Hinchliff, Thomas Woodbine (DNB01)

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HINCHLIFF, THOMAS WOODBINE (1825–1882), president of the Alpine Club, the eldest son of Chamberlain Hinchliff of Lee, Kent, and his wife, Sarah Parish, sister of Sir Woodbine Parish [q. v.], was born on 5 Dec. 1825 at 25 Park Street, Southwark. Hinchliff, after attending the grammar school at West Ham and the Blackheath proprietary school, went to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated as B.A. in 1849, and M.A. in 1852. In this interval the record in the 'Graduati Cantabrigienses' shows that the spelling of the family name had been changed from Hinchliffe to Hinchliff. He was admitted a student at Lincoln's Inn on 24 April 1849; was called to the bar, and had chambers in Lincoln's Inn, but did not practise.

Hinchliff did much to bring mountain climbing into vogue. After spending the summers of 1854, 1855, and 1856 in the Alps, he published a most attractive book, 'Summer Months among the Alps.' Next year he took an active part in the foundation of the Alpine Club, of which he was the first honorary secretary, and president from 1874 to 1877. After 1862, when he lost part of his right hand through a gun accident, he was prevented from undertaking difficult excursions, but he did not abandon the Alps, for he was a lover of their flowers and scenery, and he occasionally undertook more distant journeys, visiting South America more than once, and making a tour of the world. These were described in 'South American Sketches' (1863) and 'Over the Sea and Far Away' (1876), which showed the same freshness and descriptive power as his earlier work. He was also a contributor to the Alpine Club's 'Peaks, Passes, and Glaciers,' the 'Alpine Journal,' and periodical literature. While on his way to the Italian lakes he died, after a few hours' illness, at Aix-les-Bains, on 8 May 1882, and was buried there. A memorial obelisk bearing a bronze medallion (a copy of which is in the rooms of the Alpine Club) was erected by his friends on the flanks of the Gorner Grat, near the Riffelalp hotel.

[Obituary notice, Alpine Journal, xi. 39, 56, 407, 486; information from Mrs. Hinchliff (sister-in-law).]

T. G. B.