William Mecham, 1853 – 1902, was a cartoonist and performer, taking the stage and pen name Tom Merry.
He was a professional caricaturist who gave lightning cartoon presentations on the music hall stage, and was the first celebrity of any kind to appear in a British film.
His connection with Benfleet is slightly tenuous in that, in the process of illustrating Augustus Daly’s “History of Canvey Island,” he died suddenly at Benfleet Railway Station. There is a substantial write-up on the Canvey Community Archive site.
The illustrations are from Daly’s book, courtesy of Yvette Layzell.