Edward Toomer was born in Newbury, Berkshire in c.1765. By the 1790s he was in Southampton, initially running an ironmongers business at 130 High Street, but later (in the 1820s) moving into banking and property development in partnership with his architect son, Samuel Edward Toomer (1801-42).

In 1824 they bought two plots of land in Bedford Place, on which they built a series of fine buildings, some of which are still standing. The two yellow-brick houses fronting Bedford Place, namely Bedford Cottage and Wilton Cottage, later Wilton Lodge (image 2), were probably designed by the young Samuel Toomer, as was the adjoining Carlton Lodge (image 3), added later to form a corner composition that is still admired today. Samuel lived at Bedford Cottage in the 1830s and 1840s.

Samuel Toomer was also responsible for some of the Regency-style buildings in Carlton Crescent and Rockstone Place, although it is not clear which ones or exactly how many. Other buildings by Samuel Toomer include the Director-General’s House (image 1) in Rockstone Place (1840), the Ordnance Survey offices in London Road (1841) and Portland Baptist Chapel in Portland Terrace (1840). The Parsonage House at Colden Common, near Twyford (1841) is also by Toomer. He died prematurely in 1842, his father Edward surviving him by a decade.

Edward Toomer continued in the ironmonger trade on the High Street into the 1840s. The 1851 census has the 86 year old living at 68 Marlands Place with his two daughters, Hannah and Rebecca. He died in 1852.

1. Director General's House, Rockstone Place.

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Built by Samuel Toomer in 1840.

2. Wilton Cottage and Bedford Cottage, Bedford Place

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photograph, 1941

3. Carlton Lodge

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Photograph, c.2005

Further reading:

‘Carlton Crescent: Southampton’s most spectacular Regency development’, by A. G. K. Leonard, in Southampton Local History Forum Journal, no. 17, Autumn 2010 2007, p33-44.(HS/h)
Southampton’s Historic Buildings, by R. J. Coles, p41. (HS/k)
More Stories of Southampton Streets, by A. G. K. Leonard, 19, 22. (HS/h)


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