Sir Halley Stewart


Halley Stewart was a preacher, politician and a business man, throughout his life his sympathies lay with the underprivileged, workers and the poor. To this end he never forgot the importance of education, which he learnt under the guidance of his father.
A Preacher. Having started work as a clerk in 1853 in a private banking house it was to the ministry he moved in 1863. Here he made a great impression on both his flock and the church having formed the 1st Nonconformist place of worship in Hastings.

The Politician. Though in his spare time he pursued many other activities- primarily the ragged school movement and education. It was this drive for reform that brought him to the notice of the Liberal Party and their fight for Parliamentary Reform; and in 1877 he left his ministry in Islington for a political career. In 1885 he stood as the candidate for Spalding, however he lost by 78 votes and when asked to run again in 1888 he won an outstanding victory for the Liberal Party. He was to become a very important and highly respected political figure, holding his seat until 1895.

The Business Man. In 1869 Halley had joined his brother Ebenezer in a joint venture with Richard Knowles Spencer in a company called Stewart Brothers and Spenser making cattlecake. Though he remained a sleeping partner for many years, his sharp financial mind led to him becoming a senior partner following a major fire which had destroyed the mills in 1884. However plans by an American pair to amalgamate all seed companies led to them selling out in 1899. It was now that Halley began a new venture- Bricks

Halley's strong beliefs in the provision of a safe and healthy working and living environment led to his proposal of a model village at Wootton Pillinge, the center for what was to become the largest brickworks in the World. Together he and his son Percy Malcolm Stewart planned and developed the model village later named Stewartby,

Sir Halley Stewart knighted in 1932 was an inspiring character, an independent strong willed man of great religious and social convictions, who throughout his life worked for the good of others to this end he gained the respect of all who new him, from the workers and their families to the politicians and leading industrialists.

Stewartby was one of his many legacies.