S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Aiken, Mr James Burnett (geology)

Born: Date not known, Place not known.
Died: 1 May 1900, South Africa.

James B Aiken was a partner in the Durban firm Palmer & Aiken, accountants and agents, and served on the Durban town council during 1881-1883. From 1879 he was honorary secretary of the Natal Agricultural and Horticultural Society (1848-1883). By Law 21 of 1883 (Colony of Natal), the members of this society were constituted a corporation under the name "The Durban Botanic Society", with the object of maintaining the Natal Botanic Gardens "for the introduction, cultivation, propagation, and distribution of plants of every climate". As honorary secretary of this new society (to 1884 only), Aiken forwarded its first annual report to the Colonial Secretary in 1884, outlining the developments leading up to the name change.

By 1890 Aiken was listed as residing at Ruthville estate in Lower uMzimkhulu (Transkei). In 1893 J B Aiken and D C Aiken published an 11 page pamphlet on The marbles, lime and cement of lower Umzimkulu, Natal in Pietermaritzburg. It was also published in the Natal Almanac for 1894 (pp. 593-599). A few years later, in 1898, their collection of marbles and vein calcite from Lower uMzimkhulu was donated to the South African Museum.

Aiken was married to Emily Ruth Aiken (born Ridge).

List of sources:
Broome, W. (ed.) The laws of Natal (Vol. 3, 1879-1889). Pietermaritzburg: Government Printer, 1890.

Cape of Good Hope. Report of the trustees of the South African Museum, 1898.

Durban Botanic Society, 1882-1897. (Volume of reports). Don Africana Library, Durban, classification no. 590.744.

Henderson, W.P.M. Durban: Fifty years municipal history. Durban: Robinson, 1904.

Natal almanac, directory, and yearly register, 1879-1885. Pietermaritzburg: P Davis & Sons.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Dcuments relating to James Burnett Aiken.

Pietermaritzburg Archives Repository. Source CSO, Vol. 943, Ref. 88/1884: Papers and letters relating to the Durban Botanic Society.

Wyley, C. A bibliography of contemporary writings on the natural history of Natal and Zululand in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Journal of Natal and Zulu History, 1990/1, Vol. 13, pp. 91-110.

Compiled by: C. Plug