Sir Joseph Weston - 1822-1895 (Mayor 1880, 81, 82 & 83)
Joseph Weston was born in Kingsdown in 1822, the son a wealthy Redcliffe Iron Merchant. He joined the family firm and his many successful business interests included shipping (their ships carried some of the emigrants to Australia during the 1853 Gold Rush), iron foundries, cotton manufacture and wagon and carriage building. He also made a number of profitable land deals in Clifton.
When he was 46 he became a city councillor and served from 1868 – 92. He was president of the Anchor Society in 1870, the Grateful Society in 1878 and was 4 times Mayor of Bristol. In 1885, he was elected MP for Bristol South. In 1890 he became MP for Bristol East – the greatest working class constituency of its day where he maintained an unassailable majority. One satirist writer in 1893 commented* “He might be a socialist if Socialism were more respectable and not so dreadfully lowering”! He played a very prominent part in the establishment of public libraries and associated himself with all movements that appeared likely to add to people’s happiness. He presided over the city’s purchase and development of the docks at Portishead and Avonmouth and devoted much of his energy towards building the prosperity of Bristol for his fellow Citizens from whom he earned a unanimous respect and it was no surprise when he was awarded a knighthood for his services..
He died in 1895 after a short illness said to have been brought on by severe weather conditions. At the time the Western Daily Press newspaper observed of his career that its distinguishing feature was:-
“not that he was a successful businessman nor that he was a faithful and self sacrificing supporter of [Liberal] political principles… but that he was a good citizen”.
His family Memorial (pictured left, foreground) is in Arnos Vale Cemetery
* Greater Bristol by 'Lesser Columbus' published by Pelham Press 1893
Return to Mayors History Page