COWES, ISLE OF WIGHT
Busigny House, Prospect Road, Cowes
Surveyer & Land Agent (Barry S)
James Binfield Bird was recommended to the Ward family of Cowes who were looking for an Estate Manager for their Isle of Wight estates and he commenced his appointment with the Wards in 1860. He became engaged in the management of some 20,000 acres belonging to them – including drainage and road building. Many buildings were also his responsibility as were the sea-walls surrounding some of their coastal properties.
James Binfield Bird became an Associate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1868 and, wishing to concentrate on his own business interests as an Estate Agent and Valuer, he offered his resignation to the Ward family in 1875.
In 1871 James had been appointed a Surveyor to the Board of Trade and had become a Commissioner of Isle of Wight Sewers and Surveyor to the Isle of Wight Railway. A very busy Island businessman you might think – but as well as practising on the Island, James had also created a large flourishing business in London.
As if that was not enough, he was a Director of the Inns of Court Hotel and several other public companies, plus a shareholder in the Newtown and Beaulieu Oyster Fishery Company which had been formed in 1880.
James is reported as being a kind and friendly man, with a very active interest in the town of Cowes, where he resided over thirty years.
He had represented the Board of Guardians for the Parish of Northwood and was Lieutenant in the Cowes Battalion of the Isle of Wight Rifle Volunteers.
James Binfield Bird died on the 5th February 1892 and a fitting monument to him and other members of his family can be seen in the Cemetery. Mystery still surrounds the fact that the official Burial Register records the position of his grave as being about thirty yards west of the Bird family obelisk. Short of a clandestine dig and a DNA test, I am not sure if this mystery will ever be resolved!