Mr Thomas Maddison Clemence

South Shields Borough Surveyor. 1858-1868


Clemence was born in London and baptised in St Marylebone on 27 May 1827 and in 1851 he was lodging in Bath as an architectural draughtsman, so he may have been working for Bath City Council. In 1856 he was based in Westminster when he contributed a piece to The Engineer, 14 March 1856 illustrating an improved omnibus. He was appointed to South Shields from an unknown post in Bradford in April 1858 when he was added to the list of candidates on the recommendation of Ayris who said the Clemence, who he had worked with over a number of years, was more able than he was. This may mean that Clemence was also associated with Lynde, but it is not clear whether his previous career had been in public service or private practice. South Shields Council allowed him to pursue an extensive private practice in parallel with his public office and he was effectively the only architect in South Shields at the time. Critics argued that this led him to neglect his council duties and deterred independent practices in the town as Clemence could influence Council decisions over approval of any proposed building. It was claimed that Oliver & Lamb had left South Shields because of this circumstance. His supporters argued that the town was lucky to have such an able architect and surveyor at the low salary of £200 pa which was subsidised by his private practice. South Shields had no need to use outsiders at extra cost as North Shields had to do when its sewerage scheme was designed by Robert Rawlinson. Shortly before he retired a sanitary inspector was appointed so Clemence gave up his position of Inspector of Nuisances.

He was a founder member of the Northern Architectural Association in 1858. Much of his council work was to improve the streets in the central area of the town. He retired in October 1868 after a year of illness and after becoming affected with paralysis, possible as the result of a stroke, he was confined to Winterton Asylum in Sedgefield. He was succeeded as Surveyor by his pupil and assistant, Matthew Hall.  He had married Alice Riley (b.1837) in Halifax in 1857 and they had two sons and two daughters of whom Thomas Riley Clemence (b.1863) trained as an architect.  Clemence died at the early age of 42 on 28 January 1869 in Sedgefield, though his family remained in South Shields and he was buried at St Hilda Churchyard. His will was proved at £800 and his obituary described him as “scholarly and gentlemanly”. He must have been a freemason as one daughter was educated at the Royal Masonic School.


1860                South Shields, Quay & River Improvements. [TWAS,          D.NCP/4/126; DCRO, Q/D/P/251]

1861                South Shields, Market Place. (enlarged and opened up)

[Hodgson, Borough of S Shields, 1903, p.204]

1861-2             South Shields, Ocean Road.

[Hodgson, Borough of S Shields, 1903, p.204]

1862-3             South Shields, New Road, Leam Lane-Don Bridge, Jarrow.

[Hodgson, Borough of S Shields, 1903, p.204]

1863-4             South Shields, Customs House & Shipping Office, Mill Dam.

[Salmon, SS, Past, Present & Future, 1866, p.40 + plate; B,22, 30 July                   1864, p.571; NC, 28 Aug 1863, p.5; SDG, 18 July 1864, p.3]

1864-5             Jarrow Sewerage Scheme for Jarrow Local Board.

[B,22, 4 June 1864, p.424]

1866-9             South Shields, Winterbottom Marine & Technical College, Ocean Rd.

(supervised + completed by TA Page)

[SDN, 5 July 1866, p.2; 23 Ap 1867, p.3 + 19 Oct 1868, p.4; BN,14, 26                  Ap 1867, p.297; BN,16, 15 Jan 1869, p.66; Pevsner, Durham, 1983,               p.419]

nd                    South Shields, Railway Extension to Mile End Rd.

(not accepted by railway company)

[Hodgson, Borough of South Shields, 1903, p.398]

Private Practice

1864                North Shields, Hedley’s Workshops, Union St.

[TWAS, CB.TY/BC/15/9/86-7]

1865                South Shields, Hedley’s Drapery Shop. (alterations & additions)

[SDN, 7 Jan 1865, p.1]

1865-6             South Shields, Theatre Royal, King St. (1st Clemence designed the                          façade and CJ Phipps the interior)

[SDG, 22 Ap 1865, p.2; B,23, 29 Ap 1865; SDN, 11 May 1866, p.2;                        Hodgson, Borough of S Shields, 1903, p.456-7]

1866-7             Rothbury, Hotel. (construction supervised by M Greener)

[SDG, 19 Oct 1867, p.4; NC, 9 Nov 1866, p.2]

1867                South Shields, Hedley’s Premises, Market Place.

(alterations & additions) [SDG, 4 May 1867, p.1]

1867-8             South Shields, Adam & Eve Inn, Laygate Lane. (rebuild)

[SDG, 24 May 1867, p.2]

1867-8             South Shields, 12 King St.(rebuild-next to theatre)

[SDG, 23 Ap 1867, p.2]


Builder, 27, 6 February 1869, p.116. Obituary.

North & South Shields Gazette, 28 January 1858, p.4.  Appointment