03/08/07 Henry Lunn: Missionary, minister and founder of famous travel firm

THE HISTORY of Lunn Poly travel agents in the United Kingdom, now known as Thomson, began right here in Horncastle in the late 19th century with what began as a small family business in the town.

Sir Henry Lunn Travel, established here during the 1890's, was acquired in the 1950's by the British Eagle Group, and combined into Lunn Poly in 1962.

Company founder, Sir Henry Simpson Lunn (July 30 1859-March 18 1939) was born and raised in Horncastle.

He attended Horncastle Grammar School before going to Headingley College in Leeds to become a church minister, establishing himself as an English humanitarian and religious leader after he was ordained in 1886.

He was a strong character who spoke out in opposition of the Boer war and conflicted with fellow ministers over the terrible conditions for Methodist missionaries he encountered whilst in India.

After falling ill on a missionary in India, he was forced to return to Horncastle where his business travel ventures took off.

The Co-operative Educational Tours was created by Lunn in 1893 to enable British visitors to combine religious retreats with winter sports and leisure.

This resulted in many Anglican churches establishing themselves at fashionable winter resorts in places like Wengen, Switzerland.

He founded other travellers clubs such as the Public Schools Alpine Sports Club in 1905 and the Hellenic Travellers Club in 1906.

Lunn was also involved in liberal politics and became a Knight Bachelor in 1910.

His marriage to Mary Ethel Moore, produced a daughter and three sons, two of whom became famous in their own right.

Sir Arnold Lunn (1888-1974) was a famous skier and mountaineer and Hugh Kingsmill Lunn was an established British writer and Journalist.

The building where the Lunn family business was situated over a century ago is still standing and even has the original sign on the wall (pictured).