National Records of Scotland

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James Newlands (1813-1871)

James Newlands (1813-1871)

Architect and civil engineer

James Newlands studied mathematics and natural philosophy before joining the office of Thomas Brown, architect to Edinburgh Corporation, as a draughtsman. He later assisted David Low, professor of agriculture at the University of Ednburgh, with the layout of farms and design of buildings. In 1847 he was appointed engineer to Liverpool Corporation where he carried out a detailed survey and drew up plans for a system of sewers to deal with the poor sanitary conditions in the city. His recommendations for improvements in public health included regulating the height of buildings and the width of streets as well as the introduction of public baths and wash-houses. James Newlands died in Liverpool on 15 July 1871. A plaque at his former home describes him as 'Liverpool and the country's first borough engineer'.

Birth in 1813

James Newlands was born on 28 July 1813, the son of Thomas Newlands, rope maker and Janet MacKay. The entry in the Old Parish Register (OPR) for Edinburgh records that he was baptised by Dr Davidson on 12 August 1813 and that his parents' resided in New Greyfriars Parish.

Birth and baptism entry for James Newlands

Birth and baptism entry for James Newlands (41 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-1/41, page 313

1841 census

In 1841 James Newlands, 25, architect was enumerated at 9 Argyle Square in the parish of Old Greyfriars, Edinburgh. The 1841 census doesn't give relationships within the household but we can infer that it includes his mother, brothers and sisters as well as two female servants ('f s'). Ages have been rounded down to the nearest five. The last column gives place of birth - born in the county of Midlothian ('Yes') or, as in the case of his mother, Janet, born in Scotland but not in the county ('No').

1841 census return for James Newlands

1841 census return for James Newlands (98 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1841/685-1/74, page 12

Marriage in 1845

James Newlands, architect, married Joanna Henderson on 11 August 1845. The entry in the Old Parish Register for St Cuthbert's gives his address as 16 Gilmour [Gilmore] Place in Edinburgh. Joanna was the daughter of the late Doctor William Henderson, staff surgeon. The couple had 'three several times been duly and regularly proclaimed in the Parish Church of St Cuthbert's, in order to marriage, and no objections offered'.

Proclamation of banns and marriage entry for James Newlands

Proclamation of banns and marriage entry for James Newlands (49 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-2/46, page 3