Henry Ling Roth


Henry Ling Roth was a well-known anthropologist and local historian.

He was born on 3rd February 1855.

Son of Anna Maria and Dr Mathias Roth, a Hungarian doctor practising in Harley Street, London.

He was educated at University College School, London. He studied natural science and philosophy in Germany.

He travelled widely and developed a passionate amateur interest in ethnological studies and especially the art of tattooing as it was practised throughout the world.

He was a timber merchant in Russia [1876-77].

In 1878, he published Notes on the Agriculture and Peasantry of Eastern Prussia.

He spent several years in Queensland, Australia [1878-84], and reported widely on the sugar industry there for English investors.

He was Honorary secretary of Mackay Planters' Association [1881-1884].

In 1882, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Society.

He wrote a number of anthropological works, including:

He came to Halifax on business in 1888, working for various firms in the town.

He was part-time curator at Bankfield Museum [1890] / an accountant [1901] / an accountant for a sanitary engineering company [1911] / company secretary for the Automatic Standard Screw Company / full-time honorary curator at Bankfield Museum [1912].

He produced a number of handbooks for Bankfield Museum.

He wrote many papers and books on local history, including

In 1893, he married Nancy Harriette Haigh [1861-19??] of Roubaix and Lightcliffe.


  1. Alfred Bernard [b 1899]
  2. George Kingsley [b 1903] who married [1937]  Jane Frances Violet Coats of Paisley

The family lived at

He had to retire through ill health and left the museum in March 1925. He was succeeded by George Reginald Carline.

He died 12th May 1925 in a Leeds nursing home.

The Henry Ling Roth Anthropological Scholarship was established in 19??, and the Henry Ling Roth Research Fund in 19??

At James Cook University, Queensland, the Roth Prize was founded in recognition of the contributions of Henry Ling Roth and Dr Walter Edmund Roth to material anthropology and museum studies.

His collection of books is held at Manchester University

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 15:13 / 15th May 2021 / 6302

Page Ref: MMR131

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