Henry Sargent 1891 – 1983

Henry Sargent largeCurator of Bexhill Museum. Henry Sargent was the Curator of Bexhill Museum for 63 years. He died in Bexhill Hospital on the 12 December 1983 at the age of 93. Born in 1891 in Hastings, he obtained a bursary to the Hastings School of Art. His special interests were Natural History and Photography. His first academic position was in Hastings at the Brassey Institute, which had been founded in 1879 by Thomas Brassey (cr. Baron 1886 and Earl 1911). The Institute was the meeting place of celebrities. There Sargent came into contact with writers of the day and became a friend of Rudyard Kipling who lived at nearby Burwash.

He was a confirmed pacifist. For the duration of the First World War he was imprisoned. He suffered great hardship, first in Wormwood Scrubs and then Dartmoor. Denied access to serious reading matter he found that the enforced silence became mental torture. As a concession to his sensitivity the Governor of Dartmoor Prison allowed him his wig. He had lost his hair at the age of 10 as the result of measles. He was later transferred to Wakefield Prison and worked as a hospital orderly until his release. Employment after the war was difficult to obtain. Bexhill Museum had been founded in 1914. Henry Sargent was first appointed as Assistant Curator in February 1920 and then confirmed as the Curator later that same year. The Museum Association was founded in 1923. It’s Secretary, Mrs Susan Ronnie, in Sargent’s obituary tells us; “As borough meteorologist for 49 years he kept meticulous records. He gave thousands of lectures to schools. He held meetings for children in the Museum on Saturday mornings. It is the end of an era. Long may he be remembered for all he has done to make life a better thing for so many.”

Scroll to Top