Record

RepositoryArchives
Reference NumberP/WLM
LevelFonds
TitlePapers of Father Joseph (Joe) Williamson MBE (1895-1988), Vicar of St Paul's, Dock Street, Whitechapel
Date(s)1914 - 2002
DescriptionPapers of Father Joseph (Joe) Williamson mostly from the 1950s and 1960s. The papers include newspaper cuttings, letters, publications and photographs mainly relating to his work as Vicar of St Paul's, Dock Street and his campaigns to clear the area of slums and help prostitutes.

The papers include some material that post-dates Williamson's death and are effectively papers of his son, Anthony (Tony) Williamson of Oxford. Tony died in 2019.

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Extent33 items
AdminHistoryJoseph Williamson was born at 75 Arcadia Street, Poplar and was drawn to the priesthood from an early age. He was ordained in 1925 and from 1928-1932 served at Grahamstown Cathederal in South Africa. On his return to England he served in various parishes in Leicestershire, Suffolk and Norfolk before returning to East London as vicar of St Paul's, Dock Street, Whitechapel in 1952. At this time the social conditions in the vicinity became a national controversy and Williamson's campaigning on the two issues of slum housing and prostitution made him a national figure. He opened Church House, Wellclose Square as a refuge for girls and women attempting to escape from prostitution and established the Wellclose Square Trust in 1961. He retired from his parish work in 1962 though continuing as Warden of Church House. He was appointed MBE in 1975. He spent his retirement in West Sussex where he died in 1988.
RelatedMaterialRelated material including Williamson's autobiography can be found in the Tower Hamlets Local History Library. See also the Papers of Edith Ramsay (P/RAM) which contain a folder of cuttings collected by Williamson.
Access StatusOpen
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