Harry Haskell (1883-1971) born Harry Albert or known as Henry Albert and affectionately as ‘Ginger’ he was born in Farncombe. He was an Alderman, and the first Labour Town Mayor of Godalming from 1946 to May 1949, and awarded the MBE for his work assisting war veterans from both world wars to receive pensions.
He was the son of Henry Haskell (1861-1913) and Harriet Meyers. In the 1891 and 1901 censuses his father was in North Street, Farncombe, a bricklayer, born in Donhead St Andrew, Wiltshire, his mother was born in Godalming.
Harry married Ellen Covey (1886-1957) in December 1905, a Godalming born lady. The 1911 census lists Harry at 54, Farncombe Street, bricklayer. Harry had ten children, five before the war and five after; Violet Alice Haskell (1906), Albert Frank Haskell (1907), Ethel May Haskell (1909), Lily Haskell (1911), Leonard Ernest A Covey Haskell (1916), James Haskell (1919), Joan Margaret Haskell (1921), Muriel Rose Haskell (1923), Peter Haskell (1926), and Valerie E Haskell (1930). He served in the army during the First World War, and was part of the time a prisoner in Germany
The 1924 Kelly’s Directory lists Harry as secretary to ‘The Ivy Leaf Club for Discharged and Demobilised Soldiers, Sailors’, 5 Wharf Street, set up for men from the First World War, later listed under the British Legion (Ivy Leaf Club Ltd). The 1934 Godalming & Farncombe Review wrote that Alderman Haskell was appointed the new President of the Godalming Amateur Boxing Club. In 1939 he is listed at 15, Warren Road, Farncombe. In March 1949 during his period of mayor he opened the Godalming Savings Bank. And he played the clarinet in the Godalming Town Band.
The supplement to the London Gazette of the 31st December 1960 listed the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) and under ordinary members of the Civil Division; Harry Albert HASKELL, Esq., Chairman, Guildford and District Ward Pensions Committee.
The Outlook of July 1964 reported a presentation to Mr H A Haskell of 109 George Road, Farncombe, former mayor and alderman, with a medallion and plaque in appreciation of his 25 years’ service as branch secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Building Trade workers. He had been connected with the Trade Union Movement for 54 years. In his 81st year, and retired, he spent a large amount of time dealing with pensions and welfare work, and took many service people to tribunals in London.
Harry died in 1971, and the Town Council placed a seat and flowering cherry tree next to the library as a memorial to him on the 17th November 1971.
In 2006 his mayoral photograph was removed from the display cabinet in the Borough Hall, to be kept in the Council’s files. Also displayed alongside Alderman Haskell's photograph was his MBE insignia, which is now in Godalming Museum.
In 2012 Haskells Yard was the name chosen for the yard where new flats have been built off Bridge Street at the back of Wharf Street.
Godalming Museum © 2012