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James Georgeson

Entrepreneur & Town Councillor

Keith Tankard
Updated: 14 October 2009
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It is with great sadness that we have to announce that the creator of The Labyrinth of East London Lore, Dr T., has passed away. Helping people through his website gave him no end of pleasure. If you had contact with him and would like to leave a message, please send us an e-mail here.

DEATH NOTICE: see the Cape Archives, MOOC 6/9/522, No 1355.
OBITUARY: see the Daily Dispatch, 26.4.1905.

James Georgeson was born in Leith in January 1842 and educated in Edinburgh.

He came to the Cape Colony in 1878 and settled at East London where he became chairman of the Castle Steamship Company until his retirement in 1901. He was also a commissioner on the Harbour Board and served as a Justice of the Peace for the East London District after 1895.

In February 1881 he was elected to Council to represent Ward 3 after the Incorporation Act of 1880 had created the new ward. He was re-elected in 1882 but this time as a member for Ward 2. He did not seek re-election when he retired on rotation in February 1885.

His term in office coincided with a dramatic recession in the town. The discovery of diamonds in Griqualand West in 1868, together with the British annexation of the Transvaal Colony in 1878 had brought investment confidence to the Cape.

This, however, was reversed by the restoration of Transvaal independence in 1881, together with the onset of what contemporaries called the Great Depression which lasted in the Cape from 1883 till 1886, to be reversed only with the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand that year.

Georgeson died on 22 April 1905 at the age of 63, and was buried at East London.

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