Friday, June 5, 2015

JEMMY WOOD, first commoner to become millionaire

James Wood 1756-1836

Figure of James Wood
Jemmy was the first commoner to become millionaire, but was famous for being a miser. He is mentioned in Charles Dickens' book "Our Mutual Friend", and may have inspired Dickens to create "Scrooge".
An Eccentric Banker, Draper, Undertaker and Miser?
He made his fortune by running the 'Gloucester Old Bank' in Westgate Street. There were many stories about his meanness including that he dressed in shabby clothes, and even turned down the Mayor's job because of the expense. He was disliked so much that a newspaper reported that crowds jeered and threw stones at his coffin during his funeral in St Mary de Crypt Church. However, he may have been less mean than is generally thought. According to his diaries he had a busy social life, and enjoyed good food.

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