I was privileged to attend the Colonel Herbert Hughes Centenary Dinner at Cutlers Hall on Thursday the 27th of April. Herbert Hughes was the president of the Sheffield and District Law Society in 1904, he was also so many other things. He was by profession a commercial lawyer specialising in trademarks and patents, enjoying a national and international reputation. He was a member of the Hallamshire Rifles and was made a companion of the most honourable Order of the Bath in recognition of his distinguished service. He became clerk to the company of Cutlers and Hallamshire in 1902 and was instrumental in providing worldwide protection for the ‘Sheffield’ brand. He was elected to represent the Ecclesall Ward on the City Council, was elected mayor in 1905 and became an alderman in 1907. He had a particular interest in education throughout his time on the council. Following the foundation of the University of Sheffield he became a member of its Court and later was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1912. Having travelled extensively during his commercial, political and army careers he was particularly interested in international learning.
At the time of his death the newly created University of Sheffield had established honour courses in French and German and were looking to establish courses in Spanish.
Following his death in 1917 the Cutlers company established a memorial fund to promote and provide support for Hispanic studies in Sheffield. The funds subsequently established the Hughes Chair of Hispanic Studies at the University of Sheffield and provided bursaries, scholarships and prizes to students today at both the Sheffield Universities. The present Trustees continue to run the Memorial Fund with this aim and a number of students have benefitted over the years.
It was indeed a great privilege to attend the memorial dinner for a man described at the time of his death in national newspapers as ‘Sheffield’s Greatest Man’. It is good to see that his vision is being continued through both our Universities supported by various institutions including the fund established in his honour.
-Charles Neal, Sheffield Law Society President.