Charles Roach Smith

(1807—1890) antiquary

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(1807–90) [Bi]

British antiquary and recognized expert on the early history of London. Born and brought up on the Isle of Wight, Smith attended a number of local schools before being placed in the office of a solicitor at Newport. Soon tiring of this work, he became an apprentice to a chemist in Chichester, but after six years moved to the firm of Wilson Ashmore and Co. at Snow Hill in London. Later he set up on his own account at the corner of Founder's Court, Lothbury. From an early age he was interested in collecting Roman and prehistoric antiquities, and while living in London he spent twenty years watching and collecting from building sites and the dredging of the Thames. By the mid 1850s his collection was very sizable and recognized as being of great importance. After some negotiation he sold it to the British Museum for £2000; here it formed the basis of the British Museum's national collection of Romano-British antiquities. Smith belonged to many learned societies and was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries on 22 December 1836. He contributed many articles and papers to journals and magazines, and in conjunction with Thomas Wright founded the British Archaeological Association in 1843. In 1856 he published the records of Anglo-Saxon burials excavated in Kent by Bryan Faussett between 1757 and 1773 under the title Inventorium sepulchrale.

From The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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