Webpage created: October 04, 2019
Webpage updated: January 01, 2020
JOHN NICHOLAS BENNETT (c1803-1899)
John Nicholas Bennett was born circa 1803, the third son of Mr Edward Bennett of Saint Stephen's-by-Saltash, Cornwall.
He was admitted as a solicitor in 1824 and soon afterwards opened a practice in George Street. At that time the Street comprised only of houses, the shop shop frontages being added much later. His office thus came out into George Lane, at the rear of his residence.
In 1840 he entered into a partnership with Mr Charles Cobley Whiteford, who was for many years the Town Clerk of Plymouth. They acted as solicitors to the South Devon Railway Company and the Plymouth and Stonehouse Gas Company Limited.
On August 12th 1847 Mr John Nicholas Bennett married Miss Emily Gribble Prance at Saint Andrew's Church, Plymouth.
Both Mr Whiteford and Mr Bennett retired in 1881 in favour of their eldest sons, Mr Hamilton Whiteford, who died in 1883, and Mr Edward Gasking Bennett, who died in 1889. Mr Ellery Arthur Bennett was running the firm in 1899.
As leader of the local Liberal Party, Mr J N Bennett took an early interest in education and was in favour of a national and undenominational system. His lecture on this subject to the Plymouth Institution was met with much criticism as there were many who thought that education was neither required nor desirable. He took a great interest in the Plymouth Ragged School Association and also in the Plymouth Town Mission. He failed to get elected to the first Plymouth School Board although he polled a significant number of votes but he was very pleased when the Education Act became law in 1870. In a different direction, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the Plymouth Coffee House Company in Bedford Street and he never overlooked any opportunity to make known his views on temperance.
Mr John Nicholas Bennett died peacefully at his residence, number 3 Wedgwood Villas, Ford Park, Plymouth, at 9.30am on the morning of Tuesday September 19th 1899. He was 96 years of age.