Wareham was born in the small village of Oystermouth near The Mumbles in South Wales on 21st January 1845 and was christened a month later at St Mary's Church in Swansea. His father was George Harry and his mother was Jane Joanna D'Arcy, who I briefly mentioned in a previous blog (W11) as being one of a long line of D'Arcys who can be traced back to William the Conqueror, and possibly before. Wareham was the fifth of their ten children.
At the age of 6 he was living with his parents and siblings at 8 Nelson Street in Swansea. As his father was Deputy Town Clerk in Swansea, it is hardly surprising that aged 16, young Wareham was working as a "Town Surveyor Pupil" on the 1861 census. In his early years, he was an assistant with Robert Rawlinson, a well known civil engineer and, as we know Wareham worked in Huddersfield for a time, he may well have worked with him after the government agreed to spend £0.5m on public works to provide local employment to improve the water supply and drainage, as well as forming streets in those places which had suffered from the collapse of the cotton making industry.
In 1875 he married Margaret Jane Wareham, a daughter of William Wareham who drowned in a pleasure boat disaster in Ilfracombe Bay in 1887 (week 51). They had two children :
- Norman George Harry 1878
- Frances Jane Harry 1879
Wareham was Town Surveyor for Harrogate for 14 years between 1874 and 1888. He and his family lived at 8 York Terrace, West End Park in Harrogate certainly between 1879 and 1884. During his term of office he superintended the erection of public buildings, the conservation of the mineral waters, the sewage distribution scheme, the laying out of Bogs Valley Pleasure Grounds, the flagging and asphalting of the whole of the footpaths, and other important works, which have added greatly to the success of the town as a health resort.
I was particularly interested in the unusual and rather quirky named "Bogs Valley Pleasure Grounds" and decided to find out a bit more. Although Harrogate had been well known for mineral springs for many years, there was an area known as Bogs Field which contained 36 of these different mineral springs. A local man suggested that the land could be bought and landscaped with ornamental planting and the council took up the idea, announcing a competition with a winning prize of £15. Although a winner was announced the Council decided not to adopt any of the schemes but instructed the Borough Engineer, Wareham Harry, to draw up proposals incorporating the best elements of all the designs, which he did.
The end result was a path up the valley to Bogs Field alongside the stream ornamented with pools, islands, spray fountains and cascades, rustic bridges and planting. To the rear was a glasshouse, lawns, tree and shrub planting with a network of paths allowing perambulation along and across the slopes. Near the entrance was a large bedding display. Existing trees appear to have been incorporated in the scheme and the layout provided both direct and alternative routes to the springs with numerous benches to pause and rest. The work was completed in 1887.
We have some friends who live not far away from what is now called Valley Gardens. It has changed considerably over the years - it has a sun pavilion at the top where they hold weddings and other events. The building in the distance had been used as a hospital but has now been turned into offices. They say "the park has some beautiful plants and trees in and the flower beds always look lovely". I look forward to visiting when we are next up that way.
It must have been a tough decision but Wareham left Harrogate and in 1888 was appointed to the Surveyorship of the borough of Cambridge, at a salary of £400 per annum (worth about £40,000 per annum in today's terms using the retail prices index). He had been one of the selected candidates when the Borough Surveyorship was vacant in 1886 but at that time they appointed someone else who only stayed two years. When the position became vacant again, Wareham applied and this time got the appointment.
In 1891 he and his family were living at 79 Hills Road, St Andrew the Less in Cambridge but by 1901 they had moved to "Ty-Gower", 4 Selwyn Gardens in Cambridge. As a matter of interest, this is currently listed on Zoopla as being a 7 bedroom detached property (CB3 9AX) valued at well in excess of one million pounds.
Since he has been at Cambridge he has clearly demonstrated his ability as an all-round man, and in many directions great improvements have been affected.
Wareham must have been looking forward to his retirement when on 13th March 1908, aged 63, general surprise and regret has been occasioned in Cambridge to-day by the news of the sudden death of the Borough Engineer and Surveyor, Mr Edward Wareham Harry, which took place at his residence, “Ty-Gower,” 4 Selwyn-gardens, this morning.
Mr Harry had been in poor health for some time, and his attendances at the office had recently been very spasmodic, the last being nearly three weeks ago. Weakened very much by influenza, he has, since that time been constantly under medical care. Ton days ago his condition took a serious turn, but latterly the reports have been so favourable that his death was quite unexpected. In Mr Harry the Corporation of Cambridge lose a very worthy and valuable servant.
The interment took place at Newmarket Road Cemetery, Cambridge, the head of the grave being lined with arum lilies and foliage. He left an estate of £821 (today worth about £76,000 using RPI).
Friends of Valley Gardens http://www.friendsofvalleygardens.co.uk/page17/page5/page5.html