Charles Wills
August 26, 2016
John Hare
August 26, 2016
Charles WillsTimber merchant and merchant venturer1813 to 1896
August 26, 2016
John HareTimber merchant and merchant venturer1813 to 1896
August 26, 2016

John Avaray JonesTimber merchant and merchant venturer1813 to 1896

John was born in 1813 in Wellington, Somerset, the son of a schoolmaster, Nicholas Webber Jones, and Ann (née) Averay.

Little is known about his early life but in 1841 he was described as an accountant, living with his parents, three sisters and a brother in Berkeley Crescent, Bristol. Three years later, he went into partnership with Charles Nash, and they acquired the timber firm of William Cross & Son based in Broad Quay. Trading as Jones & Nash, they built up an extensive business as timber merchants and ship owners, importing timber from places such as Quebec, Riga, Sweden, Russia and Stettin for use in the building trade, shipping industry and as sleepers for the railways.

A shrewd businessman

As the firm’s senior partner, John proved to be a shrewd and capable businessman, with a thorough knowledge of the trade. Eventually, their premises covered around eight acres and comprised large timber yards situated on both sides of the Floating Harbour, Canons Marsh and Cumberland Road. Charles retired in 1887 and John in 1889. The firm then continued as Jones & Wainwright, managed by his son Averay Neville Jones and son-in-law Frederick Wainwright.

Improving Bristol Docks

John’s business interests led to him becoming a member of the Free Port Association, formed in 1846 to reform Bristol’s archaic Dock Company. It organised a formidable public campaign which, amongst other things, demanded simplification of the complicated number of dues exacted from ships entering the harbour, as well as substantial reductions in the excessive amounts charged.

The timber and sugar trades were particularly affected by high port charges. The campaign helped to bring about the formation of a new Docks Committee which was established in 1848 to run the port, and it also led to a reduction in the charges on foreign shipping. Following these changes which benefitted the city’s commerce, John was one of those who backed the decision to dissolve the Association.

Merchant Venturer

As Master of the Society of Merchant Venturers, he was presented at court to the Prince and Princess of Wales during a reception held in honour of their marriage in 1863. A year, later, he gave evidence to the House of Lords to support the building of a new dock at Avonmouth.

John was Mayor of Bristol in 1875-6, a magistrate and well respected as an authority on commercial subjects. In 1852, he married Emily Podmore Clark and they had five daughters and one son. In later years, they lived at 81 Pembroke Road, Clifton where he died in 1896 at the age of 82. His effects were valued at more than £64,000.

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John Avaray Jones<span class="ag_notability">Botanist and funghi Specialist</span><span class="ag_event_date"><i class="icon-calendar"></i>1807 to 1876</span>
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