Burnard Close

In a group of streets in Southway named after prominent Victorian figures in Plymouth society, we find Burnard Close, named after Robert Burnard, whose father Charles had a founder of the Cattedown chemical firm of Burnard, Lack and Alger.

Robert Burnard was born in 1848 and was one of the first pupils to be educated at Mannamead School (which merged with Plymouth College in 1896), from there he went to London where he studied at the Royal College of Chemistry.

In time Robert became the managing director of Burnard and Alger (as the firm became) and they carried out an extensive business on the Plymouth side of the Cattewater. Thousands of pounds were spent dredging there to allow better access and an old ship and pre-historic caves were found in the process and Burnard gave talks to the Athenaeum about the finds. He also wrote about, walked across, and photographed, Dartmoor, in great detail and was a founder of the Dartmoor Preservation Society. A JP, married, with a family, Burnard’s “sturdy figure” was well-known in Plymouth, it was his father though who served the town as Mayor.