Claude Smith (51) Finding out about this gentleman has really been a voyage of discovery.


He was born on 8th May, 1869 in Havering-atte-Bower.



                     The Morning Post 13th May 1869


Two years later he shows up in the 1871 census as living at the Cottage, Fernside, Havering-atte-Bower. By 1881 the family have moved into Fernside.


He shows up in the 1901 census at 2 Castle Hill Terrace, Lancaster. He is employed as an analytical chemist. By 1911 he has moved residence to Barn Garth, Cartmel Grange, Lower Allithwaite, Ulverston, Lancashire and he is still employed as an analytical chemist. He worked at Ulverston Tanneries. He was Scout Master of the Cartmel Scout Troop.


He died on 7th July, 1926 as a result of drowning in Morecambe Bay. He was buried in Cartmel, Lancashire but is remembered on the family grave in Havering-atte-Bower.




                               Chelmsford Chronicle 23rd July, 1926



                                         National Probate Record



In his will Claude left funds to be invested in The Claude Smith Trust Fund.


The income from this Trust was to be passed to two bodies – the “Cartmel Parochial Church Council Choir and Organ Fund’ and “Cartmel Boy Scouts”.  The division of income was 10/13ths to the Church and 3/13ths to the Boy Scouts, The initial sum invested in 2.5% Consols was £1182.19.6 and the Midland Bank was given the responsibility of administration. Allowing for RPI increases the amount used to create the Trust was in the order of £55,000.00 at today’s values.


It becomes clear that the Bank was keen on obtaining payments for its services but was not too keen on carrying out its responsibilities. This resulted in lengthy correspondence regarding the Bank’s lack of activity with regard to re-claiming tax on the income between the Trustees and the Charity Commission resulting in the withdrawal of the Midland Bank from involvement in 1955.


The value of the Trust Fund had decreased to £651.18.8 by 1955. This appears to have been largely to the loss of capital value rather than overspending as the Church received a payment of 16shillings and three pence that year, whilst the Boy Scouts managed with a disbursement of just four shillings and ten pence.


I can find no trace of the Charity on the present Charity Commission records and must presume that it has been closed or amalgamated with another trust.


The next matter of interest about Claude Smith is the manner of his death.


He drowned at about 8.15 in the evening whilst bathing in Morecambe Bay, about 500 yards to the north side of the Ulverston Viaduct in an area known as Park Head.He was swimming with Arthur Unsworth, aged 16 years who was a lawyer’s clerk and son to Claude’s landlady, both of them living at Glen Lea, Aynsome Road, Cartmel. Claude had lived there for about seven years.


According to the Inquest statement given by William Moorcroft, a Police Sergeant stationed at Grange over Sands, he arrived at the scene at 1100 that morning. He saw Claude’s body clad only in a blue bathing suit. The body of Arthur Unsworth was not recovered until the following day. The sergeant examined both bodies and saw there no marks of violence or any suspicion of foul play.


Further evidence was given by Ernest Unsworth, brother to Arthur. He indicated that Claude was a very good swimmer, whilst Arthur could not swim.


Another witness was Robert Gaskarth. He and Arthur had gone together for a bathe. On arrival at Park Head they saw Claude was on the breakwater. The two boys entered the water at the shallow end of a known pool. Claude entered at the deep end. Arthur asked Claude to teach him how to float. Claude took him across his arms to teach him how to float and then both went under the water. Neither surfaced alive.


The Inquest verdict was: “ Arthur Unsworth and Claude Smith were accidentally drowned whilst bathing in Morecambe near the Ulverston Viaduct on 7th July, 1926.”


Claude never married.


The Priory Church of St Mary and St Michael, Cartmel