History Of The Sailor's Reading Room
The Sailors' Reading Room was built in memory of a Sea Captain, Charles Rayley RN. He had been in the Royal Navy as a young man. He was out in the West Indies where he fought against privateers. He got a sabre cut across his cheek and for this he was given a gratuity of £80 by some particular magazine at the time, which was a lot of money then.
Later on he went out to the East Indies and was involved in the command of a ship in fighting the pirates in Borneo. I think in one action he lost several men and got the boat fairly well damaged. The next thing was he was on his way back to England as a passenger. He then memorialised the admiralty and retired to Southwold.
He was a Church Warden at one time and generally a well respected man. He married twice and after he died in 1863 his widow had the Sailors' Reading Room built in order to provide somewhere for fishermen and mariners to go to other than the pubs, somewhere they could read things that were good for the soul and drink drink that wasn't going to be harmful to them and their families.
A celebratory text written by Laurence VulliamyDownload the full text