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Samuel Isger was born in 1836 in Frome, Somerset, England. He was the youngest of 10 children. His father and mother both died in the 1840's and that was the probable cause for the younger male siblings to move away from Frome, probably in search of work. His elder brother, John had moved on from Frome before 1841 and in 1851 Samuel is located in Brighton working as an errand boy at the age of 15 whilst John lived in nearby Lewes. Samuel joined the Royal Navy in 1852 at the age of 16 years and served on a number of ships as an able seaman.

On joining the Navy, he was described as 5 feet, 1 inch in height with grey eyes and a fair complexion. His conduct throughout his Navy career is described as ' very good' by each Commander he served under.

In September 1852 he was on board HMS Victory which was anchored in Portsmouth harbour as a training ship. He served on HMS London, a wooden two decker and was probably a crew member when the ship took part in the bombardment of Fort Constantine at Sevastopol during the Crimean War. He then saw service on a number of ships participating in the 2nd Anglo Chinese War - the Opium War. He served on HMS Nanking whilst it was the flagship of Commander Keith Stewart. He was also part of the crew on HMS Hannibal, the flagship of Rear Admiral George Munday, Mediterranean Fleet. On the 11 July 1859 he was invalided out of the Royal Navy from the Royal Haslar Hospital diagnosed with phthisis, a wasting disease.

After leaving the Royal Navy, at the age of 23 he returned to Brighton where, in the 1861 census, he is listed as living in Brighton as head of a household with his elder sister, Elizabeth Holford also in residence. His employment was as a cellarman. Also in residence is Louisa Rideout, employed as a servant. On 14 December 1862, Samuel and Louisa married. They set up home at 28 Osbourne Street, Hove which Samuel owned.

In November 1863, Samuel got a job as a porter at Brighton railway station. In 1866 he gained promotion and his earnings rose by two shillings to one pound weekly. Records show that he was dismissed in 1867 for giving a false statement but that did not seem to hold his progress back.

In 1871 he and Louisa were living at Sussex Road, Hove and Samuel had become a general dealer. By 1881, they had moved to 9 Goldstone Road, Hove and he is listed as a retired general dealer. Retiring at the age of 45 years seems to indicate that he had been a successful businessman. There were no children in the marriage. Louisa died in 1893 and in 1894 Samuel married Sarah Mansfield, an Irish lady some 16 years his junior.

After retiring in 1881, Samuel immediately became involved in the local political scene in Hove and he served on the Education Authority from 1888 to 1914. He was elected Mayor of Hove in 1903 as a Liberal Unionist candidate.He was 86 years old when he died which is quite remarkable, considering he was invalided out of the Royal Navy with a ' nasty affliction'.

From Matelot to Mayor

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