Benjamin Waugh Plaque

On International Children’s Day at the Dissenter’s Chapel at Sutton Road Cemetery, adults and children joined together to honour the founder of the NSPCC, Benjamin Waugh. Members of the Southend Branch of the Essex Society for Family History, the Leigh-on-Sea branch of the Royal British Legion and pupils from the Thorpedene Primary School joined Sir David Amess and the Worshipful the Mayor of Southend-on-Sea and Madam Mayor unveiled a plaque to Benjamin Waugh on the side of the Dissenter's Chapel opposite the burial place and memorial to the great Victorian philanthropist.

Many thanks to Fred and Heather for their hard work and organisation of this event and to Steve Taylor for being such a gracious host. 

The plaque that celebrates the final resting place of one of Britain’s most important Victorian social reformers and philanthropists in Benjamin Waugh who did so much to keep children safe in our country. On July 4th 1884, Waugh co-founded the London Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children that became the NSPCC some five years later, with Benjamin as its first director and Queen Victoria as its first patron. Benjamin Waugh was instrumental in promoting the Anti-Cruelty Act 1889 and instigating several other reforms to the law; he resigned as the director of the NSPCC due to failing health 1905 and moved to Runwell Terrace, Westcliff-on-Sea with his wife Sarah. He died on the 11th March 1908.

The Dissenter’s Chapel at Sutton Road Cemetery was built by the borough so that non-Anglicans would be able to hold a burial ceremony at the cemetery for their loved ones.

Fred Feather of the Essex Society of Family History said, “On his Sutton Road grave there is a quotation by Lord Shaftesbury that ‘ BENJAMIN WAUGH’S NAME WOULD BE HELD IN REVERENCE BY ENGLISHMEN AS LONG AS CHIVALRY AND GOODNESS ENDURETH.’ Thanks to Southend on Sea Council many more people will become aware of his life’s work.”

Steve Taylor at Southend-on-Sea Bereavement services said, “The Council are proud to have worked with Blade Education and the Essex Society for Family History, to enable one of the Borough’s most famous people to be finally officially recognised by the provision of a commemorative plaque on the wall of the Chapel in Sutton Road Cemetery.”

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