WOOLMORE, John (1755-1837), of Hampton, Mdx. and Kingsterndale, Derbys.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1806 - 1807

Family and Education

b. 1755. m. (1) lic. 28 Dec. 1778, Margaret Wickham née Mason of St. Dunstan, Stepney, Mdx., s.p.; (2) 14 Jan. 1790, Harriet, da. of John Turner of Limehouse, London, sis. of Charles Hampden Turner of Rooks Nest, Godstone, Surr., s.p. Kntd. 27 Mar. 1834; KCH 1834.

Offices Held

Entered E.I. Co. navy 1766, ret. as capt. 1782.

Dep. chairman E.I. Dock Co. 1803-19, 1822-4, 1827-32, chairman 1826-7, 1830-1, 1834-5; elder, Trinity House 1803, dep. master 1825-34; dir. R. Exchange Assurance Co. 1811.


Woolmore’s origins are obscure. He went out to India in 1766 in the Company naval service, rising ‘from a boy to the command’. From 1782 until 1787 he was part owner in command of a ‘country ship’ trading from Bengal to Coromandel and subsequently to Malaya and China. On his return home he became a prominent ‘ships-husband’ in London, owning seven vessels trading in the East Indies. He was a partner of the leading man in this sphere, Robert Wigram I*, like whom he signed the London declaration of support for Pitt in 1795, and also of his brother-in-law Charles Hampden Turner in marketing Huddart’s patent cables from 1800. On 6 May 1803 he was elected deputy chairman of the committee for constructing the East India Docks and he served the Dock Company in that capacity for many years.1 In 1806 his investment in East India Company stock entitled him to three votes for the directorate.

In 1806 Woolmore secured a seat in Parliament, purchased from the Earl of Abingdon’s trustees. He was apparently a friend of the Grenville administration. No speech is known, but he was listed ‘friendly’ to the abolition of the slave trade and on 9 Apr. 1807 voted for Brand’s motion following the dismissal of the ministry. At the election of 1807 his candidature for Sandwich was announced, but abandoned in favour of St. Ives, where he was defeated in partnership with Charles Cockerell*, another East Indian, connected with the Marquess Wellesley. His agent at St. Ives described him, 14 Aug. 1807, as a ministerial man.2 There is no evidence that he again attempted to enter Parliament.

On 14 Apr. 1813 Woolmore gave evidence to the House on East Indian trade. He assured them that he had no interest to declare, beyond East India stock, being no longer a shipowner or merchant. In his view the Far East was not a good market for British manufactures.3 He died 2 Dec. 1837, ‘aged 82’. He mentioned no children in his will. He was ‘one of the last men in London society to wear a pig tail’.4

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: J. W. Anderson


  • 1. Parl. Deb. xxv. 910; R. S. Wigram, Wigram Fam. (1912), 81, 108; C. Hardy, Reg. E.I. Shipping, 106; C. N. Parkinson, Trade in the Eastern Seas 1793-1813, pp. 188, 260.
  • 2. The Times, 30 Apr. 1807; NLS mss 3795, f. 179.
  • 3. Parl. Deb. xxv. 910-28.
  • 4. Gent. Mag. (1838), i. 106; Wigram, 109; PCC 55 Nicholl.