Wolverhampton BTW

Susette Harriet Lloyd

Lloyd, Susette Harriet, later Smith, c.1810—1885

by Benjamin Colbert

Susette Harriet Lloyd was likely to have been born in Hanover, Germany, the eldest daughter of the London-born Hannibal Evans Lloyd (1770-1847; ODNB), philologist, travel writer, and translator, and Lucy Anna Margaretta Lloyd, née Von Schwartzkopff (1782/3-1855). Her parents had met and married in Hamburg, where her father had lived from 1800 to 1813 (from 1806 under French occupation).

In later life, Susette Lloyd remembered a childhood in England as playmate to her sister, the future missionary and philanthropist Elizabeth Maria Lloyd, later Thompson (1812/13-69; ODNB). In her memory, their girlhood was characterized by early Christian devotion and a keen interest in the East arising from tales about their cousin, the former British consul to Egypt, Henry Salt (1780-1827; ODNB), and from visits to the British Museum to see the Rosetta Stone and its hieroglyphs. The sisters also met ‘travellers of note’ through their father’s wide acquaintance (Daughters 5-6). It is likely that Susette Harriet Lloyd was the ‘S.H.L.’ who translated Wolfradine-Auguste-Luise von Minutoli’s Recollections of Egypt (1827) from the French.

With her sister Elizabeth (and eventually with the other sisters, Augusta Lloyd, later Mott, and Sophia Lloyd), Susette Harriet Lloyd was drawn to Christian missionary work among the urban poor and in the colonial world. She appears to have been involved in the early organization of the Ladies’ Society for Promoting the Early Education and Improvement of the Children of Negroes and People of Colour in the British West Indies, established in 1825 to help fund existing schools, but soon encompassing their propagation as well. She appears in 1838 as the Ladies’ Society secretary, alongside her sister Augusta, although she may well have held the post from an earlier date (Thirteenth Annual Report [4]).

It was under the Society’s auspices that she accepted the invitation of the Archbishop of Bermuda, Aubrey George Spencer (1795-1873; ODNB) and his Bermudan wife, Eliza Spencer, née Musson, to accompany them on a voyage to Bermuda in June 1829. In her account of the eighteen-month residence there, Sketches of Bermuda (1835), Lloyd’s preoccupation with this cause is never far from the surface as she considers the most effective means of ‘civilizing’ the local population through Christian instruction. Another presence in the volume is Thomas Moore’s Epistles, Odes, and Other Poems (1806), whose Bermuda poems she considers ‘strictly true to nature’ (255). She sailed for England in April 1831.

In 1836, a year after the publication of her book, she married the widower Henry William Smith (c.1787-1872), longstanding treasurer of the charity residence, Morden College, and she resided with him thenceforth at Blackheath (after their deaths, both her parents and her sister Elizabeth were buried in the Morden College cemetery at Blackheath). She continued her work for the Ladies’ Society and reflected more widely on the special agency of women in promoting Christian values in her second book, The Female Disciple of the First Three Centuries of the Christian Era: Her Trials and Her Mission, published with Longman in 1845. She became friends with Ellen Henrietta Ranyard, née White (1810-79; ODNB), whose book The Missing Link; or, Bible-Women in the Homes of the London Poor (1859) argued for the usefulness of working-class women in carrying out the philanthropic schemes funded by the upper classes (see Smith, Letter).

When her now widowed sister, Elizabeth Bowen Thompson, departed for Syria in October 1860, Susette Smith joined with her friends in establishing the Society for the Social and Religious Improvement of Syrian Females, and became its secretary (along with another sister, Augusta Mott). While in England on business, Elizabeth Bowen Thompson died at Susette Smith’s house in Blackheath, where she had been staying, and was buried at Morden College cemetery with her parents. Susette Smith continued her work with the Syrian cause (now morphed into the Ladies' Association for the Social and Religious Improvement of the Syrian Females) and finally visited Syria herself between October and December 1874 (‘Extracts’). By 1877, a year after the society became the British Syrian Schools and Bible Mission, Susette Smith and her sister Augusta Mott were given a central role in the management of the organization, including ‘the right to hire and dismiss staff and manage the running of the schools and other institutions’ (‘Legal Document’). She died in Beirut, then Syria, on 25 January 1885 ('Deaths').


The Daughters of Syria. A Narrative of Efforts, by the Late Mrs. Bowen Thompson for the Evangelization of the Syrian Females. Ed. Rev. H. B. Tristram. 2nd edn. London: Seeley, Jackson, & Halliday, 1872. Print.

'Deaths'. The Homeward Mail. Tues., 17 Feb. 1885: 165. British Newspaper Archive. Web. 5 Sept. 2023.

‘Extracts from Mrs. Henry Smith’s Letters’. In J. J. Reynolds. The Children’s Jewish Advocate. N. p.: n. pub., 1875. 172-76. Print.

Goodwin, Gordon, and John D. Haigh. 'Lloyd, Hannibal Evans (1770–1847), philologist and translator'. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 22 Sept. 2011. Oxford University Press. Web. 21 Jan. 2018. https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/16835

‘Legal document entitled “British Syrian Schools Duplicate Declaration of Trust of property in Syria and elsewhere belonging to the Association”’. [Catalogue description.] Archive at St. Anthony College, Oxford. Web. 21 Jan. 2018.

Shehadi, Nadim. 'Thompson, Elizabeth Maria Bowen [née Elizabeth Maria Lloyd] (1812/13–1869), missionary in Syria'. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 6 Jan. 2011. Oxford University Press. Web. 21 Jan. 2018. https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/58700

Sketches of Bermuda. By Susette Harriet Lloyd. With Map and Plates. London: James Cochrane and Co., 11, Waterloo-Place. MDCCCXXXV [1835]. Print.

Smith, Susette Harriet. Letter, 4 Sept. 1871. Add MS. 45802. British Lib., London.

The Thirteenth Annual Report of the Ladies’ Society for Promoting the Early Education and Improvement of the Children of Negroes and People of Colour in the British West Indies. London: Hatchard and Son, 1838. Print.


Title Published
Sketches of Bermuda 1835
Recollections of Egypt 1827 Translator

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