Charles Woosnam
Known as the Grand Old Man of Southend Mr Charles Woosnam, JP, died in 1906, aged 91. The son of a Leadenhall Street wine merchant, he came to Southend in 1833 when the population of Prittlewell parish was 2,000. In 1836 he became proprietor of the Ship Inn which was then a coaching station and stage coaches left there every morning for the Bull at Aldgate. He saw Southend’s first pier being constructed in 1847 and was a member of the original Local Board formed in 1866. He played the chief part in the foundation of the Southend Gas Company in 1854, two years before the railway reached Southend, and was chairman of the company for many years. He became a J.P. on the formation of the borough bench in 1894 and was an Overseer for Prittlewell for nearly thirty years. He was a founder of Alexandra Yacht Club and Priory Lodge of Freemasons. In 1790, in addition to the Royal Hotel, two others were built, the Duke of York and the Duke of Clarence. They were in what is now the High Street, but there was not sufficient patronage to keep them as hotels and York House became the centre of Mr Woosnam’s wine business and Clarence House was occupied by Dr Jones. Mr Woosnam was buried in Southchurch churchyard and there is a stained glass window in the church to his memory.
Alexandra Yacht Club
Ship Hotel
1909 The Woosnam business still trading with his son at the helm

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