Lemon_St.jpg Leatham Avenue sign (2013). Mike Gooch. Word on the Street image collection.

Take a walk in New Plymouth or Truro (in Cornwall) and you could be on Lemon Street. Both streets are named after Sir Charles Lemon, 2nd Baronet Lemon of Carclew. He was a member of parliament for several constituencies and a director of the Plymouth Company.

He was born in 1784 to Sir William (the 1st Baronet) and Lady Jane Lemon and attended Harrow School, Christ Church College, Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

He lived in the family seat of Carclew House near Mylor in Cornwall. The house sported a magnificent garden that was opened to the public in 1927. However, fire destroyed the house in 1934 and the garden went into private ownership.

Sir Charles was an avid collector and cultivator of exotic trees and he was one of the first to receive seed from Sir Joseph Hooker's Himalayan expedition. There is a rhododendron named "Sir Charles Lemon".

Sir Charles was a mining magnate and a man of science. Listed amongst his achievements were: Fellow of the Royal Society and President of the Royal Geological Society. In 1833, as president of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society in Falmouth, he led the way to the introduction of the "man-engine", a device to raise and lower miners to the working shaft of a mine.

Tragedy was the hallmark of his family. After marrying Lady Charlotte Ann Fox-Strangways in 1810, he had two sons and a daughter, all of whom died young. Two from illness and one drowned in 1826. Lady Charlotte also died in 1826, it was said that her health was broken following the death of her children.

Sir Charles died on 13 February 1868 along with the baronetcy as he had no surviving children.

This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.

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