Sir Thomas James Nelson, solicitor

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Thomas James Nelson, of Hampton Wick, Middlesex, the City Solicitor, upon whom her Majesty Queen Victoria was pleased to confer the honour of knighthood, was the eldest son of Thomas Nelson, of Mark House, Walthamstow, Essex, by his marriage with Louisa, daughter of Richard Mullens, of Farningham Kent, and was born on 18 October 1826.

He was educated at the City of London School, and at the College of Saxe-Coburg, in Germany. Returning to England, he was admitted a solicitor in Michaelmas Term in 1848, and is a member of the Incorporated Law Society of the United Kingdom. He formerly practised in Finsbury Circus, and was for a few years in partnership with William Lowless. Sir Thomas Nelson was appointed City Solicitor in 1862, when he relinquished private practice. He held this post of City Solicitor until his death.

It was during this time that the litigation concerning the ownership of Epping Forest began, and it was largely owing to Mr. Nelson's knowledge that the City Corporation were able to acquire the Forest for the benefit of the public in 1876. It was while residing at Mark House in Walthamstow that Mr. Nelson gained his intimate knowledge of the Forest, and his fine work was recognized by the conferment of the knighthood which he received at Windsor Castle on 21 April 1880. Thomas had definite views about marketing, and is quoted as saying "we may put everything that is possible to put in an Act of Parliament, but you will never make an English people go marketing, they will always go shopping."

He was one of her Majesty‚Äôs Commissioners of Lieutenancy for the City of London, a magistrate for the borough of Kingston-upon-Thames, chairman of the Lower Thames Valley Main Sewerage Board, and of the Local Board of Hampton Wick. Sir Thomas married, in 1850, Jemima Louisa Mullens, only daughter of William Herbert Mullens of Broom Hall, Teddington, Middlesex. He died 7 February, 1885, and is buried in Teddington Cemetery (Section Fc, grave number 218). There is a monumental inscription in St. Peter's Churchyard, Walthamstow to the memory of his father who was born 13 March, 1799, and died 16 May 1883.


His grandson 2nd Lieutenant Ernest Bertram Nelson served with the Indian Army Reserve of Officers, attached to 1/8 Battalion Gurkha Rifles. He was an Exhibitioner of Wadham College, Oxford and of Corpus Christi College Cambridge, graduating in 1912. After joining the Officer Training Corps, he served with the Calcutta Light Horse in 1913. 

In January 1915, Lt Nelson transferred to Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides before being attached to the Gurkha Rifles. He served in Mesopotamia in 1916 and participated in the capture of Kut and Baghdad. Lieutenant Nelson was killed in action, aged 26, at Mushaidie on 15 March 1917.

He is commemorated on the Basra Memorial in Iraq.


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