Changes of Name

Montagu Lomax was born in June 1860 as Montagu Smith, the eighth child of The Reverend Thomas  and Harriet Smith. He married Ethel Pickering In April 1888 as Montagu Smith.

On 11th December 1888, a notice appeared in The Times stating that he had changed his name from Smith to Lomax-Smith.

name change times

This is pure speculation, but a newly married, young couple may have decided that Smith was too common, and it would be much more interesting to have a distinguished, hyphenated name. Perhaps Montagu was acutely aware that for a young doctor to succeed, he needed to stand out, and hence the need for a distinguished sounding name. The other possibility is that Ethel was already pregnant with their first child, and he wanted to establish his new family with a more distinctive name. I suspect that he chose Lomax in honour of his maternal great grandmother, Mary Lomas.

Montagu kept his new name until his return from New Zealand in the autumn of 1896, when he announced in the press that he was henceforth to be known a Montagu Lomax, dropping the Smith altogether. I found this announcement in the New Zealand Papers Past on 23rd January 1897.

lomax-smith to Lomax

Again, I can only speculate on why he would wish to change his name again, but it may be that he wanted a new start after his return home, and a new name was part of that ethos. Perhaps Lomax-Smith was too cumbersome. I don’t think he was trying to escape his past since his entry in the Malvern Register clearly showed that he wanted to acknowledge his previous name.



His entry in the Cheltenham Masonic Lodge records ‘now known as Lomax’.  He was also a bit of a poet and had verses printed in 1900 in the Leamington Newspaper which he then forwarded to the New Zealand Star. The Star published them with the comment ‘ Dr Lomax will be remembered in Christchurch where he practiced a few years ago as Dr Lomax-Smith’

At any rate, Montagu Smith/Lomax-Smith was known as Montagu Lomax for the rest of his life.

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