Smith family of Great Thurlow

The Rt. Hon. W.H.Smith M.P. became Lord of the Manor in Great Thurlow 1885. He was the First Lord of the Admiralty, the Leader of the House of Commons and the First Lord of the Treasury. He was also the founder of the newspaper distributing chain known now as W.H.Smith’s. The magazine ‘Punch’ bestowed on him the nickname ‘Old Morality’ as a mark of the esteem in which he was held by all parties in the House of Commons. When he died the estate passed to his soon W.F.D. Smith. It seems likely that it was at this time that Great Thurlow Hall was restored. It would seem possible that the present house either stands on the site of an earlier one or the present house has earlier origins.

Other Georgian houses appeared in Great Thurlow at about this time: the Rectory, Hill House and later the Red House. The Reading Room was built in 1903 and the clock was named the Lady Ester after the wife of W. F. Smith. The School (now the Estate Office) was built in 1873, followed by School Terrace in 1882 . The Meeting House was built in 1836 and was later enlarged in 1853 as a Congregational Chapel. Melton House made its appearance following the Great Exhibition in 1851 from whence it was bought as an exhibit.

Great Thurlow also boasted two public houses The Queen’s Head (now the house adjacent to the garage) and The Rose and Crown.

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