J. Havelock Wilson

(1858—1929) trade unionist and politician

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(1858–1929), trade unionist and politician. Joseph Havelock Wilson was born in Sunderland on August 16, 1858, to John Blenkin Wilson, a foreman draper, and Hannah Wilson. His father died when he was three; his mother supported him and his five siblings by opening a greengrocery and later a small boardinghouse. At age six Wilson sold newspapers; after three years at the Boys’ British School in Sunderland, he became an errand boy at age nine. When he was thirteen he was apprenticed to a lithographic printer, but he ran away to sea after a few months. After completing several short voyages, he obtained another apprenticeship, this time with Sanderson, a Sunderland shipowner. Wilson worked his way up from cabin boy to second mate in various kinds of vessels. His usual rating was as able-bodied seaman (AB)/cook, and he also served five years in the Royal Naval Reserve as an AB. He was still in the coastal trade when he married Jane Anne Watham at the Monkwearmouth Parish Church on March 30, 1879. He came ashore in 1882 and eventually opened Wilson’s Temperance Hotel and Dining Rooms.


From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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