NameJames Harper LAIDMAN , 1163, P1061
Birth8 Feb 1851, Hartley, NBL
Death11 Nov 1920, Southampton, HAM Age: 69
Burial15 Nov 1920, Southampton, HAM
Burial MemoSouthampton Old Cemetery
Occupation1871, 1881: Iron Ship Plater; ;1873: Iron Ship Builder; 1891, 1893, 1901, 1911: Ship Builder
FatherWilliam LAIDMAN , 1165, O1051 (1810-1871)
MotherMary HARPER , 2164 (ca1815-1875)
Misc. Notes
1851 Census Returns HO107/2412 folio 228 page 14
Town of Hartley, Northumberland
William Laidman, head, married, 41, Master Taylor 2 Apprentices, born Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland
Mary Laidman, wife, 37, born Hartley, Northumberland
Thomas Laidman, son, 11, scholar, born Hartley, Northumberland
William Laidman, son, 10, scholar, born Hartley, Northumberland
Jane Laidman, daur. 6, scholar, born Hartley, Northumberland
J. Harper Laidman, son, 4, born Hartley, Northumberland
J. Glensly [sic, for Grahamsley] Laidman, son, 2, born Hartley, Northumberland
James Harper Laidman, son, 2 months, born Hartley, Northumberland
Elizabeth Softly, servant, unmarried, 15, House Servant, born Hartley, Northumberland

1861 census return: RG9/3840 folio 23 page 41
7 Sidney St, Tynemouth
William Laidman, Head, Mard, 51, Tailor, born Northd. Newcastle
Mary Laidman, Wife, Mard, 47, do’s wife, born Northd. Hartley
Jane Laidman, Daur, Unmd, 16, born Northd. Hartley
George Laidman, son, Unmd, 12, Scholar, born Northd. Hartley
James Laidman, Son, Unmd, 10, Scholar, born Northd. Hartley
Ann Isabella Laidman, Daur, 8, Scholar, born Northd. Hartley
Margaret Laidman, Daur, 3, born Northd. Hartley

1871 census return: RG10/5114 folio 50, page 75.
23 William Street, North Shields
William Laidman, head, married, 61, Tailor, born Newcastle upon Tyne
Mary Laidman, wife, married, 57, born Northumberland, Hartley
Jane Laidman, daughter, unmarried, 26, born Hartley
George G. Laidman, son, unmarried, 22, Printer/Compositor, born Hartley
James H. Laidman, son, unmarried, 20, Iron Ship Plater, born Hartley

The marriage certificate to Hannah Head in 1873 shows his profession as "Iron Ship Builder". Witnesses to the marriage were James Sharpe and his sister, Jane Laidman.

The 1881 census shows him living at 21 Denham Terrace, Wallsend, occupation "Iron Ship Plater" with the word "Builder" added on! At the birth of his son John Edwin, however, he was living at 4 Naylors Row, Drypool, Hull. He certainly moved a lot, for the 1891 census return shows him living with his family at 36 Stanley Street, Blyth, Northumberland, occupation "Ship Builder". On Tyneside, he may well have worked for Swan & Hunter (established at Wallsend in 1880) or maybe Vickers Armstrong (at Walker).

1881 census return: RG11/5071 folio 4 page 5
21 Denham Terrace, Wallsend, Northumberland
James H. Laidman, head, married, 27, Iron Ship Plater (Builder), born Hartley, Northumberland
Hannah Laidman, wife, married, 27, born Walker, Northumberland
Mary F. Laidman, daur. 4, born Walker, Northumberland
William Laidman, son, 2, born Wallsend, Northumberland
[Note: Next door at no. 23 Denham Terrace were living Elizabeth Robson, née Head, and her family]

The Mercury (Hobart, Tasmania), Thursday 5 January 1888
A new method of constructing stern and
rudder frames, invented by Mr. James
H. Laidman
, of Hull, is announced, which
dispenses with the massive and costly forgings
that have hitherto been employed for that
purpose. The inventor forms both the stern
and rudder-frame of girder or channel-bars,
combined with light forgings or castings,
the whole being rivetted or connected together
by screw studs, forming a structure which is
lighter than the older form of solid frame,
while presenting an equal structural strength
for resisting the strains imposed upon a ship
so fitted when in a heavy seaway. The repairs
that may be rendered necessary by reason of
accident are obviously much more readily
performed, a great desideratum to the unfor-
tunate shipowner, who frequently has to
disburse a large sum for such repairs.

By 1891 the family had moved to Blyth, home to the Blyth Shipbuilding Company (established in 1853), one of the largest shipbuilding yards on the north east coast.

1891 census return: RG12/4237 folio 7 page 10
Northumberland, Blyth, 36 Stanley St.
James H. Laidman, Head, M, 40, Shipbuilder, Employed, born Northumberland Hartley
Hannah Laidman, Wife, M, 37, born Northumberland Walker
Mary F. Laidman, Daur, S, 14, Scholar, born Northumberland Walker
William Laidman, Son, S, 12, Scholar, born Yorkshire, Hull
Ethel Laidman, Daur, S, 4, born Yorkshire Hull
Norah K. Laidman, Daur, S, 2, born Ireland Belfast
John H. Laidman, Son, S, 2mo, born Northumberland Blyth

He must have moved to the South of England sometime between 1891 and 1901 (after a stay in Belfast, where his daughter Norah Kathleen was born in 1889), where, according to his obituary, he first worked for Day, Summers & Company, a steam locomotive manufacturer and shipbuilder in Northam. He subsequently worked for John I. Thornycroft in Southampton, although probably not before 1904, as Thornycrofts moved to Southampton only in June of that year.

1901 census return: RG13/1074 folio 53 page 5
The Avenue (St. Johns Villa), Shirley, Southampton
John [sic] Harper Laidman, head, married, 50, Ship builder (Manager), born Northumberland, Hartley
Hannah Laidman, wife, married, 47, born Northumberland, Walker
Mary F. Smith, daur. widow, 24, born Northumberland, Walker
James H. Laidman, son, 17, Ship Draughtsman, worker, born Yorkshire, Hull
Ethel Laidman, daur. 14 born Yorkshire, Hull
Norah Laidman, daur. 12 born Ireland, Belfast
John H. Laidman, son, 10, born Northumberland, Blyth
Thomas Laidman, son, 6, born Hants. Southampton
Richard Laidman, son, 3, born Hants. Southampton
Margaret Holden, serv. single, 16, General Servant Domestic, born Lancs. Liverpool

1911 census return: RG14PN5989 RG78PN274 RD99 SD2 ED1 SN38
Hampshire, Southampton, Claremont, The Avenue
Laidman, James Harper, Head, Married 38 years, M, 60, 1851, Shipbuilder - Manager, born Hartley Northumberland
Laidman, Hannah, Wife, Married, F, 57, 1854, born Walker Northumberland
Laidman, James Harper, Son, Single, M. 28, 1883, Shipbuilder, born Hull Yorkshire
Laidman, John Head, Son, Single, M, 20, 1891, Auctioneer, born Blyth Northumberland
Laidman, Norah Kathleen, Daughter, Single, F, 22, 1889, Governess, born Belfast Ireland
Laidman, Richard, Son, Single, M, 13, 1898, At School, born Southampton Hampshire

The family home in Southampton was "Claremont," The Avenue, the first mention of which we find in Kelly’s Directory of Southampton residents, 1904, although his 1901 census address in Shirley may also have been at this house. He was witness to his son John Head's marriage on 16 June 1916 where his occupation is stated as "Ship Builder". The Avenue would have been a grand place to live at this time. Claremont is today (2004) a cheap pizzeria, downstairs anyway.

From ‘100 Years of Specialized Shipbuilding and Engineering’ K.C. Barnaby. Hutchinson & Co. Ltd., London 1964, for the John I. Thornycroft centenary 1964, pp 55-56: Drastic changes had to be made in the management. Hugh Callaway took over the General Managership from J. H. Laidman, who became Repairs Manager in the increasingly important Docks Branch.

The London Gazette, no. 32394, 19 July 1921, p. 5764:
Notice is hereby given, that the Partnership
heretofore subsisting between James Edgar
Wimshurst jointly with James Harper Laidman, de-
ceased, who, during the lifetime of the said James
Harper Laidman, carried on business as Consulting
Engineers and Naval Architects, at 14, Canute-road,
Southampton, under the style or firm of “WIMS-
HURST & LAIDMAN,” has been dissolved and as
from the twenty-fifth day of March, one thousand
nine hundred and twenty-one.—Dated this fourteenth
day of July, 1921.

The following obituary is from an unknown newspaper:
DEATH OF MR. JAMES LAIDMAN.
Well Known Southampton Shipbuilder.
The death took place this morning, at his residence, Claremont, The Avenue, of Mr. James Harper Laidman, in his 70th year. The deceased gentleman, who passed peacefully away in his sleep at dawn, had been suffering for several weeks from an internal complaint. His passing will be regretted by a wide circle of friends, for he was one of the best known figures in local shipping circles. His reputation as a shipbuilder was practically international. A Northumbrian by birth, he came to Southampton in the early nineties, being first associated with the firm of Messrs. Day, Summers & Co., Ltd., Northam Ironworks, and later with Messrs. John I. Thornycroft, Ltd. During the war his expert knowledge was turned to valuable account from a national standpoint by the conversion of many steamers into troopers and hospital ships. Mr. Laidman, who was also well known in Masonic and yachting circles, was a member of the Institute of Naval Architects and the royal Southampton Yacht Club. He possessed a most genial temperament, and was of a very generous disposition. He leaves a widow and seven children to mourn his loss.


His funeral sounds quite a grand affair. It was reported in the SOUTHERN DAILY ECHO, Monday November 15, 1920:

THE LATE MR. J.E. [sic] LAIDMAN
_______________
Funeral at Southampton
_______________

The funeral of Mr. James Harper Laidman, of “Claremont,” The Avenue, who died on Thursday last, took place at the Southampton Cemetery this morning. The chief mourners were Messrs. Jack, Tom, Dick, and Jim Laidman (sons). Others present were: Tom Bailey, Mr. Gascoigne, Mr. Holden, Mr. Cotton, Mr. Sellers, Dr. Foote, Mr. Allen, Mr. Winishurst, and Mr. Cottier.
The following members of the Boilermakers’ Society, some wearing their regalia, were present [there follows a long list of names...]. The Shipwrights were represented by Messrs. W. Tee, R. Childs, and C.E. Thompson, T.A.; Fitters by Messrs. A. Bennett and A. Baldwin; the Joiners by Messrs. A. Jones and A. Holloway; the Electricians by Messrs. G. Mead and T. Barrett; and the Plumbers by Messrs. W. Angel and S. Fry.
The service was conducted by the Rev. W. Bates, of St. Mark’s, and the remains were enclosed in a polished oak coffin with brass furniture. The plate bore the inscription “James Harper Laidman, died 11th November, 1920, aged 70 years.”
Wreaths were sent by the following:- Mrs. Laidman; Mr. and Mrs. James Laidman, junior; Mr. and Mrs. John Laidman; Mr. and Mrs. R. Laidman; Mr. and Mrs. T. Bailey and family; Mr. and Mrs. P. Tinn, and grand-daughter; Mr. Tom and Miss Norah Laidman; Mr. and Mrs. Head [there follows a long list of other people]... Troupe Curtis Ltd...; the Boilermakers’ Society; Shipwrights’ Dept. (Thorneycroft’s); Joiners (ditto); the Staff of Messrs. Thorneycroft’s Repair Department; the Royal Southampton Yacht Club...


THE HAMPSHIRE ADVERTISER COUNTY NEWSPAPER, November 20th, 1920

has a similar report of the funeral, but with details of the wreaths:

...wreaths were sent by the following:- To my dear husband, from his loving wife; in ever loving memory of dear father, from Jack, Lilian, and little Denise; in loving memory of dear father, from Norah and Tommy; to dear father, with love from Ethel, Percy, and granddaughter Peggy; to father, from Mamie, Tom, and his grandsons Arthur and Douglas; in ever-loving memory of father, from Dick and Marjorie; in loving remembrance of dear father, from Jim and Bella; to our dear brother-in-law, from William and Rose; in loving remembrance of dear uncle, from his two nieces, Sally and Emily; in loving memory, from Harry and Lizzie, and his nephew, Canon Robson [...and many many others, including Thorneycroft’s, and:] to Uncle Jim, in fond remembrance, from Dick and Annie...

1851: Hartley, Tynemouth, Northumberland
1873: East Terrace, Low Walker, Northumberland
1881: 21 Denham Terrace, Wallsend, Northumberland
1883: 4 Naylor's Row, Dryport, Kingston upon Hull, Yorks
1891: Blyth, Tynemouth, Northumberland
1895: Not mentioned in Kelly’s Directory of Southampton residents.
1898: Southampton, 4 Britannia Road (Kelly’s Directory of Southampton & Neighbourhood, 1898)
1900: Southampton, 52 Denzil Avenue (Kelly’s Directory of Southampton & Neighbourhood, 1900)
1901: The Avenue (St. Johns Villa), Shirley, Southampton
1901-1903: St. John’s Villa (Kelly’s Directory of Southampton & Neighbourhood, 1901-1903)
1904: Claremont, The Avenue (Kelly’s Directory of Southampton & Neighbourhood, 1904)
1904: St. John’s Villa (Kelly’s Directory of Southampton & Neighbourhood, 1904)
1904-1920: Claremont, The Avenue, Southampton

Will: See doc. no. 431
Distribution account: See doc. 432

In September 2003 a visit to the disused Old Southampton Cemetery revealed James Harper Laidman’s monument after a very long search. It consists of a stone cross with a relief of an anchor in the crux, standing on a three stepped pedestal, bearing the following inscriptions:

Front face

In Loving Memory of
James Harper Laidman
Dearly Loved Husband of Hannah Laidman
Entered Rest on the Great Day

Also William Laidman
Oldest Son of the Above
Died Kingston Jamaica
May 22, 1901 Aged 22 Years

Back Face

Also of Their Sons
John Head Laidman, MC Major RA Died Jan 19,1953
Aged ---Years

And Richard Laidman
Died Jan 25, 1953


Right Face

Also
Hannah Laidman Who Died Nov 21, 1936 Aged 84 Years
So When Breaks the Glorious Dawn


Left Face

And of
Middle Stone Mary Francis Bailey
Mamie
Beloved Eldest Daughter
Died Sep 2, 1946

James Harper is also mentioned on his father’s monumental inscription in Preston Cemetery, North Shields:

SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF
WILLIAM LAIDMAN
OF NORTH SHIELDS,
WHO FELL ASLEEP IN JESUS JULY 23rd 1871
AGED 61 YEARS.
ALSO OF WILLIAM, SON OF THE ABOVE
WHO DIED AT HAVANNA JUNE 21st 1861,
AGED 21 YEARS.
ALSO ANN ISABELLA, HIS DAUGHTER
DIED APRIL 18th 1864 AGED 11 YEARS.
ALSO JOHN HARPER, HIS SON
WHO DIED SEPTEMBER 28th 1867,
WHILE ON HIS PASSAGE CRONSTADT
AND IS INTERRED THERE,
AGED 21 YEARS.
ALSO MARGARET, HIS DAUGHTER
DIED AUGUST 29th 1869,
AGED 12 YEARS.
ALSO MARY, HIS WIFE
DIED JUNE 7th 1875, AGED 61 YEARS.
ALSO GEORGE GRAHAMSLEY, FOURTH
SON OF THE ABOVE, DIED AT HEATON MERSEY
MAY 29th 1882, AGED 42 YEARS.
THOMAS, ELDEST SON OF THE ABOVE,
DIED AT SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
MAY 29th 1902, AGED 63 YEARS
JAMES HARPER LAIDMAN, YOUNGEST SON OF THE ABOVE
DIED NOV. 11th 1920, AGED 69 YEARS.
Spouses
1Hannah HEAD , 1164
Birth21 Nov 1853, Walker, NBL
Death21 Nov 1936, Edgeware, MDX Age: 83
Death MemoRedhill Hospital
Burial24 Nov 1936, Southampton, HAM
Burial MemoOld Cemetery
Occupation1871: Dressmaker
FatherJohn HEADS , 2161 (1811-1885)
MotherFrances HALL , 2170 (1815-1894)
Misc. Notes
1861 census return: RG9/3845 folio 8 page 10
Walker [Northumberland], Low Walker
John Heads [sic], Head, Mar, 49, Waterman, born Durham So. Shields
Frances Heads, Wife, Mar, 46, born Northumberland Long Benton
Sarah Heads, Daur, 13, Scholar, born Northumberland Long Benton
William Heads, Son, 11, Rivit Heater Iron Ship yd., born Northumberland Long Benton
Hannah Heads, Daur, 7, Scholar, born Northumberland Long Benton
Elizabeth Heads, Daur, 5, Scholar, born Northumberland Long Benton

1871 census return: RG10/5124, folio 65, page 43.
Walker (Northumberland), 53 Fisher Street
John Head, Head, M[arried], 59, Waterman, [born] Durham, Jarrow
Frances Head, Wife, M, 56, born Northumberland, Walker
Hannah Head, Daur, Unm, 17, Dressmaker, born Northumberland, Walker
Elizabeth Head, Daur, Unm, 15, born Northumberland, Walker
Robert Peart, Boarder, Mar, 29, Ship Wright, born Durham, So[uth] Hylton
William Waterson, Boarder, Unm, 21, Ship Wright, born Durham, So[uth] Hylton

1881 census return: RG11/5071 folio 4 page 5
21 Denham Terrace, Wallsend, Northumberland
James H. Laidman, head, married, 27, Iron Ship Plater (Builder), born Hartley, Northumberland
Hannah Laidman, wife, married, 27, born Walker, Northumberland
Mary F. Laidman, daur. 4, born Walker, Northumberland
William Laidman, son, 2, born Wallsend, Northumberland
[Note: Next door at no. 23 Denham Terrace were living Hannah’s sister Elizabeth Robson (ID 2171), née Head, and her family]

1891 census return: RG12/4237 folio 7 page 10
Northumberland, Blyth, 36 Stanely St.
James H. Laidman, Head, M, 40, Shipbuilder, Employed, born Northumberland Hartley
Hannah Laidman, Wife, M, 37, born Northumberland Walker
Mary F. Laidman, Daur, S, 14, Scholar, born Northumberland Walker
William Laidman, Son, S, 12, Scholar, born Yorkshire, Hull
Ethel Laidman, Daur, S, 4, born Yorkshire Hull
Norah K. Laidman, Daur, S, 2, born Ireland Belfast
John H. Laidman, Son, S, 2mo, born Northumberland Blyth

1901 census return: RG13/1074 folio 53 page 5
The Avenue (St. Johns Villa), Shirley, Southampton
John [sic] Harper Laidman, head, married, 50, Ship builder (Manager), born Northumberland, Hartley
Hannah Laidman, wife, married, 47, born Northumberland, Walker
Mary F. Smith, daur. widow, 24, born Northumberland, Walker
James H. Laidman, son, 17, Ship Draughtsman, worker, born Yorkshire, Hull
Ethel Laidman, daur. 14 born Yorkshire, Hull
Norah Laidman, daur. 12 born Ireland, Belfast
John H. Laidman, son, 10, born Northumberland, Blyth
Thomas Laidman, son, 6, born Hants. Southampton
Richard Laidman, son, 3, born Hants. Southampton
Margaret Holden, serv. single, 16, General Servant Domestic, born Lancs. Liverpool

1911 census return: RG14PN5989 RG78PN274 RD99 SD2 ED1 SN38
Hampshire, Southampton, Claremont, The Avenue
Laidman, James Harper, Head, Married 38 years, M, 60, 1851, Shipbuilder - Manager, born Hartley Northumberland
Laidman, Hannah, Wife, Married, F, 57, 1854, born Walker Northumberland
Laidman, James Harper, Son, Single, M. 28, 1883, Shipbuilder, born Hull Yorkshire
Laidman, John Head, Son, Single, M, 20, 1891, Auctioneer, born Blyth Northumberland
Laidman, Norah Kathleen, Daughter, Single, F, 22, 1889, Governess, born Belfast Ireland
Laidman, Richard, Son, Single, M, 13, 1898, At School, born Southampton Hampshire


Hannah's will dated 1 December 1919 mentions her address as "Claremont" The Avenue, Southampton. It appoints Norah Kathleen as sole executrix, and bequeaths her all her assets. It is not clear why the other children were left out, but Norah was the only unmarried daughter, and this may be the reason. There were two grants of probate for this will, one dated 25 February 1921 exluding settled land (Gross value of Estate £7.397-2-11, Net value of Personal Estate £3.338-4-6, effects: £162), the other dated 26 April 1937 limited to settled land (Effects: £ 1.200). In both grants, the executors were the Public Trustee and Thomas BAILEY "of 5 Carlton Road, Southampton, managing director".

The death of Hannah Head was announced in the Hampshire Advertiser & Southampton Times on Saturday 28 Nov 1936:"LAIDMAN - Nov 21st, at 7 Crest Court, Hendon N.W. Hannah, widow of the late James Harper Laidman, passed peacefully away on her 84th birthday". An announcement also appeared in the Southern Daily Echo on Monday Nov 23 1936:"LAIDMAN - November 21st, at 7, Crest Court, Hendon N.W. Hannah, widow of the late James Harper Laidman, passed peacefully away on her 84th birthday. Interment, Southampton Old Cemetery, Tuesday, 2.45 p.m."
There is a discrepancy in Hannah's age: all the census returns put her birth in 1854, making her 81 at her death. The family bible gives her d.o.b. as 1853.

Denise Anne Laidman remembers her grandmother as an old lady dressed all in black. She spoke with a marked northern accent, and Denise was in awe of her.

1873: East Terrace, Low Walker, Northumberland
1881: 21 Denham Terrace, Wallsend, Northumberland
1883: 4 Naylor's Row, Dryport, Kingston upon Hull, Yorks
1891: Blyth, Tynemouth, Northumberland
1917-1919: Claremont, The Avenue, Southampton, Hants
1921-1935: 69 The Avenue, Southampton (Kelly’s Directory, Southampton)
1935-1940: 51 Pear Tree Av. Bitterne (Kelly’s Directory, Southampton)
1941: Not mentioned in Kelly’s Directory of Southampton residents
1936: 7 Crest Court, The Crest, Hendon, Middlesex

The monumental inscription on James Harper Laidman’s grave in Southampton Old Cemetery includes:

In Loving Memory of
James Harper Laidman
Dearly Loved Husband of Hannah Laidman
......
Also Hannah Laidman Who Died Nov 21, 1936 Aged 84 Years
Marriage2 Jun 1873, Longbenton, NBL
Marr MemoFamily bible
Misc. Notes
1873. Marriage solemnized at the parish Church in the parish of Long Benton in the County of Northumberland
No. 450
When Married: June the Second 1873
James Laidman, 22, Bachelor, Iron Ship Builder, East Terrace, Low Walker, [father] William Laidman, Tailor
Hannah Head, 20, Spinster, [no profession], East Terrace, Low Walker, [father] John Head, Trimmer
Married in the parish Church according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Established Church after Banns by me, Oliver Churchyard, Vicar
This Marriage was solemnized between us,
James Laidman
Hannah Head
in the Presence of us,
James Sharp
Jane Laidman
ChildrenMary Frances (Mamie) , 2, Q1065 (1876-1946)
 William Harper , 2046, Q1066 (1878-1901)
 James Harper , 628, Q1070 (1883-1964)
 John Edwin (Died as Child), 2747, Q1960 (1885-1889)
 Ethel , 18, Q1068 (1887-1970)
 Norah Kathleen , 72, Q1069 (1889-1973)
 John Head “Jack” , 631, R1067 (1891-1953)
 Frederick (Twin), 2873, R1969 (1892-1893)
 Arthur (Twin), 2874, R1970 (1892-1893)
 Thomas Head , 629, Q1071 (1894-1969)
 Richard , 630, Q1072 (1897-1953)
Last Modified 3 Oct 2011Created 3 Jun 2012 using Reunion for Macintosh