Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Harold Sydney Rogers (1877–1953)

Mayor of Oxford 1937/8

Harold Rogers

Harold Sydney Rogers was born in Richmond, Surrey on 25 September 1877.

He was the only child of Sydney James Rogers (born in Lambeth in 1849) and Florence Mary Roberts (born in Clapham on 23 October 1853), who were married at St Stephen's Church, Wandsworth on 12 September 1876.

The 1881 census shows Harold (3) living at 69 Church Road, Richmond with his father, Sydney James Rogers (32), who was a surveyor, and his mother Florence Mary Rogers (27). The family had three servants: a cook, housemaid, and nurse.

Harold's father Sydney James Rogers died at Westwood Cottage, Church Road, Richmond on 3 March 1882 at the age of 32. His effects came to £3,155 12s. 10d., and his widow was the sole executor.

At the time of the 1891 census Harold (13) was living at the same house with his widowed mother Florence (37) and two servants.

Harold Rogers was sent to board at St Edward’s School in Oxford and then went on to Oriel College, Oxford.

On 31 August 1909 at Prestbury Church near Cheltenham, Harold Sydney Rogers (31), an architect of 14 Iddlesleigh Mansions, Westminster, married Etheldreda Urling Smith (27), the younger daughter of the Revd Henry Urling Smith of the Vicarage, Prestbury, who had formerly been the Curate of St Michael & All Angels Church in Summertown. They do not appear to have had any children.

The 1911 census shows Harold Rogers (33), described as an architect, living at 42 Iddesleigh Mansions, Westminster, with his wife Etheldreda (29) and one servant.

In 1912 Rogers returned to Oxford and set up in private practice as an architect. In 1914 his home address was Christ Church House, Iffley Road, and his office was at 119 St Aldate's Street.

Rogers was conscripted on 1 November 1916 and served in the R.A.F. in the First World War, first as a Lieutenant and then as a Captain (General Staff Officer 3).

Rogers became a prominent Oxford architect who was mainly involved in ecclesiastical work. He is best known for St Luke’s Church in Cowley, for new buildings at St Edward’s School, Somerville College, and St Edmund Hall, and for the reconditioned almshouse at Bartlemas. He was elected a Fellow of ARIBA in 1924, and was President of the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, & Oxfordshire Architectural Association in 1925.

Rogers was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquaries, and had an interest in old prints, stamps, the history of the later Stuarts, and Savoy opera. He was a devout churchman, being a member of the Oxford Diocesan Conference and a sidesman and member of the Parochial Church Council of St Michael & All Angels Church.

By 1930 his home was at 269 Banbury Road, but his office was still at 119 St Aldate's Street.

Rogers came on to the City Council in 1930 as a Conservative. He was made an Alderman, and elected Sheriff of Oxford for 1935/6.

His wife Etheldreda Urling Rogers died in Oxford at the age of 54 in 1936 and was buried in Wolvercote Cemetery.

The following year Harold Sydney Rogers was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1937/8).

Harold Rogers
Above: Lord Nuffield, James Richard Benson (Sheriff), Harold Sydney Rogers (Mayor),
President of Motors Institute, W. Thomas (Director), and Lord Kenilworth (Wolsey Co.)

The 1939 Register shows Harold Rogers, described as an architect, living at 269 Banbury Road with Constance A. Rogers (born on 22 June 1854 and possibly his aunt) and Evelyn A. Chater (born on 4 March 1871) They had two servants.

By 1936 Harold Rogers' architect's office was at 88 St Aldate's Street.

In 1948 Harold Rogers resigned after 22 years on the council without a break.

† Harold Sydney Rogers died at his home at 269 Banbury Road the age of 75 on 25 February 1953. His funeral was held at St Michael & All Angels Church in Summertown, and he was buried in his wife's grave at Wolvercote Cemetery on 28 February ( H3/27). His effects came to £25,360 10s. 10d., and his executor was Miss Josephine Urling Smith.

In 1956 Church Street in Summertown was renamed Rogers Street in his memory.

See also:

  • Oxford Times, 27 February 1953, p. 14 (report on Rogers’ death)
  • Oxford Times, 6 March 1953, p. 8 (report on Rogers’ funeral)
  • 1881 Census: Surrey (Richmond), 844/149

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 31 January, 2021

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