Historical Plaque Properties

 

James Stamp - Builder & Mayor of Stratford
136 Hibernia Street
Stratford, ON
1894


The first owner of Lot 406, the location of 136 Hibernia Street, was Alexander Grant, an attorney and mayor of Stratford (1879-1880).

 

His tenant was George Campbell, a labourer. Another labourer (smith’s helper), John O’Neil, was the tenant from 1872 to 1873 and again in 1876. John Donovan, yet an-other labourer, was the tenant from 1874 to 1875. During four of these years, this lot was attached to lot 473 behind it. There is no official record of a building on this lot un-til 1876, so it may have been used for agricultural or other purposes.

James Stamp, the builder and first occupant of 136 Hibernia Street, moved to this loca-tion in 1877, into what must have been a modest house. From 1887 to 1894 he is rec-orded as having three adjacent lots (406, 407, 472), although it would appear that he had only one house, probably larger than the previous one. It has been suggested that the original house is what is currently the kitchen. The property also included a stable and an orchard.

 

The current house, a good example of Queen Anne Revival architecture, was con-structed by James Stamp in 1894. James and his wife Lucetta lived in the house until 1902.

 

James was born in Dunkerton (near Bath), Somerset, England on January 19, 1851. His
parents were Jesse (a mason) and Mary. He was one of eleven children. In March 1872 he left England and landed in Portland, Maine, intending to continue to Chicago. Friends persuaded him to come to Stratford, but he soon returned to England where he intended to remain, returned to Stratford, and returned again to England in the fall of 1875. In 1876 he married Lucetta Harding (only about 16 years old, and also from Somerset), and returned to Stratford with his bride.

 

While living in Stratford, James first worked as a mason and bricklayer for local con-tractors Abraham & Filey, Edmunds & Wilson, and Tait & Snazel. He started his own contracting business around 1885 and was extremely successful. His projects included: the Worth Block, Hamlet School, the Perth Mutual Insurance building, the McLagan factory, and the MacDonald foundry. He also built homes for several prominent mem-bers of the community.

 

James had an important municipal career. He first ran for alderman in Avon Ward in 1893. While alderman, he was chair of the Board of Works and was involved with the laying of the trunk sewer and the construction of the present city hall. He was also the chair of the Market and Police Committee. James was elected mayor in 1901 and was re-elected in 1902.

 

In January 1903 James and Lucetta went to visit London, Nottingham, and Bath for at least six months. Their home at 136 Hibernia St. was rented out for the duration. James and Lucetta never did return to Stratford. We can assume that they missed Eng-land and, as they had no children, felt that they would prefer to spend their later years in Bath where their families still resided. James is listed as a retired builder in the 1911 England Census. Perhaps his financial success as a builder in Stratford allowed them to live in Bath without needing to work.

 

James died in Bath on April 25, 1924. Lucetta died in the same city on January 28, 1931.