A Soap Manufacturer and a Liberal Councillor


Born: 11th November 1821, Hornsey, Middlesex.

Baptised: 16th May 1822, at St. Mary’s Church, Islington, Middlesex.


Father: Joah Hunt, born 1787, Witton-cum-Twambrooks, Cheshire, baptised 8th May 1787, at Witton-cum-Twambrooks. Joah was a stockbroker at the Stock Exchange. On the 3rd July 1811, in the fifty-second year of the Reign of King George the Third, Joah, of 13, Finch Lane, Cornhill, a Broker, was presented by Mr. Chamberlain into Court where he was admitted into the Freedom of the City by redemption in the Company of Armorers and Braziers paying unto Mr. Chamberlain for the City’s use the sum of forty-six shillings and eight pence. Joah was one of the eight directors of the English Mining Association. Joah Hunt died Friday, 11th November 1825, at his residence Hornsey Road, Islington, Middlesex. Laid to rest 18th November 1825, at St. Mary’s Churchyard, Islington.


Mother: Ann Hunt (nee Sparrow), 11th March 1786, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, baptised 6th April 1786, St. James Church, Bury St. Edmunds. Ann Hunt died 16th April 1858, at the home of her son, 60, St. Peter’s Street, Ipswich. Laid to rest at Ipswich Old Cemetery, Section H.


By direction of Joah Hunt’s Executors – his brother Jonadab William Hunt, a silk manufacturer, of Wood Street, Cheapside and brother-in-law William Sparrow, of Ipswich, and of 21, Upper Gloucester Place, Regent’s Park, the household furniture of the Hunt’s family home at Hornsey Road, Islington, with garden, chaise house, and two-stall stable, brew house and other domestic offices were sold by auction on Monday, 25th and Tuesday, 26th September 1826, at the late Hunt residence and at the Angel Inn, Islington by Mr. Hoggart, of 62, Old Broad Street, Royal Exchange.. Furniture – a fine-toned Grand Piano-forte by Broadwood and Sons, plate, China, and glass, books, four post and tent bedsteads, with hangings and window curtains, goose featherbeds, mattresses, and suitable bedding, mahogany wardrobe chests of drawers, dining, card, and sofa tables, a drawing room suite in chintz drapery curtains, a sofa and 14 chairs with cushions, lustres, fine plate chimney glasses, scarlet cloth, parlour curtains, and twelve mahogany chairs, Brussels and other carpets, an eight-day clock, culinary articles, brewing and garden utensils. About 200 dozen superior wines, consisting of Burgundy, Claret, Hermitage, Champagne, superior Old Port, Madeira, Sherry, and Lisbon in the wood. A well-built Dennett and harness and two excellent fowling pieces. Morning Herald – Tuesday, 19TH September 1826




Emma Jane Hunt, born 18th October 1823, Hornsey, Middlesex, baptised 29th March 1825, at St. Mary’s Church, Islington, Middlesex. On the 25th June 1845, at St. Peter’s Church, Ipswich, Emma married John McInnes, a composition manufacturer, of Liverpool, born 1807, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, baptised 3rd January 1808, Old Machar, Aberdeen. John and Henrietta were brother and sister. Emma and John had two children and made their family home in Cheshire. In 1853, John McInnes established “John McInnes & Son, of North John Street, Liverpool, with Works at Irlam Road, Bootle. In June 1854, John registered a patent for McInness Anti-corrosive and anti-fouling compositions for steel and iron ships and steamers bottoms. Emma McInnes died 1856, Wirral, Cheshire. John remarried on the 10th September 1857, at St. John’s Church, Poulton-cum-Seacombe, Merseyside, to Elizaberth Tronson, born 24th September 1828, Liverpool, Lancashire – eldest daughter of Robert Tronson, a Paymaster, Royal Navy and Mary Alice Tronson (nee Hillam), of Liverpool. Elizabeth and John had three children. John McInnes died 6th December 1896, at his residence Heath Bank, Wallasey, Cheshire. Laid to rest at St. Hilary’s Churchyard, Wallasey. Elizabeth McInnes died 14th December 1900, at her residence Heath Bank, Wallasey.


William Jonadab Hunt, born 1826, Ipswich, baptised 12th September 1826, at St. Lawrence Church, Ipswich. William Hunt died 6th April 1831, Ipswich.




1841   Berners Street, St. Matthew’s, Ipswich.


Joah was 15 years old, a Merchant’s Clerk. He was living with his widowed mother and sister.

Ann, 55, of Independent Means.

Emma, 15.

1 female house servant.

1851   St. Peter’s Street, St. Peter’s, Ipswich.


Joah was 29 years old, a Soap Manufacturer – employing 5 men. He was head of the household.

2 visitors.


1861   60, St. Peter’s Street, St. Peter’s, Ipswich.


Joah was 39 years old, a Soap Manufacturer – employing 8 men. He was married and head of the household.

Henrietta, 38.

Leila, 7.

Henrietta, 6.

2 female house servants.


1871   60, St. Peter’s Street, St. Peter’s, Ipswich.


Joah was 49 years old, a Soap Manufacturer – employing 9 men. He was married and head of the household.

Henrietta, 48.

1 cook.

1 housemaid.


1881   Highfield Lodge, Henley Road, St. Margaret’s, Ipswich.


Joah was 59 years old, a Soap Manufacturer – employer. He was married and head of the household.

Henrietta, 58.

Leila, 27.

1 cook.

1 housemaid.


On the 6th September 1852, at St. Pancras Church, Middlesex, Joah, a Merchant, of St. Peter’s Street, Ipswich, married Henrietta McInnes, of St. Pancras, born Aberdeen, Scotland, baptised 14th April 1822, at Old Machar, Aberdeen – daughter of George and Mary Ann McInnes, of Aberdeen.


Father: George McInnes, born 2nd December 1769, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. George was a merchant and ship owner. In 1818, George commissioned Alexander Hall & Company, of Aberdeen to build the sailing ship ‘Asia.’ ‘Asia’ made voyages as a convict ship to New South Wales, Australia and Van Diemen’s Land, and as an East India Company ship made trade journeys between Whampoa, China and Quebec. George was also a shareholder in at least eight other sailing ships. George was also a councillor and magistrate of Old Aberdeen. George McInnes died 12th December 1831, Old Aberdeen.


Mother: Mary Ann McInnes (nee Eastham), born 1781, Pinner, Middlesex. Mary Ann McInnes died 1856, Ipswich. Laid to rest at Ipswich Old Cemetery, Section H. On the 12th August 1878, Mary Ann and George’s son, Alexander McInnes, aged 64, a bachelor of Orford Road, Walthamstow, Essex died and was laid to rest in the grave of his mother at Section H.


Henrietta’s brother, John McInnes married Joah’s sister Emma Jane Hunt.


Henrietta and Joah had two daughters:


Leila Emma Hunt, born 1853, Ipswich, baptised 20th October 1853, at St. Peter’s Church, Ipswich. Leila Hunt died 3rd February 1928, of Highfield Lodge, Henley Road, Ipswich


Henrietta Louisa Hunt, born 1854, Ipswich. On Wednesday, 26th October 1881, at St. Margaret’s Church, Ipswich, Henrietta married Edwin Powell, born 1845, 6, Mylne Street, Clerkenwell, baptised with his twin sister Rosa Powell, 9th March 1845, at St. Mark the Evangelist Church, Clerkenwell, Middlesex. Henrietta and Edwin had four children. Edwin was a managing director and chairman of the Fore Street Warehouse Co. Ltd., trading at 104 – 107, Fore Street, London. Edwin Powell died 4th January 1919, at Highfield Cottage, 2, Bolebrooke Road, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex. Henrietta Powell died 26th March 1927, at The Waverley, Felixstowe, Suffolk.


Joah was in partnership with Charles Foote Gower, of Nova Scotia House, Wherstead Road, Ipswich. Charles was also a Conservative Councillor, Magistrate and served as Mayor of Ipswich in 1853 – 1854. Under the title ‘Gower And Hunt Soap Works,’ they were based at St. Peter’s, Ipswich. The company used 2 – 3 tons of grease a fortnight. Joah and Charles advertised in local newspapers to farmers and gardeners of the large quantity of soap ashes to be disposed of, for immediate removal and CHEAP! These ashes are valuable for manure, as they consist of chalk saturated by a considerable proportion of the Salts of Soda.

Charles Gower died 28th January 1867, at his residence Nova Scotia House, Ipswich.


On Wednesday, 14th October 1868, at Ipswich, Joah Hunt and his late partner’s widow Sarah Gower went to the County Court, to put their case before Judge of the County Court of Suffolk, Mr. John Worlledge, Esq. Mr. Edward Broughton Broughton Rouse appeared for the plaintiffs; Mr. Sanderson Corpe on behalf of the Great Eastern Railway.

In February 1868, Joah entered into a contract with Messrs. Wilson and Co., Glue Works, of Bevington, near Birkenhead, for 70 tons of grease used in the manufacture of soap, to be supplied throughout the year. The nearest railway station was Bebington on the North Western Railway, so Joah wrote to Mr. William Birt, general goods traffic manager, of the Great Eastern Railway asking what would be the through rate from station to station of four ton lots from the purchased 70 tons of grease from Messrs. Wilson and Co throughout the year. Before any final arrangement had been made as to the rate Gower And Hunt received 12 tons of the grease. The charge was 30s. at first, and afterwards, the charge was 35s. 10d.

On the 5th June Gower And Hunt received an invoice from the senders, and the Ipswich company knew their goods would be no more than two or three days on the route. Ten casks of the grease were sent off from Bebington Railway Station on the North Western Railway on the 8th June, but they did not arrive at Ipswich for ten or eleven days. Joah went to Ipswich Railway Station to look at the casks. The head of one cask was out, and all the grease was gone, and the other casks were more or less damaged, the hoops of some being off. Joah told the head clerk at the Goods Station that he declined to receive the casks. The Clerk replied, “You had better take them, the damage can’t be disputed,” but Joah them, but afterwards he received a message from the Clerk that the casks were in a bad state, and that he had better get them. Again, Joah declined to take the responsibility of removing them in the state they were in, so the Clerk sent the casks by their own carter to the Soap Works warehouse. Joah declined to sign for the receipt of the casks unless he had an assurance that he would be compensated for the damage done.

At the Crown Court the plaintiffs Joah Hunt and Sarah Gower sought to recover the sum of £32 18s., for that the defendants the Great Eastern Railway contracted to carry a quantity of grease in four ton lots, from the Bebington Railway Station, on the London and North Western Railway, to the Ipswich Station; and on or about the 5th June, 1868, the defendants detained ten casks of grease, containing 4 tons 11 cwt., and the grease was carried to Ipswich, but so negligently carried and delayed that the plaintiffs sustained damages in loss of weight 14 cwt. 3qrs. 21 lbs. at 32s. per cwt., – £23 18s., damage to casks, £1, and loss through delay in delivery £8.

The Judge Mr. John Worlledge, Esq., after hearing the evidence from both the plaintiffs and defendants said he would give the case his best attention to decide what the law was. He would look into the authorities in order to enlighten his mind on the subject. He would give judgement in the case at the next court.

 On Wednesday, 2nd December 1868, Joah Hunt and his late partner’s widow Sarah Gower returned to the County Court, to hear the judgement. The Judge of the County Court of Suffolk, Mr. John Worlledge, Esq., spoke to the plaintiff and defendants that after considering the state of the law with reference to the liability of the Railway Company for the loss of goods, when the goods pass over the railways of different companies in their transit from the receiving station to the delivery station. He, therefore, did not think that the supplementary evidence helped the plaintiff’s case, and he decided the case for the defendants, and the judgement of nonsuit must be entered with costs. Ipswich Journal – Saturday, 17th October 1868 and the Suffolk Chronicle – Saturday, 5th December 1868

After the retirement of Joah Hunt, his late partner’s nephews Thomas Foote Gower and Walter Gower (sons of Richard and Susannah Gower, of Kentucky House, Anglesea Road, Ipswich), who had been employed with the Company from an early age as Clerks continued Gower And Hunt – Eastern Counties Soap Works, at their Grey Friars, Ipswich works and advertised their finest Primrose Bar Soaps, those branded “G & H” are pure, and being manufactured only from the finest materials, cannot injure the most delicate skin or the finest fabric. Their old-fashioned Bar Soaps will do the work at half the cost of those packed in cardboard boxes. The Laundry Soap – a one-pound tablet unrivalled for its economy and cleansing power. An indispensable requisite in every household.



Joah Hunt was a member of the Ipswich Board of Guardians.


On Saturday, 4th January 1862, Joah Hunt attended the weekly meeting of the Ipswich Board of Guardians with Mr. William Henry Alexander in the chair. The weekly report from all parts of the House was complaints about the quality of the bread. The medical officer had reported that during the past week the bread was of very inferior quality – damp, soft and doughy with an unpleasant flavour and having produced diarrhoea and other bad symptoms among the infirm cases. He begged to direct the attention of the Board of Guardians to the matter.

The contractor for the bread was Mr. Henry Kerridge, of Key Street, Ipswich, and this was the first week of the contract. Henry Kerridge had been accepted by the Board as he was the lowest tender for the quarter, even though Mr. Charles May Burton had thought Mr. Kerridge’s bread samples were the worst! The contractor was bound to supply bread well made from good seconds’ flour and not made with patent yeast. Henry Kerridge was called to appear before the Board and the issue of the bad bread was explained to Henry. He assured the gentlemen that he used good seconds’ flour, and that his bread was not made with patent yeast. Joah Hunt felt that now that Henry Kerridge had seen the serious nature of the charge, he would make up his mind to make good bread in the future. Joah felt that Henry should have another chance, but the other gentlemen of the Board did not feel the same way, that this being the first week of the contract Mr. Kerridge would have been careful. Sample loaves of bread were then brought before the Board….Joah only looked at the bread and changed his mind and said it was worse than he had supposed. He believed there was something in that bread besides flour and yeast!

It was moved and unanimously carried that Mr. Kerridge had failed to supply good bread according to the terms of the contract. The next lowest tender was that from Mr. Stannard. Mr. Stannard was requested to now supply the bread for the remaining period of the contract to supply bread at the price he offered to contract for, and that the difference between the price charged by Mr. Stannard, and the price in Henry Kerridge’s contract be charged to the latter. Ipswich Journal – Saturday, 11th January 1861


Joah Hunt had been senior Churchwarden for St. Peter’s Church for two years when at a meeting of the parishioners and ratepayers of St. Peter’s parish held at the vestry on Thursday, 25th April 1862 he gave up his duties after being grossly insulted by Mr. Cuthbert in the public streets in an unpardonable manner. Joah felt it was unmanly, ungenerous, and unkind for the parish to elect officers and allow them to be oppressed, bullied, and “tally-ragged” in the way he had been by Mr. Cuthbert – it was disgusting in the extreme. NOTHING would ever induce him to subject himself to it again. Ipswich Journal – Saturday, 26th April 1862



At the quarterly meeting of the Ipswich Burial Board held on Monday, 27th April 1864, with the Reverend Francis Henry Maude in the chair, Joah Hunt was elected onto the Committee of the Burial Board after a proposal from Mr. John May junior.


On Wednesday, 27th January 1864, the annual meeting of the Ipswich Mechanics’ Institution was held in the Lecture and Music Hall, at Tower Street, Ipswich. Mr. Robert Ransome, one of the vice presidents of the Institution took the chair. During the meeting, twelve committee men were elected for the ensuing year. The retiring members were all re-elected with the exception of Mr. Charles Silburn, whose health prevented him from continuing to undertake the office. In his place Joah Hunt was elected a member of the Institution’s committee. Suffolk Chronicle – Saturday, 30th January 1864.



Joah Hunt offered himself as a new candidate in the Bridge Ward for the Ipswich Municipal Elections in November 1864. On the 1st November, he was duly elected as a Liberal one of the representatives of the Bridge Ward, for the term of three years, expiring on the 31st October 1867.

On the 1st November 1867, though opposed by Mr. David Seagrave, Joah Hunt was once again duly elected as a Liberal one of the representatives of the Bridge Ward, for the term of three years expiring on the 31st October 1870.

Joah was unopposed in November 1870, when once again he was duly elected as a Liberal one of the representatives of the Bridge Ward, for the term of three years, expiring on the 31st October 1873.

On the 1st November 1873 in the Bridge Ward, the Conservative candidates Mr. William Batley Jackaman and Mr. Charles Cullingham, were opposed by Edward Rush Turner and Joah Hunt. Edward Turner had always been on the Conservative side but now came forward as an independent candidate, working in conjunction with the Liberal Association and Joah Hunt, the Liberal candidate. The Bridge Ward voters elected Edward Turner – 547, and William Jackaman – 516. Joah Hunt lost his seat on the Ipswich Council with 460 votes behind Charles Cullingham – 466.

Joah Hunt did not offer himself as a candidate in 1876 and never sought re-election again.

Justice of the Peace, Ipswich Session court, the Town Hall.

Joah Hunt served as a Magistrate on the Bench at the Ipswich Petty Sessions from the end of 1882 until his death.


Joah Hunt died Wednesday, 18th March 1885, at his residence Highfield Lodge, Henley Road, Ipswich.


The funeral service was held at St. Margaret’s Church, Saturday, 21st March 1885. The cortege proceeded from Highfield Lodge, Henley Road, the mourners were conveyed in four coaches. Several private carriages followed including those of the Mayor of Ipswich, Sterling Westhorp and the Deputy Mayor, John May, junior, along with the Clerk to the Borough Magistrates, Mr. John William Rouse and other members of the Liberal Association and personal friends, together with a large body of workmen employed at Messrs. Gower and Hunt’s soap works. The service was conducted by Canon Garratt, both in the church and at the graveside at the Ipswich Old Cemetery. Numerous floral designs were affixed to the polished oak coffin, and as the coffin was lowered into the grave Henrietta Hunt added a handsome wreath of white immortelles. The funeral arrangements were entrusted to Mr. Frederick Corder. Ipswich Journal – Tuesday, 24th March 1885


Before the start of the business of the day at the Petty Sessions held at the Town Hall, Ipswich, on Thursday, 19th March, with the Mayor of Ipswich, Sterling Westhorp, the Bench desired to express their sorrow and regret at the sudden loss of their colleague Mr. Joah Hunt. It was remembered that only last Monday week he was sat by their side. The Bench desired to express their condolence to his bereaved widow and family and stated publicly “that on all occasions Mr. Joah Hunt was ready to do his duty as a Magistrate; he was most constant in his attendance here and was most careful to give judgment as he in his conscience considered to be just.” Ipswich Journal – Saturday, 21st March 1885


Probate to Henrietta Hunt – widow.


As a widow, Henrietta Hunt continued to reside at Highfield Lodge, Henley Road, with her daughter Lelia. Both Henrietta and Leila supported charities and subscriptions.



In April 1886, by a munificent gift of Henrietta Hunt, of Highfield Lodge, Henley Road, a new scholarship was founded at Ipswich School in memory of her late husband, Joah Hunt. The ‘Joah Hunt’ prize was to be awarded annually on Speech Day to the boy in the sixth and fifth forms, who were not a Pemberton or Queen’s scholar, who, in the opinion of the school examiners, showed the most promise for his age, and that his diligence and conduct were reported as exemplary. Evening Star – Friday, 30th April 1886

1895 – Alfred Cooper Woolner

1896 – H. U. Banham

1898 – Frederick William Duffield

1900 – Edwin Tom Hughes

1904 – Wilfred Henry Woollen

1905 – Bernard Cecil Hamilton Nicholls

1906 – E. B. Cobbold

1909 – Christopher Owen George

1913 – E. Jones

1916 – C.J. Ching


In 1974, the award was presented on Speech Day under the new title – Joah Hunt Prize for Outstanding Work and Promise.


June 2023, courtesy of Mrs. Y. Gills – Ipswich School still presents a prize for this at our annual Speech Day celebration. It is now called the Prize for Outstanding Work and Promise (Arts), with a book token given as a prize.



The object of the Fund was to supply surgical appliances to patients of the East Suffolk Hospital who may need them and cannot afford to pay for them themselves. In 1893, 186 appliances were granted, including 24 pairs of spectacles, 58 elastic stockings, and 2 pairs of crutches, and, in addition, payment was made for 11 patients for two weeks each at the Felixstowe Convalescent Home. The Fund also tried to relieve and help all those who through ill-health or the loss of a limb have had their means of livelihood either diminished or entirely removed.

The Fund was managed by a Ladies’ Committee who from yearly subscriptions limited from one to five shillings, arranged all the business and correspondence in connection with the staff of the Hospital. From the very formation of the Ipswich Samaritan Fund for the East Suffolk Hospital in January 1881, Henrietta Hunt, Miss Agnes Mason and Mrs. Grimwade were strongly urged to form a committee. This was done and 20 ladies consented to serve on the Committee – Henrietta became the treasurer, with Miss Agnes Mason as secretary. If extra finance was ever needed for appliances and resources Henrietta would provide the funds until the Ipswich Samaritan Fund had sufficient funds to repay. E.A.D.T. – Friday, 23rd February 1894


Henrietta Hunt died Tuesday, 9th May 1905, at her residence Highfield Lodge, Henley Road, Ipswich.


Funeral service held 2:15 p.m., Saturday,13th May 1905, at St. Margaret’s Church, Ipswich Laid to rest at Ipswich Old Cemetery, Section H.


Probate to Leila Emma Hunt and Henrietta Louisa Powell – daughters.




Images of Mayors courtesy of Mr. A. Gilbert – Ipswich Borough Council.   for census returns, births, marriages, deaths, probates, military records and other historical online records.

Members of the Council – in and since 1835 – Mr. B.P. Grimsey – July 1892.

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