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The Times/1938/Obituary/Henry George Willink

< The Times‎ | 1938

Mr. H. G. Willink
Work for Education in Berkshire

Mr. Henry George Willink, who took a prominent part for many years in the public life of Berkshire, died at Hillfields, Burghfield. on April 30, at the age of 86.

Born in Liverpool, he was the younger son of the late Mr. W. W. Willink, secretary to the Public Works Loan Board, and grandson of Daniel Willink, Consul for the Kingdom of Netherlands in Liverpool. He was educated at the Rev. C. A. John's School, Callipers, at Eton (1864-1870), where he was in the Rev. F. Vidal's house and Mr. W. Johnson (afterwards Cory) was his tutor, and at Brasenose College, Oxford, where he graduated and proceeded to M.A. In 1877 he was called to the Bar by Lincoln's Inn, and practised at the Chancery Bar. While living in London in those early years he was an active member of the Inns of Court Royal Volunteers (later to become the Inns of Court O.T.C.), in which he finally held the rank of captain. He was a keen fencer, and as Lieutenant Willink won the officers' fencing competition at the Royal Military Tournament. He was early drawn to work with the Charity Organization Society, inspires by Sir Charles Loch, a close personal friend; and he studied at the Slade School of Art, later becoming a member of the Royal Water Colour Society.

In 1890 he settled in Berkshire, and his life soon became a very busy and useful one, starting with work at the Bradfield Board of Guardians and Rural District Council, of which he was chairman respectively for 13 and 25 years. Always interested in social problems and the welfare of the poor—perhaps inherited to some extent from his maternal grandfather, Sir George Nicholls, one of the three original Poor Law Commissioners—he became more and more identified with the work of the county. He was elected to the Berkshire County Council in 1905, and County Alderman in 1913, which position he held at the time of his death. He served on the County Education Committee from its inception in 1903 until 1937, and was its chairman from 1908 to 1932. He was also a member of the County Finance Committee for 32 years and represented the Council on the County Councils Association from 1907 to 1936, being on the education committee of that body from 1909. He was keenly interested in Reading University, being a Governor of University College from 1907, before the granting of its Charter, and then member of the Court and Council until his death, having held the position of vice-president of the Council from 1933 to 1937. In the parish of Burghfield, which he loved, he took full part in the many activities of parish life.

Outside Berkshire he had a lifelong connexion with the Birmingham Canal Navigations, following his father and his grandfather having been a member of the committee of management (a position now held by his son) for 63 years and vice-chairman for 32 years. A member of the Alpine Club, and vice-president at one time, he climbed in Switzerland in his early years, and illustrated the Badminton Library Book on "Mountaineering." But his taste was more for walking, in Switzerland, and the English Lakes, or North Wales, with his pocket sketch books.

On September 9, 1880, he married Marcy Grace Ouvry, eldest daughter of the Rev. P. T. Ouvry, vicar of Wing, in Buckinghamshire. Of their three children, who were born in London, the eldest died in infancy.

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