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William Symons

Carpenter, Town Councillor & Deputy Mayor

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 6/9/1047, No 283.

William James Symons was born in Hepney (England) in May 1840 and came to British Kaffraria in 1857 on board the Lady Kennaway. He would settle first in King William's Town and then later return to East London.

He had been listed among the artisan passengers on board the ship as a carpenter (age 17) and soon established himself as a carpenter, builder and contractor. He eventually owned the Central Saw Mills in Fleet Street, later moved to Recreation Road opposite the Show Grounds.

He was elected without opposition to a seat on the Town Council to represent Ward 2 in August 1899 and was re-elected in February 1902 but resigned in April 1904 as he was due to leave for England.

On his return, he contested the elections of February 1905 and lost but was eventually re-elected in July 1906 for Ward 2 but resigned in March 1907.

He served as Deputy Mayor for six months in 1903.

Symons died on 9 January 1918 at the age of 77, and was buried at East London.

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