James Burton is honoured on 250th birthday

HRH Princess Katarina [centre] plants a tree in memory of James Burton (founder of St Leonards), encouraged by [front, L-R] Amber Rudd MP, the Mayor, and Cllr Jeremy Birch.

HRH Princess Katarina [centre] plants a tree in memory of James Burton (founder of St Leonards), encouraged by [front, L-R] Amber Rudd MP, the Mayor, and Cllr Jeremy Birch.

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THE founder and designer of St Leonards was commemorated and celebrated at an event to mark the 250th anniversary of his birth.

On July 29, members and guests of the Burtons’ St Leonards Society gathered to appreciate James Burton (1761 – 1837) at a Georgian Tea at South Lodge, St Leonards Gardens.

Mayor Kim Forward, council leader Jeremy Birch, and the town’s Amber Rudd MP were among those paying tribute to the vision of James Burton, who saw ‘landscape-led’ possibilities in a wild part of the Sussex coast.

He bought the land in 1828 and rapidly brought the Regency New Town into existence.

At the end of the tea, HRH Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia, a direct descendant of Queen Victoria, planted a eucalyptus tree in the gardens in memory of James Burton and his work.

Bernard McGinley, of the Burtons’ St Leonards Society said: “The founder and designer of St Leonards-on-Sea deserves a memorial apart from the town itself.”

Ms Rudd added: “This was a wonderful celebration of a family that had such vision and talent and left a wonderful legacy in St Leonards.”

The Year of James Burton will continue with a varied programme of events, including a talk on Monday, September 26 by the Hastings Museum archivist on their Burton collection, and will end with a Grand Ball on July 28, 2012, at the Royal Victoria Hotel.