Harry Thacker

Harry Thacker

Harry Thacker was born on 12thDecember 1918 the youngest of five children of William Forrest and Elizabeth Thacker at 20 Blackburn Road, Haslingden, Lancashire.  He attended Haslingden Grammar School from 1929 to 1934 and left with an Oxford School Certificate including a Distinction in Social and Economic History.

His Father became Mayor of Haslingden in 1936-37 and had the privilege of proclaiming two sovereigns of the realm- King Edward VIII ang King George VI. 

Harry’s interest in the history of the Poor Law from 1603 to the present day led him to take the post of Junior Clerk in the office of the Haslingden Guardians of The Poor.  In passing the exams of the Poor Law Examinations Board in 1940 he achieved First Place in England and Wales and was awarded the Gold Medal.

Harry was due to join-up in the Bevin Boys call-up in 1939 but was given a deferment to finish his exams.  He joined The Durham Light Infantry on 10thJune 1940 and saw service in Holywood Barracks in Belfast, in Walsall and Anglesey and later in Belgium.  After two years in the infantry he was sent for training in the new field of Radio Location and then Radar at its inception.  First in the Ordinance Corps and then in the newly formed R.E.M.E. where he became a Warrant Officer.   

He married Rachel Heap on 21st February 1942 whist continuing his army career.  Their daughter Barbara was born in 1943.

Harry served until June 1946 then returned to his Poor Law profession serving as Senior Welfare Officer with the Lancashire County Council at Kirkham, Wigan, and then Birkenhead County Borough Council and was then appointed Chief Welfare Officer in the City of Liverpool from 1958 to 1970. 

He had seen the end of Poor Law in 1948 and the end of Welfare Services in 1970 when he became the first person to be appointed Director of Social Services in England and Wales – in the City of Leicester from which he retired in 1974 when Leicester was taken over by Leicestershire County Council under new legislation.

Harry spent a lot of his life getting rid or the old institutional buildings of the Poor Law, replacing them with modern old- peoples care homes.

After he retired he became chairman of Age Concern Leicester which he served for 13 years until 1987.  During this time he set up a Day Centre for the Elderly in Leicester – Clarence House.   

After the death of his first wife due to cancer in 1987 he moved to Yorkshire to be near his daughter.  He then married Mary Cliff of Bramhope and in 1989 they set up home in Harrogate where they both became closely involved with Trinity Methodist Church.

Running alongside Harry’s career was a very important part of his life.  After being heavily involved within Sunday School and Youth Club work, he trained to become a Methodist Local Preacher and served from 1950 to 2003 when he was 85 years old.  He was very concerned during these 53 years that his message should be kept up to date by constant reading and attending conferences on Science and Christian Faith  – he continued his reading up to and beyond his 90thbirthday. 

Harry believed that there was no conflict between science and religion.

A stalwart member of Harlow Men’s Forum and a fine man.                                                                                                   George Mountford  






6 responses to “Harry Thacker

  1. Katherine Odila Rashid-Nielsen nee Thacker

    I am a niece of Harry Thacker. I think he was born in 1918 as he was two years younger than my father, his brother, William Forrest Thacker.

    • harlowmensforum

      Thank you so much for responding to our blog and especialy the obituary of our member Harry Thacker. Thank you for pointing out that Harry was born in 1918, you are perfectly correct, I will make the correction. You may be interested to know that members of the Harlow Men’s Forum attended Harry’s funeral – he was greatly respected by our members.
      George Mountford, Secretary Harlow Men’s Forum.

  2. Sonja Lenz-Rashid, Phd, LCSW

    It was wonderful to read this life history of my great-uncle Harry Thacker. I am the granddaughter of William Forrest Thacker (Harry’s brother) and Anne Thacker of Widnes, England. I am also a professor of Social Work at San Francisco State University in California. I have been a practicing social worker for the last fifteen years and am so honored to have been a part of Harry Thacker’s extended family. It is a great thing to know that Uncle Harry was involved in social services in the U.K. for 90+ years. What a fine man indeed.

    • harlowmensforum

      Thank you so much for your kind words on our blog. Our members will be very interested in your work and background, social work seems to be a recuring theme in the Thacker family. It has been pointed out that Harry was born in 1918, this is correct and I will make the correction to the report in the blog. Several members of our forum attended Harry’s funeral, he was a greatly respected member.
      George Mountford, Secretary Harlow Men’s Forum

  3. Marcus Thacker

    A really interesting orbituary on my uncle, who was actually born in 1918 (not 1912 as stated). My father was one of his older brothers – William Forrest Thacker.
    Marcus Thacker

    • harlowmensforum

      Many thanks for pointing out that your uncle, Harry Thacker, was born in 1918, you are perfectly correct and I will make a correction to the report in our blog. Members of Harlow Men’s Forum attended Harry’s funeral, he was a greatly respected member for many years.
      George Mountford, Secretary Harlow Men’s Forum.

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