Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 2.djvu/122

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Gibbs
Gibbs
102

uncle George (1753-1828), elder brother of Antony Gibbs, was taken over by the still existing firm of Antony Gibbs & Sons.

Henry Hucks Gibbs took a leading part in London commercial affairs, serving as a director of the Bank of England (1853-1901) and governor (1875-7). He was specially interested in currency questions, was a strong advocate of bimetallism, and an active president of the Bimetallic League. In 1876 he published 'A Letter to the Marquess of Salisbury on the Depreciation of Silver'; in 1879 'Bimetallism in England and Abroad,' and in 1879 'Silver and Gold, a letter to M. Cazalet' (republished, with additions, in 1881 as 'The Double Standard'). In 1886 he issued, with Henry Riversdale Grenf ell, 'The Bimetallic Controversy,' a collection of pamphlets, nine of which were from his pen; and in 1893 he wrote 'A Colloquy on Currency' (3rd edit. 1894).

Gibbs was a prominent member of the conservative party in the City of London, and was chairman of the Conservative Association there. He was returned to parliament as a member for the City at a bye-election on 18 April 1891, but retired at the general election in July 1892. In May 1880 Gibbs with other members of his family founded, in the conservative interest, the 'St. James's Gazette,' with Frederick Greenwood [q. v. Suppl. II] as editor, and the paper remained their property until 1888. He served in 1877-8 on the royal commission on the Stock Exchange, on the City parochial charities commission in 1880, and on the commission of 1885-6 upon the depression of trade. Gibbs, who was a J.P. for Hertfordshire and Middlesex, and high sheriff of Hertfordshire in 1884, was created Baron Aldenham, of Aldenham, on 31 Jan. 1896. A strong churchman, Gibbs was a munificent benefactor to the church. With Lord John Manners, seventh duke of Rutland [q. v. Suppl. II], he liberally supported the Anglican sisterhood connected with Christ Church, Albany Street, one of the earliest established in London. With other members of his family he gave largely towards building, endowing, and furnishing Keble College, Oxford, and was a member of its council. In conjunction with his mother he restored the church and endowed the living of Clifton Hampden on his Oxfordshire estate, and contributed to the support of St. Andrew's, Wells Street, and other churches. A member of the house of laymen of the province of Canterbury, and treasurer of the Church House, he joined the English Church Union in May 1862, became trustee in 1876, and was a member of its council until his death. One of his last public acts was to join in the appeal of prominent churchmen for the support of religious instruction in schools (The Times, 28 Jan. 1907).

Inheriting Aldenham House near Elstree in 1850 from his mother, he bought the rectory and advowson of Aldenham from Lord Rendlesham in 1877, and in 1882 thoroughly restored and reseated the church at a cost of 11,000l., adding in 1902 an oak choir screen. He took an active part in the affairs of the diocese of St. Albans (founded in 1877), supporting the scheme for a new Essex bishopric and the Bishop of St. Albans Fund (of which he was a vice-president) for the extension of church work in East London. To the restoration of the Abbey of St. Albans as well as the support of the new diocese he devoted both time and money. A long and costly suit with Sir Edmund Beckett, Lord Grimthorpe [q. v. Suppl. II], deprived him of the honour of restoring the Lady chapel of the cathedral, but he obtained in spite of Grimthorpe's opposition two faculties (on 13 Jan. and 15 July 1890) to restore at his own cost the altar-screen, and to legalise the work which he had already carried out. He published in 1890 a full 'Account of the High Altar Screen in the Cathedral Church of St. Albans.' The reredos representing the Resurrection was executed in Carrara marble by Alfred Gilbert, R.A. The latest of his many benefactions to St. Albans Cathedral was the division and reconstruction of the great organ, by which a complete view of the building from east to west was obtained.

Aldenham, although staunch and outspoken both as tory and churchman, maintained the friendliest relations with those who differed from him. He cherished versatile interests outside commerce, politics, and ecclesiastical affairs. He was fond of shooting, and on 1 Sept. 1864 had the misfortune to lose his right hand in a gun accident, while he was shooting at Mannhead, Devonshire. Despite the disability, he continued to shoot, and also to play billiards. Endowed with a remarkable memory, he had a special gift for philology and lexicography. A prominent member of the Philological Society from 1859, he took great interest in the English Dictionary which was projected by the Philological Society in 1854, and he sub-edited letters C and K. When the project was taken up by the Oxford