The History of 10 Sussex Square

H H S Croft,

Barrister and scholar 1842-1923 at 10 Sussex Square from 1890’s until the First World War

Henry Herbert Stephen Croft and his wife Emma, are listed in local directories at 10 Sussex Square from 1895 until the outbreak of the First World War. They may have come to live in Brighton upon Henry’s appointment as Recorder of Tenterden in 1891 and Henry may have left upon his wife’s death in 1914.

Henry was the son of a clergyman at Ipswich. Educated at Eton and Cambridge. he was called to the bar in 1871. Henry and Emma had first a daughter, Lilian, and then three sons, George, Charles and John. Charles died in infancy. John was killed on the Western Front in April 1915, a lieutenant aged 27. His mother. Emma had died in 1914 and so was spared this untimely bereavement. By 1916 Henry gives his addresses as 11 Kings Bench Walk, Inner Temple and 27 Holland Road Villas, Kensington.

As a 7 year old, Henry wrote a small illustrated manuscript book, in ink, pencil and paint on paper, over Christmas 1849. Now in the V&A museum collection, the book called ‘A History of Ernest, Or the Little Midshipman’, recounts a battle between and an English and a French Ship, then a shipwreck and a struggle for survival. It is regarded as a rare and valuable survival of a Victorian child’s work of imagination, influenced by Britain’s conflict with Napoleonic France.

Alongside his work as a lawyer, Henry wrote books on legal history and is best remembered for his ‘exhaustive and valuable’ edition (1883) of The Boke Named the Governor (1531) by Sir Thomas Elyot, Henry VIII’s Ambassador to Charles V.

Andrew Doig 2016