Lawrence Harry Wilson

Lawrence Harry Wilson was a person of note in Bath. Starting as a journalist for the Chronicle, he then took a temporary post as advertising manager for the Pump Rooms. He was then promoted to the permanent position of secretary and manager.

The 1901 census gives Lawrence Harry Wilson, aged 29, unmarried, living at 2 Elm Place, Bath, secretary of the Mineral Baths.

In 1903 he moved to No 34 Sydney Buildings.

The Agreement made on November 22, 1905 between the Mayor Alderman and Citizens of the City of Bath, and Lawrence Harry Wilson of 34 Sydney Buildings states:

"Whereas the Corporation have lately resolved upon a reorganisation of their Hot Mineral Baths and Pump Room establishment and it has been agreed that as part of the Scheme of reorganisation that the manager shall continue in the services of the Corporation.

The said manager shall..... act as General Manager of the Hot Mineral Baths establishment and the Pump Room Promenade and all other establishments, offices and premises connected therewith under the control of the Hot Mineral Baths and Pump Room Committee of the a salary of £250 per annum."

The Bath and West Evening Chronicle of August 12, 1982, carried an article by his son. The article references Buffalo Bill's visit to Bath in the early part of the century and carries a photograph showing Lawrence Harry Wilson, or Harry as he liked to be called, second from the left.

Bath Evening Chronicle August 12, 1982

Click here to view the photograph on the Bath in Time web site.

When Buffalo Bill blew into Bath

William Frederick Cody, alias Buffalo Bill, was no slouch when it came to showmanship. So when he visited Bath in the early part of the century - plus, presumably, his Wild West Show - I doubt if he needed much persuasion to have his photograph taken in the Roman Baths (see left).

The photograph belongs to Lawrence Harry Wilson, 75, who now lives at Bognor Regis but who was born in Bath. His father, Lawrence Harry Wilson (second from the left in the photograph) was the manager and secretary of the Corporation Baths.

Unfortunately Mr Wilson was unable to identify any of the others in the photograph - his father died within, at most, a few years of the photograph being taken when Mr Wilson was 11 months old.

He has another picture from the same period - of the interior of the library in the British pavilion for the Paris exhibition of 1900, which was furnished by Bath Corporation. The desk and blotter in the photo were subsequently given to Queen Alexandra in June 1902, presumably for the coronation, planned for June 26 but delayed until August because the King had to go into hospital.

Mr Wilson senior was born in Westminster and started out as a journalist. He was a reporter on the old Bath Herald for eight years before moving across to the Roman Baths in January 1900.

In March, 1908, he caught a chill on a visit to Southsea to attend an illustrated lecture on the city. He suffered from consumption and, despite a remission, the chill proved fatal. He died on April 20, 1908, and was subsequently buried at Bathwick cemetery.


In 1906 Harry Wilson moved to No 13 Sydney Buildings with his wife, Evelyn Rose. While working for the Bath Corporation he wrote several beautifully illustrated guidebooks.

Click on the image for a larger view

He died in 1908 at the age of 36, leaving his widow and 11 month old baby son. From the press cutting below it can be seen his funeral was attended by many of Bath's dignitaries, and from the tributes, that he was a much respected man.

1908 Funeral notice

Click on the image for a larger view

Unfortunately the memorial for Lawrence Harry Wilson in Smallcombe Cemetery is now submerged. His sister, Bessie Amelia Payne[1869-1950] and her husband, Edward Payne[1867-1941] were later buried in the same plot.

Neal Kerss

From information and memorabilia kindly supplied by his grandson, Graham Wilson.

September 2011

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