Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: October 03, 2019
Webpage updated: January 01, 2020



JOHN THOMAS BOND (1854-1917)

John Thomas Bond was born in his father's small shoemaker's shop in Exeter Street, Plymouth, in 1854.

His father, Mr James Bond, was a boot and shoe maker while his mother, Mrs Margaret Bond, was a dress maker.  He had four older brothers, one older sister and two other sisters were born after him.  At the time of the 1861 census they were living at number 24 Exeter Street.

During his schooldays at the Public Free Schools in Cobourg Street he used to assist in his father's shop in the evenings and, he later confessed, used to enjoy cheating the toll collectors at the various toll-bridges and toll-gates around the Town.  He saved the odd pennies he earned to buy books.  'Great was the joy in the Bond family when one morning he came home, eyes bright with excitement, and face wreathed in smiles, announcing that he had succeeded in gaining the appointment of office boy to Mr Elliot Square, solicitor, who had but recently set up in practice', revealed his Obituary. 

From that humble beginning he quickly rose to clerk and then managing clerk.  He later became an articled clerk to Mr Square and subsequently passed his law examinations.  Following the sudden death of Mr Square, he and  Mr Bridgman, the Registrar of the County Court, took over the practice.  When Mr Bridgman withdrew from the partnership, he was joined by Mr Percy Pearce, who was followed by Mr J W Bickle.

On October 10th 1887 Mr Bond, a Liberal, was elected to the Council as the representative for the Sutton Ward.  He accepted the office of Mayor of Plymouth on three occasions, 1890-91, 1895-96, and 1897-98 and soon became known for his efforts to clear slum housing from the Town.  During his first term the Town experienced the rigours of the Great Blizzard and Mr Bond took upon himself the responsibility of directing the clearance of the snow and ice from the Plymouth Leat.  As a result, upon finishing that term as Mayor he was promptly elected as chairman of the Water Committee of the Council.  In his third term in office, he officiated at the opening of Burrator Reservoir.

His achievements in respect of the water supply for Plymouth resulted in the boys of the North Road Board School writing special verses to a hymn, the last verse reading:

The names of Burrator
And Bond for evermore
Will coupled be.
May there henceforward be
A bond of unity,
And of affinity
'Twixt Bond and me.

God bless our Townsman Bond
Of sparkling water fond,
May he live long.
The current pure and free,
Flow on as if a sea
Supplied our town.

He was a strong advocate of temperance and founded the Woodland Bible Class at his home, 5 Woodland Terrace, Greenbank Road.

Mr John Thomas Bond died suddenly a this home at Mannamead, Plymouth, on the afternoon of Friday, June 15th 1917, less than a week after he resigned from Plymouth Borough Council because of ill health.  He was 63 years of age and had been unwell for a considerable time.  He was survived by his widow and two daughters.

His name will be readily recognised by observant Plymothians because it appears on the numerous boundary stones in the City dated 1898.