During his lifetime Everard Hesketh was seen as one of the greatest benefactors of Dartford and numerous examples of his good deeds remain with us today – including Hesketh Park, which he donated to the town in 1904 for the purpose of sport and recreation.
Hesketh was born in Wimpole Street, London, in 1854. He was educated at Marlborough College and Kings College London where he won a scholarship to serve a three-year apprenticeship at the engineering works of Easton and Anderson, in Erith, Kent.
At the age of 24, he took up the position of draughtsman at J&E Hall, an engineering company in Dartford. Shortly after, one of the two owners of the company, which had been in serious decline, sold his shares to the young Hesketh. A year later the other owner followed suit and Hesketh found himself in the position of owner and manager of the company.
Hesketh diversified the company, inventing modern refrigeration techniques in the process, and set the firm on the road to recovery. By 1955, 60% of the world’s refrigerated cargo ships would be fitted by Hall’s of Dartford.
In 1884 Hesketh started his political career when he was elected to the Dartford Local Board. He remained on the Board and its successor body, Dartford Urban District Council, until 1913. In 1889 he was elected as Dartford’s first representative on the Kent County Council and served for 12 years, only retiring due to failing hearing.
In 1933, at the age of 79, Hesketh retired from the board of J&E Hall as Senior Director. He moved to South Africa in 1940 and died there in 1942 aged 88.