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Sir Henry Frank Heath
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Sir Henry Frank Heath (Known as Sir Frank Heath)
Fellow University College, London

Born: 1863 and died 1946.
Son of: Henry Charles Heath (1829-1898) and Georgina Woodcock (1838-1891).
Brother of:
1. Mabel Heath (1865-????).
2. Constance Fanny Heath (1866-1940) who married, in 1888, Prof Arthur Green (Prof of Chemistry).
3. Ernest Dudley Heath (18667-1945) who married 1st Ellen Green, and 2nd, Mary Gilbertson.
4. Elvina Heath (1869-1956?) known as Snooker.
5. Charles Heath (1870-1870).
6. Hugh Lionel Heath (1871-1938) who married Maggie Forsyth (1879-1939).
7. Leopold Heath (1872-1902).
8. Florence (1874-1937) who married ?
9. Arthur Heath (1875-1875).
10. George Heath (1876-1877).
11. Winifred Marion Heath (1880-????).
Henry married: 1st, in 1892, Antonia Eckerstein (1868-1893) and 2nd, in 1898, Francis Sayer (1874-1939).
Henry and Francis had issue:
1. Brig. Frank James Raymond Heath REME (1900-1960).
2. Prof Oscar Victor Sayer Heath (1903-1997), known as Peter, who married Sarah Bumstead (1903-????).

Overview of: Sir Henry Frank Heath

My knowledge of Henry comes from information supplied to me by Sheila Howells and Pamela Roberts and his obituary in the Times typed out by Emma Heath.


'The Times' 7th October1946

Obituary - Sir Frank Heath


If Sir Frank Heath, who died suddenly at his home in London on Saturday at the age of 82, could not be said to have had two careers, he at any rate achieved two distinguished reputations: first as an educationist, then as the head of a new Government department.  In each sphere he rendered important service at a critical juncture. In both cases his remarkable personality was the essential factor of success.

As its Academic Registrar while the University of London was taking to itself the enlarged powers and functions granted under the new constitution of 1900, Heath founded the academic technique of the largest and, in some respects, the most complex of the English universities.  In 1916 the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research was founded as a matter of urgency arising out of the 1914-18 war.  Heath, selected as its administrative head, organized the new department with exceptional skill and understanding.  He was made K.C.B. in the year following.

Born in London on December 11, 1863, Henry Frank Heath, was the eldest son of Henry Charles Heath, who was miniature painter to Queen Victoria and a prolific exhibitor at the Royal Academy.  His education was so far out of the usual that, after passing through Westminster School and University College, London, he spent three years at the then German University of Strassburg.  From that divergence he had his knowledge of languages and a wide and catholic outlook on life and letters, an equipment which helped him materially in his career.  Returning home in 1890, his first appointment was as Professor of English at Bedford College for Women; at the same time he was lecturer at King's College in English language and literature.  Going on to be Assistant Registrar and Librarian of the university from 1895 to 1901, he was a Fellow in 1896, he completed his varied and distinguished service as Academic Registrar and Acting Treasurer from 1901 to 1903.

With the university and the incorporated colleges moving towards unity, Heath accepted in 1903 the important post of director of special studies and inquiries at the Board of Education in succession to the late Sir Michael Sadler.  Within the same period he was also a member of the Advisory Committee to the Treasury on grants to university colleges and joint secretary to the Royal Commission on University Education in London.  He added still more to his load by becoming Education Correspondent to the Government of India.  Heath's best work, however- best in sense of its national importance- still lay ahead of him.  When war broke out in 1914 the gap between science and industry was tragically revealed.  Some effective means of overcoming the lack of those essential supplies for which our country had allowed itself to depend on other countries was urgently required.

For all that was so imperative just then, Heath was ideally the right man in the right place- sensing, as it were intuitively, what industry wanted, where exactly science could help, and just how the department could plan, adjust, and urge the whole business along to results.  In 1925, on the Australian Government's request, Heath went out to the Commonwealth to inquire into the possibility of closer cooperation between his department and similar organizations out there; he then, on the invitation of the New Zealand Government, went there for an inquiry along similar lines.  In both countries his reports were followed by Acts of Parliament embodying his essential proposals.  For this brilliant demonstration of British initiative and enterprise- the culmination of his departmental career- Heath was made G.B.E. on his return home.

Heath was first and foremost an administrative educationist with a marked talent for organization rather than a teacher or a man of letters.  He wrote the chapters on English language and literature to the time of Elizabeth in "Social England," and he was co-editor with A. W. Pollard and others of the "Globe Chaucer."   His wide experience and organizing bent made him much sought after as a member of public bodies and institutions.  He was a member of the Royal Commission for the 1851 Exhibition, a Governor of the Imperial College of Science and Technology, and of the Imperial Institute, a member of the council of the Royal Albert Hall, and a member of the Colonial Office Research Committee.  Always a believer in international cooperation, he was a supporter of the League of Nations throughout its life.  From 1898 to 1903 he edited the Modern Language Quarterly.

Sir Frank Heath married twice.  His first wife, who was Miss A. Eckenstein, died in 1893.  He married secondly Frances Elaine, daughter of the late J. H. Sayer.  She died in 1939.  There were two sons of the marriage.


'The Times' 10th October1946

Obituary - Sir Frank Heath


Sir Edward Appleton writes:-

To the tribute already paid to Sir Frank Heath I should like to be allowed to add a further note.  You refer to the skill and understanding with which Heath organized the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research when he was appointed its first secretary.  His success in this work was in large measure due to his sympathetic understanding to the conditions in which scientists can do their best work, an understanding which was all the more remarkable in one who had not himself been trained as a scientist.  In organizing the newly created Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, in the midst of the stress of the 1914-18 war, Heath displayed not only skill but outstanding qualities of vision and imagination.  In preparing for the second post-war period, when the importance of the partnership of science and industry is even greater than it was in 1919, the structure of the department, as originally planned, has been most thoroughly and indeed, critically surveyed.  That it has been found to require no major rebuilding and that it is considered capable of bearing the considerable expansion that the present conditions demand is, I think, the finest tribute that could be paid to Heath, who was its architect.



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