Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Arthur Henry Kinchin (1884–1963)

Mayor of Oxford 1960/1

Arthur Henry Kinchin was born at Alvescot in Oxfordshire on 13 January 1884, but grew up in Clanfield.

His parents were Henry Kinchin (a cowman who was born in Clanfield in 1856) and Caroline Jones (born in Filkins in the same year), who were married in the Witney district near the end of 1876.

The 1891 census shows Arthur (7) living in Bampton Road, Clanfield with his parents and five siblings: William (13), who was already working as a ploughboy, Blanche (11), Emily (9), Thomas (5), and Beatrice (2).

Arthur left the village school at the age of 12 to become a farm worker himself. By the time of the 1901 census, however, when he was 17, he had become a coal merchant’s carrier. His older brother Thomas who was now 15 was a teamster on a farm, and he had three new younger siblings: Alfred (9), Florence (6), and Marion (1). The family still lived at Clanfield (near the Plough Inn), and Arthur’s father was now a carpenter on a farm.

According to his obituary, Arthur Henry Kinchin worked as a miner in Wales between 1908 and 1914. But the Clanfield parish register describes him as a blacksmith when on 30 July 1910, at the age of 26, he married Maude Maria Little, aged 20, the daughter of the coal-trimmer Charles Frederick Little, at Clanfield Church. They had three children:

  • Marjorie Frances Amelia Kinchin (born at Clanfield three months after the wedding on 2 November 1910, and baptised at Clanfield Church on 4 December 1910)
  • Harold Arthur John Kinchin (born at Clanfield 23 December 1912 and baptised there on 2 March 1913)
  • Constance Megan Maud Kinchin (born in Witney on 24 December 1917 and baptised at St Mary's Church there on 17 March 1918).

The 1911 census shows Arthur Kinchin (27), his wife Maude (21) and their eldest child Marjorie (five months) living in Clanfield with Maude’s 85-year-old grandmother, Amelia Comley, again contradicting Kinchin’s obituary, which states that he returned to Oxfordshire in 1914 to become a railwayman at Witney. In that census he was described as a blacksmith at an agricultural instrument maker’s.

By 1919, Arthur Kinchin was living at 1 Church Street, New Hinksey (now Vicarage Road, Oxford), where he remained until 1952.

His mother Caroline Kinchin was buried at Clanfield in 1926, and his father Henry Kinchin in 1932.

His two daughters were married in the 1930s:

  • Near the beginning of 1935 in Oxford, Marjorie Frances Amelia Kinchin married Harry D. Craigmile.
  • In 1939 in Oxford, Constance Megan Maud Kinchin married Ronald C. Level.

The 1939 register shows Arthur Kinchin described as a railway shunter and living at 1 Church Street, New Hinksey (Vicarage Road) with his wife Maud and their newly-married daughter Constance Level, and two lodgers.

In 1946 Kinchin was elected Labour representative for the South Ward, He lost his seat in 1950, but won it back in 1952. He was elected Sheriff of Oxford for 1955/6, and met Khrushchev and Marshal Bulganin on their visit to the city.

His son was married in 1951:

  • in 1951 in the Abingdon registration district Harold Arthur John Kinchin married Edith M. Aspell.

From 1954 to at least 1958 Arthur Kinchin lived at 11 Kineton Road, Oxford.

In 1958 Arthur Henry Kinchin was elected an Alderman, and in 1960, at the age of 76, Mayor of Oxford (for 1960/1). His golden wedding fell at the beginning of his mayoralty, and the city flag was flown on the Town Hall and the bells of Carfax Tower were rung.

For the last few years of his life both Kinchin and his wife lived at the home of his daughter Mrs Constance Level at 24 Ashlong Road, Marston.

† Arthur Henry Kinchin died at 24 Ashlong Road in Marston on 26 May 1963. His funeral was at Oxford Crematorium.

His effects came to £1,804 2s. 5d., and his executors were his son Harold Arthur John Kinchin (a car body inspector) and his daughter Mrs Constance Megan Maud Level.

See also:

  • Oxford Times, 31 May 1963, p. 10 (obituary)
  • 1891 Census: Oxford (Clanfield), 1175/95
  • 1901 Census: Oxford (Clanfield), 1394/89

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 5 December, 2018

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