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The Times, 9 March 1896, p.6, col. C


The REV. HENRY WHITEHEAD, who died quite suddenly on Friday, in his 70th
year, at Lanercost Priory, Cumberland, finished his education at Lincoln
College, Oxford, in the second class of classical honours, in 1850. He was
ordained in 1851, and, after holding curacies in and about London for 20
years, was presented to the vicarage of Brampton, Cumberland, by the Earl of
Carlisle. He resigned this benefice for private reasons in 1884, and, after
holding two small livings in the same county in the interval, was in 1890
presented by the same patron to the vicarage of Lanercost, which he held
till his death. He was curate of St. Luke's, Berwick-street, during the
outbreak of cholera in that parish in September, 1853, when 700 people died
within a hundred yards of the parish church in ten days. During that
terrible time, when most men would have been hardly equal to the task of
supplying the material and spiritual needs of the sick and dying, he
conceived and carried out the idea of tracing this outbreak to its source.
He inquired into and made notes of every single one of these 700 cases, and
found that every patient had drunk the water from the famous Broad-street
pump, and that there was not a death among those that did not use it or
boiled it before use. He completed his circle of proof by finding that there
was a leakage into the Broad-street well from the house opposite, where a
case of choleraic diarrhoea had been registered before the outbreak of
cholera. He wrote an account of this patient pertinaceous investigation, for
which he was publicly thanked by eminent physicians engaged in the same
inquiry, and it appeared in Macmillan's Magazine soon afterwards. It is a
remarkable instance of the way in which character, without any adventitious
aids, can impress men, that on the eve of his leaving London he was
entertained at dinner by a body of men, many of them distinguished in their
various callings, and all of them attracted by the mere personality of the
man. It is a proof of his originality and humour that in returning thanks
for the toast of his health he was able to fix the attention and sustain the
interest of his hearers for three hours on "Twenty Years as a London
Curate" - probably the longest after-dinner speech on record. Few survivors
of the gathering will ever forget the sustained fascination of that speech.
He leaves behind him several volumes of sermons, the most notable being
"Sermons on the Saint Days." These are perhaps the shortest sermons that
were ever published, and were delivered probably to the smallest
congregations that ever met to hear anything so good. He was best known in
the North for his antiquarian researches among the parish registers, church
bells, and church plate of the diocese of Carlisle.