100-year-old Henry’s real spark for life

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Round About - By Ai­dan Bar­low

A re­tired elec­tri­cal engi­neer marked his 100th birth­day sur­rounded by his fam­ily and friends in Wood­church.

Henry Hall cel­e­brated with his two grand­sons and six great-grand­chil­dren at his mo­bile re­tire­ment home in Shirkoak Park in Bethers­den Road.

Born in Bal­ham in 1915 as the son of a Royal Navy petty of­fi­cer, you could say Henry is a true Lon­doner.

He was a choir­boy at St Paul’s Cathe­dral as a child and was also a keen am­a­teur boxer, be­fore he trained as an elec­tri­cian.

Elec­tri­cians were seen as vi­tal trades­men dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, so he was not called up for ac­tive ser­vice.

In­stead Henry worked his way up, be­com­ing the chief elec­tri­cal engi­neer for the City of Lon­don Cor­po­ra­tion.

He worked on projects in­clud­ing a new heat­ing sys­tem at Black­fri­ars Bridge and on the new Lon­don Bridge, and was even­tu­ally awarded the free­dom of the city.

Aged 24, Henry met his wife of 72 years, Agnes, and they had one son, Terry, who also learned his fa­ther’s trade and passed on the skills to his own two sons.

Terry said: “He was al­ways a good fa­ther to me. He got me into the same trade as him and I’ve ended up as a di­rec­tor of one of Bri­tain’s big­gest com­pa­nies.”

His daugh­ter-in-law Pa­tri­cia Hall said the fam­ily gath­ered in Wood­church where Henry re­tired 35 years ago with Agnes, who sadly died three years ago.

Pa­tri­cia added: “He is Lon­don through and through. He al­ways used to visit Kent and loved his gar­den.

“He’s a quiet man who gets on with his life. He doesn’t in­ter­fere in what­ever other peo­ple want or don’t want to do.”

She said Henry was de­lighted to re­ceive his card from the Queen and a card from the Depart­ment of Work and Pen­sions sec­re­tary Iain Dun­can Smith.

He is the last one of his gen­er­a­tion who worked for the City of Lon­don Cor­po­ra­tion, but his name is still very much re­spected for the work he did.

FM3988028

Henry Hall, aged 100, with his card from the Queen

Pic­ture: Alan Langley FM3988033

Fam­ily and friends joined Henry at Shirkoak Park in Wood­church to celebrate his birth­day

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