Josiah George Poole was born in 1818 to parents William and Mary who were then living in Bugle Street. The details of his education and training are unclear but by 1849 he was advertising himself as architect and surveyor. In 1848 he was appointed surveyor to the Improvement Commissioners, a body set up in 1844 to effect improvements to the streets, sanitation and lighting of the town. In 1850 he gave evidence to the public inquiry by William Ranger into the health of the town. Poole became the first surveyor of the Local Board of Health later that year, and in 1856 he was appointed borough surveyor. He operated from a number of business premises over the years, but from 1851 he leased the central portion of Old Palace House, now Tudor House (he seems to have moved out by 1858 but to have returned by 1880 and remained in residence until 1891). As borough surveyor he was responsible for restoration work on the Bargate and the Grammar School in Bugle Street.

In 1865 he designed the fountain donated to the town by John Ransom, originally sited on Asylum Green which now stands a little way to the north. In 1866, after leaving the borough council, he took up an engineering post with Shirley Local Board of Health and designed and built its first drainage and sewerage scheme. In 1871, now operating from offices in Portland Street, he became surveyor to Southampton Harbour Board. In 1878 he helped draw up plans for the new Masonic Hall in Albion Place. He died in 1897 and is buried in the Old Cemetery.

Census information shows him in 1861 at 6 Albion Place, with his wife Louisa (26), seven children and one servant. The eldest two or three children must be his children by another wife, as they are too old to be Louisa's. In 1871 he is living at 21 Portland Street, with Louisa and 10 children, from Eliza (20) to Ella (8 months). In 1881 he is living at 9 St Michael Square with Louisa (46), daughters Louisa (20), Emmeline (18) and Ada (14), and sons Frederick (15) and Edward (4). A reader of Sotonopedia from Ohio in the United States has been in touch to tell us that Josiah and Louisa's son Edward emigrated to the US and was her ancestor.

There is an account by Poole's granddaughter, Florence Cropton (née Halladay) of Christmas parties held by the Poole family at Tudor House (see clipping below). Christmas dinner was served in the room sometimes known as the Banqueting Hall, after which there was music (there being a piano in the room) and dancing.

Poole's son, Edward Cooper Poole, was also the architect, surveyor and engineer to Southampton Harbour Board, formally from his father's death in 1897 (with the Board noting that in fact he was informally doing the work already) until his own death in 1935.

Josiah George Poole

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From undated newspaper article (see clippings)

Josiah George Poole

Image Unavailable

From a photograph of 1867 in Southampton Local History Forum Journal (see below) where it appeared with courtesy of John Cooper-Poole.

Newspaper clippings:

Article about Poole family Christmases at Tudor House - (no source, no date - sometime after 1912)

Further reading:
‘Josiah George Poole; Architect and Surveyor Serving Southampton’, by A. G. K. Leonard, in Southampton Local History Forum Journal, no. 13, Spring 2008, p 13-27. (HS/h)


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