Charles John Mare
Member of Parliament
for Plymouth
In office
9 July 1852 – 10 May 1853
Serving with Robert Collier
Preceded byHugh Fortescue
Roundell Palmer
Succeeded byRobert Collier
Roundell Palmer
Personal details
Staffordshire, UK
Died (aged 82)
Political partyConservative

Charles John Mare (1815 – 8 February 1898)[1] was a British Conservative politician, and shipbuilder.[2]


In 1844, Mare married Mary ńee Rolt, daughter of Conservative MP for Greenwich (1852–1857) Peter Rolt, and they had at least two sons, Charles J.[2] and John.[3]


Born in Staffordshire, Mare travelled to London where he started training to be a solicitor in Doctors' Commons but, upon his father's death in 1835, he leased the family home in Cheshire to form shipbuilding firm Ditchburn and Mare with Thomas J. Ditchburn on the Thames. They established a yard at Dudman's Creek, Deptford where they started building iron ships.[4]

In 1838, their yard was completely destroyed by fire. It was suspected arson by rival wooden shipbuilders. They moved the business to the Orchard House Yard, Canning Town, taking over the premises of the recently bankrupt firm of William and Benjamin Wallis.[5]

After Ditchburn's retirement in 1846, Mare continued to run the firm, and expanded the company on the west side of Bow Creek, before dissolving the partnership in 1847. The following year, he was accused in court of threatening Ditchburn but the accusations also went the other way and the case was dismissed.[2]

In 1855, Mare found himself in financial difficulties due to several government contracts. It culminated in Mare declaring insolvency,[6] Mare's father-in-law took over the firm and renamed it Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Co.[7]

Following the bankruptcy, Mare managed the shipbuilding company belonging to W. & H. Pitcher at Northfleet until it also failed in 1857. By 1859 he had found sufficient backing to re-establish himself, this time as C.J. Mare and Co, Millwall.[8]

Mare's business expanded and, in 1861 he took over the part of Napier's yard which John Scott Russell had unsuccessfully used to attempt to re-establish his own shipbuilding enterprise. It remained in Mare's name until being bought out by Overend, Gurney and Company in 1862.[8]

Subsequently he did not thrive financially, was bankrupted again in 1874 and died destitute in Stepney.[9]

Political career

Mare was first elected Conservative MP for Plymouth in 1852, but was the next year unseated for bribery and corruption during the election campaign.[10][11]


  1. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "P" (part 2)
  2. ^ a b c "Charles John Mare". Grace's Guide to British Industrial History. 4 August 2017. Archived from the original on 25 June 2018. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  3. ^ 1861 England Census
  4. ^ Arnold, AJ, 2000, Iron Shipbuilding on the Thames 1832-1915, Ashgate, Aldershot, p27
  5. ^ Arnold, AJ, 2000, Iron Shipbuilding on the Thames 1832-1915, Ashgate, Aldershot, p28
  6. ^ "Court of Bankruptcy". The Times. 23 January 1857. p. 11.
  7. ^ Crouch, Archer Philip (1900). Silvertown and neighbourhood (including East and West Ham) a retrospect. London: T Burleigh. pp. 61–63. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  8. ^ a b Arnold, AJ, 2000, Iron Shipbuilding on the Thames 1832-1915, Ashgate, Aldershot, p85
  9. ^ The Globe, 18 February 1898, p4, column D
  10. ^ "The Plymouth Election Committee". York Herald. 14 May 1853. p. 5. Retrieved 25 June 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  11. ^ Craig, F. W. S., ed. (1977). British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885 (e-book) (1st ed.). London: Macmillan Press. ISBN 978-1-349-02349-3.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hugh Fortescue
Roundell Palmer
Member of Parliament for Plymouth
With: Robert Collier
Succeeded by
Robert Collier
Roundell Palmer