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SHAREHOLDERS OF THE SOMERSETSHIRE COAL CANAL

 

Eleazer Pickwick

 

Baptised at Freshford 2nd February in either 1748 or 9. (The entry is marked "of Limpley Stoke")

Married at St Michael's Bath 17th August 1775 to Susanna Combs.

Died 8th December 1837 at 10 Queen Square, Bath

Buried 15th December 1837 at Bathford.

 

Eleazer Pickwick: Victoria Art Gallery, Bath and North East Somerset Council

In 1779, Eleazer Pickwick started a stage-coach business based on the White Hart Inn in Stall Street, the latter being run (in partnership) by his nephew Moses Pickwick. The fame of the White Hart Inn and the name of Pickwick remain immortalised in the works of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.

This coaching business became one of the largest and most successful in the West of England, from which Eleazer made a considerable private fortune over a period of 40 years. He was, in effect, a 'millionaire' of his day, being worth £20,000 at his death, and invested in other local projects, notably the Sydney Gardens pleasure ground in Bathwick, opened in 1795. As well as his residence in Queen Square, he owned property and farmland elsewhere in the neighbourhood of Bath, and boundary stones marked 'EP' can still be seen in the old common fields in Upper Swainswick.

 

Eleazer Pickwick was one of the original Proprietors of the Somersetshire Coal Canal, named in the first S.C.C. Act of Parliament in 1794. A copy of his share certificate, No 460 of 1794, is reproduced on page 50 of "The Somersetshire Coal Canal and Railways" by K.R. Clew. He served on the S.C.C. Committee and it was at his White Hart Inn that the S.C.C. meetings were convened. When the first load of coal from Camerton Colliery reached Dunkerton in October 1798, it was Pickwick's team of horses which drew it into Bath.

 

His rôle in the construction of the S.C.C. was crucial, without him it is possible that the SCC would never have been finished. In 1802 the bankers Hobhouse, Clutterbuck, Phillott & Lowder had refused to lend any further money to the S.C.C. and it was Eleazer Pickwick who provided the necessary £10,000. In 1803 he was appointed treasurer to the S.C.C. and lent a further £11,000. In subscribing to the Lock Fund he once again played a crucial role in rescuing the S.C.C. , finally setting it up as a profitable operation which was to last for nearly 100 years.

 

Eleazer Pickwick was a Freeman of Bath, he served as a Councillor in 1819, and eventually as Alderman & Mayor of the city in 1826.

 

 

 

 

  

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