John Tofts White 1917-2002

A long standing member of our local history society, John Tofts White, died in August 2002. He was librarian by training and became a Fellow of the Library Association. He was Branch Librarian at Brentford before becoming the Reference Librarian at Hounslow Central Library, when the new London Borough of Hounslow came into being in 1965. He retired in 1982. He was actively involved in his local parish church at Heston and served as parish archivist. He was made Vice-President of the Hounslow and District History Society shortly before he died.

John usually sat in the front row at our meetings. With a distinctive voice and a remarkable memory, he took great pleasure in passing on detailed information and memories in the discussion sessions after our talks!

He made a significant contribution to the history of area through his interest in and knowledge of Hounslow sword manufacturing in the 17th century. His research resulted a record of surviving Hounslow swords around the world, comprising more than a hundred weapons. And he made his own collection of these magnificent swords which he generously presented to Gunnersbury Park Museum. (They are shown from time to time in special exhibitions). The quality of John’s research is confirmed by the fact he wrote the account of one of the most significant Hounslow sword makers, Benjamin Stone, for the revised edition of The Dictionary of National Biography.

Obituary from Brentford & Chiswick Local History Journal 12, 2003

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