Chairman of the paper manufacturers Spicers, Ltd, and Associated Companies. 1933 Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire. Owned a country estate, 'Holmwood', Sawston, Cambridge (but we can find no information about this location).
The Spicer family and their paper businesses
1796 the company was established in Alton, Hants. by John Edward Spicer (d.1864) and his three sons joined the business. At his death, due to disagreements between the brothers, it was split into two: James Spicer & Sons Ltd - run by James Spicer (1807-88) and his sons particularly James (1846-1915) and Albert (1847-1934); and Spicer Brothers - run by the other two sons of JES. 1922 the two companies re-merged into one.
We had not been able to fit Henry Gage Spicer into this family tree until our colleague, Andrew Behan, conducted some research. He states that Henry Gage Spicer (1875-1944) was a son of Edward Spicer (1839-1912), who was the son of Henry S. J. Spicer (1801-1877), who was a son of John Edward Spicer (1768-1845). One of Henry S. J. Spicer's brothers was a James Spicer (1807-1888) who had several children including James Spicer (1846-1915) and Sir Albert Spicer (1847-1934).
Henry Gage Spicer was born on 9 April 1875 in Kensington, the younger child of Edward Spicer (1839-1912) and Susanna Gage Spicer (1840-1901). One of his paternal uncles was Henry Spicer (1837-1915).
In the 1881 census he was shown as living at Portland House, 188 Cromwell Road, Kensington, with his parents and his elder brother, Edward Samuel Spicer (1873-1934), together with a cook, a nurse, a parlour-maid, a house-maid, a kitchen-maid and a page boy. His father's occupation was described as a wholesale stationer and paper manufacturer.
He was shown as a scholar in the 1891 census still residing at 188 Cromwell Road, Kensington, with his parents and brother together with a cook, a nurse, a house-maid, a parlour-maid and an under house-maid. His father was listed as a magistrate and papermaker merchant.
On 16 July 1907 he married Alice Lilian Levy (b.1881) at Whitefield Memorial Church & Toplady Hall, Tottenham Court Road, London, W1. On 15 May 1908 his wife petitioned for divorce. Divorce papers that are opened to public examination after 100 years show that "on 22 May 1908 Robert A. Pritchard, the Registrar in the High Court of Justice (Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division), ordered that Dr. W. M. A. Anderson of 36 Harley Street, London, and Dr. E. F. White of 388 Upper Richmond Road, Putney, be appointed as inspectors to examine the parts and organs of generation of Henry Gage Spicer and to report in writing whether he was capable of performing the act of generation and if incapable of so doing whether such his impotency can or cannot be relieved or removed by art or skill". They were also ordered "to examine the parts and organs of generation of Alice Lilian Spicer otherwise Levy and to report in writing whether she is, or is not, a virgin, and hath or hath not any impediment on her part to prevent the consummation of marriage and whether such impediment (if any) can or cannot be removed by art or skill".
On 22 June 1908, having received the reports, Sir John Gorell Barnes, the President in the Royal Courts of Justice sat in camera to hear the oral evidence of the petitioner and witnesses. Henry Gage Spicer did not defend his suit at the hearing. The marriage was "pronounced and declared to be absolutely null and void to all intents and purposes in law by reason of the inability of the respondent to consummate the said marriage" and a decree nisi was granted. The final decree was issued on 18 January 1909. On 20 January 1909 his ex-wife placed a notice in The Morning Post newspaper that read "Mrs Henry Gage Spicer of 11 Hyde Park Place having obtained an annulment of her marriage has decided in future to be known as Mrs Merton Spicer".
Immediately this divorce was finalised Spicer had a house built for himself and in the 1911 census he described himself as a papermaker manufacturer and dealer and wholesale & manufacturing stationer, a single man living in an eleven roomed house at 20 Old Queen Street, London, Westminster, with a butler and a cook who were a married couple, together with a house-maid.
His marriage to Gertrude Maud Emms (a tobacconist's daughter, 1885-1944) was registered in the 2nd quarter of 1911 in the St George Hanover Square registration district, London. Their son, Oliver Edward Gage Spicer (1915-1978) was born on 21 October 1915 and when he was baptised on 19 December 1915 at the Wesleyan-Methodist Chapel, Horseferry Road, Westminster, the baptismal register confirms that the family residence remained at 20 Old Queen Street.
(It's interesting to note here that Alice Lilian Spicer née Levy went on to marry an Edwin Gibson Smith, a Scottish shipping and forwarding agent on 7 January 1919 at St John's Church, Paddington but whether they had children is unknown.)
The London Gazette shows that on 16 March 1933 King George V appointed Spicer as the Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire.
On 20 April 1934 he, together with his wife and their son, embarked at Southampton, Hampshire, on board the Empress of Australia of the Canadian Pacific steamship line as first-class passengers bound for Quebec, Canada. The ship's manifest gave their address as 20 Old Queen Street, Westminster and his occupation as a chairman. On 16 May 1934 they made their way to Buffalo, New York, USA, before returning to England.
Electoral register from 1902 to 1913 show that whilst he was living at 188 Cromwell Road, Kensington, he was also entitled to vote in local elections for the property he owned for stables at 13 Spear Mews, Earls Court. The registers from 1918 to 1939 show him and his wife listed at 20 Old Queen Street, Westminster and from 1920 to 1938 they also show them both at Holmwood, Sawston, Cambridgeshire.
The 1939 England and Wales Register shows him as the Chairman of Spicers Ltd, paper manufacturers, living at 20 Old Queen Street, Westminster with his wife, a cook, a parlour-maid and a house-maid.
Probate records confirm that he died, aged 68 years, on 11 March 1944 at Holmwood, Sawston, Cambridgeshire. It lists his other addresses as 20 Old Queen Street, Westminster and 19 Bridge Street, London (the Spicer offices). Probate was granted on 17 June 1944 to his son, army Captain Oliver Edward Gage Spicer and his solicitor Robert Reginald Johnston Turner. His effects totalled £203,714-0s-6d.