Alfred Purssell is Gertrude Purssell’s (Lady O’B) father. He is one of nine children of Roger Purssell and Charlotte Peachey as shown by this copy from a family bible. Alfred himself had seven children. Five girls and two boys
- Alfred Joseph
The Purssells were variously described as confectioners, bakers, tea importers, and by 1871, Alfred described himself as a wine merchant. In the census in 1881, he is living in Clapham as a widower, with five servants. (a housekeeper, cook, housemaid, parlourmaid, and a children’s maid.)
Alfred was also a member of the Court of Common Council in the City for many years. He was a Trustee of the Bridge House Estates, who were responsible for building Tower Bridge as shown on the plaque on the north side of the bridge.
He is listed as a guarantor of the International Exhibition of 1862 – not the Great Exhibition (£100), which also lists him as a Member of the Society of Arts, and he is listed as a founder of Westminster Cathedral.
As part of the initial search for who was who in the photos, I also traced this print in the London Metropolitan Archives, which confirmed that our picture was Alfred.
And then finally from the Tablet, Page 22, 22nd February 1930
Mr. Purssell served for many years as a member of the Court of Common Council for the Ward of Cornhill, of which the present Lord Mayor is Alderman. If memory serves, he was Chairman of the Bridge House Estate Committee when the Tower Bridge was opened.
Not quite true; he was on the committee, but not the chairman. But he was at the opening ceremony.