Henry BODDINGTON (1813–1886)


14 (54) Wellington Street, Thame (site of former workhouse)

Thame Mill
Thame Mill, where Henry Boddington was born.
Watercolour by Henry Boddington Junior, 1889

Henry Boddington was born in a mill cottage at Thame where his father, John Boddington, was the miller. He also acted as parish overseer, surveyor of the roads and master of the workhouse where the family lived from 1826. Young Henry was educated at a dame school in the town and assisted his father in various ways, notably with compiling the 1831 census returns for Thame. Henry’s older brother John went north to find his fortune, becoming a clerk at the Strangeways brewery of Hole, Potter and Harrison in Manchester in 1831 and the rest of the family followed in the hope of better prospects.

Henry became a commercial traveller for the brewery, progressed in the business and in 1847 became a partner on the departure of Hole. By 1852 he had become sole proprietor, his success assisted by his marriage to Martha Slater, daughter of a Salford dyer and banker. In the next two decades Strangeways’ output made it a major northern brewery with an empire later extending as far as Birmingham and Burton-on-Trent.

His marriage to Martha produced eight children and his second wife, Eliza Nanson, bore him four more. He retired to Silverdale near Carnforth where he died in 1886. His sons carried on the business, all prosperous and influential public figures in Manchester life. Henry Slater Boddington (1849–1925), for instance, was a director of the Manchester Ship Canal.

Boddingtons remained a family company until 1989 when it was sold to Whitbread and is now part of the Anheuser-Busch Inbev conglomerate, the leading global brewer.

Source: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: article by R. G. Wilson

The plaque was unveiled on 14 April 2011 at 14 Wellington Street, Thame, by Mrs Norah Watkins, great-granddaughter of Henry Boddington. 

Plaque to Boddington


Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board



born in Thame and
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21st Century Thame

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