Biographies of the Early Aldermen

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Henry Nunn Howe.

Alderman 1894 – ?.

According to one reading of the birth registers Henry Howe was born in Newtown to builder Frederick Howe and his wife Ann, yet a note at Marrickville Library’s Local Study Collection says he was born 4th. March 1839 in Bury St. Edmonds in Suffolk and arrived in Newtown in 1860.

His father and Thomas Howe tendered to Council in 1863 for constructing culverts in Kingston at £2/2/0 shillings per yard and for forming O’Connell and Prospect Streets at seven shillings and sixpence per lineal chain.

Henry married Jane Maria in Newtown in 1860 and lived at 16 Church Street in ‘Carnarvon Terrace’. Over the next 16 years they produced Frederick, Henry, another Henry, Herbert Charles and Herbert William, Percy E, Ada, Agnes, Alfred, Alice, Anne Elizabeth, Edith Jane and Lilly Jane.

He followed his father into the profession of bricklayer and builder and in March 1877 won the Council’s contract to lay paving tiles over all municipal footpaths at the rate of one shilling and three pence per square yard (cost of materials extra). The following year he raised it to seven pence per square foot. Later on Alderman Charles Boots complained about repairs to the tile paving but James Francis Smith replied that Henry Howe’s contract did not include repairs. Henry Howe repaid this debt by later twice nominating James Smith as Mayor. Henry Howe was a Master in the Manchester Unity Oddfellows’ Lodge.

Frederick, the eldest son, started advertising himself as a photographer in 1883. Henry Bryant Howe worked in the railways and a Reverend H.G. Howe of All Souls, Leichhardt preached at St. Stephen’s. Presumably the family were part of the St. Stephen’s congregation, as Canon Robert Taylor nominated Henry Nunn Howe to stand as alderman for O’Connell Ward in 1894.

Henry Howe was successful over rivals Malcolm Richmond, a vexatious builder from Wilson Street, and Charles Robert Summerhayes, an architect/developer from Croydon. The erratic spelling of Clerk Jesse Cowley appears to show his middle name as Munro at his first meeting. In June 1895 he suggested that “this reading Room be closed at 6” ie 90 minutes before the start of Council meetings. He is thought to be on the Works Committee. He informed Council that more than 66% of the borough’s house cesspits were connected to the sewer in February 1897 and that in May of that year all but 16 were connected.

He suffered from a ‘mysterious’ accident according to the illegible minutes of 7th. January 1896 and died on 26th. July 1907 and was buried at Rookwood.

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