Charles Castleman, founder of the Corkscrew Railway. He was born in the town in Allendale House to a well off merchant family, his father founding a bank. Charles Castleman and his two other brothers all became solicitors, with Charles practising in Wimborne.
Charles Castleman used a great deal of dexterity in handling the rival railway companies of Great Western and London and South Western. He persuaded both locals and Londoners, including Parliament, to back his idea for the railway. By doing so, he was able to connect the small settlements between Southampton and Dorchester, bringing benefit and trade to them.
He got his wish in 1847 when the Corkscrew Railway, the affectionate name for the Southampton and Dorchester Railway, opened for business. In 1855 he became the Chairman of LSWR.
A smuggling connection
The Castleman family had a close connection with the late 18th and early 19th century Dorset smuggling trade. Smuggling became a widespread and highly organised enterprise during this time. Heavy taxes had been levied on imported goods such as tea, brandy, tobacco, and silk. Taxes were raised to pay for the many wars being fought over European dominance and influence.
Issac Gulliver who ended his life in Wimborne was a leading smuggler or “free trader” in the late 18th century. He settled in Wimborne after he was pardoned and became the churchwarden of Wimborne Minster. His daughter married the business partner of Charles Castleman’s father. Their daughter married Charles Castleman’s brother.