Meet the man whose good work changed Southampton for the better


LONDONER James Lemon got here to Southampton in 1866 and his work within the city modified the lifetime of Sotonians eternally.

James was born in London in 1833 the place he skilled as a civil engineer and later labored in that discipline.

It was round 1866 that James got here to Southampton the place he took up the publish of borough Surveyor. The modifications James Lemon made within the city are to not be underestimated and might nonetheless be felt to this very day.

The city’s sewage works at the moment have been woefully insufficient. Cholera continued to kill residents because the water provide needed to cope with an rising inhabitants and the unfold of the illness claimed so many Sotonian lives. This had been preventable and because of the work of James Lemon issues started to vary.

Southampton had been a sufferer of its personal success. Behind the stunning Excessive Avenue and its splendid buildings lay areas of abject poverty the place people lived in depressing over crowed circumstances with out primary amenities akin to clear operating water and sewage disposal.

The business success of each the railway and docks attracted staff from all around the British Isles. Most of the staff have been the poorer working class, unskilled however prepared to do a day’s work.

Daily Echo:

The previous library

The counties farm labours have been required much less as equipment automated the roles of farm staff. Lots of these affected moved to Southampton with their households for the prospect of a greater life, the affluent business port of Southampton with its shining tall buildings and open areas being fairly the attraction

There was employment for among the unskilled labourers not practically sufficient to cater for all people who got here. With little or no revenue they have been resigned to a life in Southampton’s slums, many dying of hunger and illness the place they’d gathered.

It was James Lemon that frequently fought the Company, forerunners of the Council, for the funding of his nice engineering tasks within the city. They included buying land in St Denys for the disposal of sewage together with the set up of miles of sewage pipes.

He instigated new water mains to exchange the cumbersome wells within the city.

Different tasks James undertook have been the resurfacing of Excessive Avenue and the widening of the slender East Avenue.

James was a person of imaginative and prescient, getting issues achieved typically within the face of adversity. He helped enhance the lives of Southampton residents previous and current, and with out him there would undoubtedly have been extra outbreaks of the dreaded cholera and a higher lack of life.

James had been concerned in lots of occasions within the previous city together with the opening of Southampton’s first purpose-built Library on the nook of London Highway and Cumberland Place which opened in 1893.

Daily Echo:

In 1901 Sir James Lemon had three volumes of his recollections printed by Henry March Gilbert & Son who was then primarily based at 24 the Excessive Avenue, the work was entitled Reminiscences of Public Life in Southampton.

The next is an extract from quantity three of these reminiscences which covers the Public Library in London Highway:

“There was quite a lot of opposition to the proposed buy of land upon the New Place Home property, the representatives of St. Mary wishing to maintain the Free Library of their Ward, however it was in the end determined to erect the constructing on the New Place Home Property.

“Designs have been marketed for, and the plans of Mr. Man have been accepted, and he was appointed architect, however when the tenders got here in they have been in extra of the quantity supplied, and the plans have been referred again to the architect for revision, that having been achieved recent tenders have been acquired.

“The inspiration stone was laid on my own on August 31st, 1892.”

James had turn out to be Mayor of Southampton in 1891 and 1892, so was recounting his recollections when laying the muse stone to the Free Library.

James continued to serve the city and in recognition for his work was knighted in 1909.

Sir James Lemon handed in 1923 and was buried in Southampton’s Outdated Cemetery.

He’s remembered within the naming of Lemon Highway, Shirley.

By William Burns, founding father of Southampton Sotonian & Associates Fb group.





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