He was the son of a PM itinerant, Samuel Smethurst (1781-1863; e.m.1821) who left the itinerary for financial reasons and sought work in Grimsby. Henry built up a thriving business in the fishing industry. After his conversion, he began to preach and as a staunch temperance advocate was instrumental in building the Grimsby Temperance Hall. He also gave sites for two large chapels. He became a member of the town Council and an Alderman and was twice Mayor. He served as a JP and as Chairman of the School Board. His success was based on hard work and inflexible integrity, but misfortune befell him in later years. He went blind, but remained generous to the town and to Methodism. A marble monument in his memory was placed in the People's Park in 1894.