Index ... Sir William Crundall and Woodside

Woodside, at the junction of London Road and Whitfield Hill, now a Residential Home, was once the home of Sir William Crundall, a wealthy local businessman and former Mayor.

"On the northern side (of London Road), at Kearsney, is the Railway Hotel, adjoining which is Kearsney Avenue, extending up the Whitfield Valley, and connected with the Whitfield Road; and fronting the main road is the Kearsney Temperence Hotel, and other large residences in ample grounds, the last of which, situate on the Dover side of Whitfield Hill, is Woodside, the residence of Sir William Crundall, a Borough and County Magistrate, who during his residence here has been twelve times Mayor of Dover, and who is mainly entitled to the credit for the modern improvements and enlargements of Dover Harbour.  From Woodside to Crabble Hill there are no houses on the north side of the road, it being margined by a hill that slopes up to Old Park."   (JBJ 1907)

Timber merchant, property  developer and twelve times Mayor of Dover (including the periods 1887-9 and 1892-4), Sir William Crundall was very influential in local politics and did much to shape the town.

A member of the Conservative party, Crundall served as the Council representative on the Dover Harbour Board until he was sacked from the Board following a row with the Liberal Chairman of the Board, Lord Granville.

Following his removal from the Board, Sir William tried, and almost succeeded, to gain control of the Harbour for the local Council, but the case was stopped by the House of Lords.  He was later to become Chairman of the Board.

In the early 1900s, he managed to persuade Kaiser Wilhelm to use Dover as a port of call for German Atlantic liners.

For a photo of Sir William Crundall, see Smith (p.117).

Sir William was honoured by the Harbour Board in 1906, when they named one of the steam locomotives used to haul trains along the sea front and through the docks after him (see photo in Hollingsbee).

Lady Crundall was also honoured by the Harbour Board in 1906 when they named one of their tugs after her.  My grandfather, William George Sharp, went to South Shields in November of that year to collect her from the shipyard.  His wages as an Ordinary Seaman at that time were 15s a week, with 1 per cent of any salvage.

The picture above shows the Lady Crundall steaming into the Commercial Harbour, with the Prince of Wales Pier behind.  I believe that the skipper on the bridge is my great grandfather, also William George Sharp. (see DHB Tugs for more pictures of the Lady Crundall and other Harbour Board vessels.)

 


"In marked contrast with those early Dourside industries, the timber business and sawmills of Messrs. William Crundall and Co., established on this spot about 50 years ago, has steadily grown every year in increasing ratio, until it has become one of the great commercial undertakings of the Kingdom.  The parent stem, in Wood Street, is all that properly comes within the scope of this article, but it should be stated that it has other great centres of activity in London, Queensborough, and Southampton, while its operations have extended from time to time to all parts of the British Empire.  In Dover, the laying out of the Clarendon Estate, now one of the most populous parts of the town, was commenced by this firm about thirty years ago.  A few years later they laid out the Dover Castle Estate, and later they undertook the Barton Estate.  In the earlier days of these undertakings Sir William Crundall, the present head of the firm, took active part with his father, and in later years he has been in sole control."   (J.B.J. 1907)

 

Crundall's timber yard was still operating from the Wellington Dock in the 1960s, occupying the corner of the quayside by Northampton Street.  I can remember going there as a boy with my father to buy timber for various DIY projects.

The business was taken over some time later before being swept away, along with many other homes and businesses, when Snargate Street was widened to form the new A20 to the Eastern Docks.


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 Information about Sir William Crundall taken from Smith (1988) and Hollingsbee (2000)
"Lady Crundall" photo courtesy of Mr. David Dixon