William Douglas Dugdale

Served as Mayor: 1885, 1886

A bankrupted Mayor

After a successful time as a Poole Alderman, and County Councillor, and 20 years a Harbour Trustee, he spoke unsuccessfully for Poole Corporation at a Bill promoted in the House of Lords to the Select Committee, in March 1895, and this resulted in the creation of Poole Harbour Commissioners. He came from a leading Wareham family of ironmongers and landowners.

His father died in 1842 when William was a boy, and as an only son he inherited the family's wealth. In 1872 he sold his Wareham property and bought Sterte House in Longfleet aged 37. He invested the major part of his fortune in old established Dorchester ironmongers, Galpin and Co.

After years of stability, the serious agricultural depression had an adverse effect on the company which went into liquidation, losing the bulk of Dugdale's fortune. In 1884 he had advanced £10,000 on mortgage to the Ultramarine Blue Company, to manufacture ultramarine and finishing blue, which two years later he foreclosed the mortgage and took over the company at Hamworthy. He turned the company into a private partnership, on land leased from the Corporation. The business failed, and he was personally liable. He also lost money in the Poole, Baltic and Quebec company in 1889. Bankrupted he left Sterte House early in 1900.

He owed much to his Conservative colleagues, and for all his Masonic charity work, and work on the Board of Guardians, he was not a popular man with the electorate.

Contact details


01202 633200

Mayor’s Office
Borough of Poole
Civic Centre
BH15 2RU 

Page last updated: 17 December 2019
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