Obituary---MR. J. H. ISMAY

The Times

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We regret to announce that Mr. James Hainsworth Ismay died at Iwerne Minster House, Blandford, Dorset, yesterday. He belonged to the well-known family of shipowners, and was himself formerly a partner in the family firm of Ismay, Imrie, and Co. But he was perhaps better known, especially in later years, as an agriculturalist and stockbreeder, and in him the farming industry has lost a warm and valuable friend.

James Hainsworth Ismay was born on March 4, 1867. His grandfather, Joseph Ismay, was a builder of small boats at Maryport, Cumberland, and his father, Thomas Henry Ismay, joining a firm of Liverpool shipowners, ultimately founded the White Star Line. James was educated at Elstree, Harrow, and Exeter College, Oxford, and in due course entered his father's firm, to become a partner. His health later broke down, and to recover it he went on a long sea voyage round the Empire. It was then that his great interest in farming was first aroused, and when, while still in his thirties, in 1902, he retired from business he determined to take up agriculture. He acquired the Iwerne Minister [sic] Estate near Blandford, Dorset, and without loss of time he set himself to develop the farming side of the property. The history of his farming enterprise, exceeding 20 years, is remarkable. It would be difficult to describe minutely or adequately either the quantity or quality of the work he carried out on his home farm. But from the first it was of a kind planned and conducted primarily with a view to investigating and testing the industrial and economic merits of the different systems applicable to the district.

He did not restrict his scheme to the local custom and known attainments, for he broadened the scope of his experiments enough to ensure that all reasonable procedures might be subjected to practical proof. At first, as has been said, things were planned on a comprehensive scale and as experience directed. The procedure was contracted until a really workable scheme was established on solid and enduring lines.

Work of any kind on a farm, but especially that of the type of Iwerne Minster, proceeds slowly, and, although the system that was moulded out of the extensive trials had assumed definite shape, it was still only in its early stages at the death of the owner. While the methods of arable farming adopted were extremely intelligent and enlightened, the outstanding features at Iwerne Minster were the herd of dairy Shorthorn cattle, the herd of Berkshire and Middle White pigs, the bacon factory, and latterly the poultry farm. For many years Mr. Ismay owned one of the most successful flocks of Hampshire Down sheep, but it was dispersed some years ago to allow of greater development of the herds of cattle and pigs. He had already achieved great success with his Shorthorn cattle, but in this case also both in breeding and management the evolutionary stage had not long been passed, so that the full fruition of the preliminary work was not yet experienced, although strains and individuals of high merit abound in the herd. The herds of pigs had long occupied places of distinction in their respective spheres, and the system of crossing breeds---large white boars being used chiefly---in producing pigs for the bacon factory also was the outcome of careful observation and practical experience.

The Iwerne Minster farming enterprises were exceptionally noteworthy in that they marked the diversion of a mind and energy that had undergone a thorough business training to the affairs of the land.

There was no adherence to convention in the scheme, and yet in the directing light of practical experience the alert mind and strong will of the astute business man had to bend by degrees to the dominating influences of environment. Mr. Ismay's connexion with the farming industry will be remembered with deep appreciation of the important services rendered in an unostentatious manner, for his aim was ever to point the way for his neighbors and farmers in general. He was actively associated with many movements for the improvement of livestock and dairying, and was a former President of the Dairy Shorthorn Association. He disliked publicity, however, and on this account his strength and the value of his work for the farming industry greatly exceeded what is generally known.

The interest Mr. Ismay manifested in the village of Iwerne equalled that devoted to his own mansion, grounds, and farm. No village was ever more fortunate in its owner. Not only was every building repaired or replaced as occasion suggested, but houses were added if required, and the community was provided with buildings for its social well-being in a manner rarely seen elsewhere. The village hall especially is enduring evidence of his generous, even indulgent, consideration for dwellers on the estate, all of whom will deeply deplore his death. Mr. Ismay served as High Sheriff of Dorset in 1912. In 1914 he took a commission in the Hampshire Carabiniers Yeomanry, and in 1916 transferred to the Dorset Yeomanry.

Mr. Ismay was twice married. His first wife, Lady Margaret Alice Seymour, eldest daughter of the 6th Marquess of Hertford, died in 1901. His second wife, by whom he is survived, is the daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonald Moreton, late Coldstream Guards. He leaves also five daughters. Mr. Joseph Bruce Ismay is his elder brother. Another brother, Mr. C. B. Ismay, died in 1924.

The funeral will be on Monday at Iwerne Minster Church at 2.15.

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) Obituary---MR. J. H. ISMAY (The Times, Saturday 25th January 1930, ref: #3739, published 14 September 2004, generated 3rd August 2021 04:02:43 PM); URL :