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Aickman, Robert Fordyce (1914–1981), writer and campaigner for inland waterways, was born on 27 June 1914 at 77 Fellows Road, Hampstead, London, the only child of William Arthur Aickman (1858-1941), an architect, and his wife, Mabel Violet (1890–1943), daughter of ...

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Anderson, Arthur (1792–1868), shipowner, was born at Grimista, near Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on 19 February 1792, the eldest son of Robert Anderson. After a brief education from a local minister, his earliest employment was as a ‘beach boy’, preparing dried fish. In 1808 he joined the ...

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Bates, Sir Percy Elly, fourth baronet (1879–1946), merchant and shipowner, was born at Beechenhurst, Wavertree, Liverpool, on 12 May 1879, the second of seven sons of Edward Percy Bates (1845–1899), who became second baronet, and his wife, Constance Elisabeth, daughter of Samuel Robert Graves...

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Beardmore, William, Baron Invernairn (1856–1936), engineer and shipbuilder, was born on 16 October 1856 at Deptford, the eldest son of William Beardmore and his wife, Sophia Louisa Halkman. His father was assistant manager of the Deptford works of the General Steam Navigation Company...

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Bell, Henry (1767–1830), hotelier and developer of steam navigation, was born at Torphichen Mill, Linlithgowshire, on 7 April 1767, the fifth son of Patrick Bell and his wife, Margaret Easton. He was educated at the village school and then in Falkirk. Despite the reputation of Scottish schools, his education served him badly and for the rest of his life he was unable to spell and made many grammatical errors in his extensive correspondence. At the age of thirteen he was apprenticed as a stonemason and then in 1783 as a millwright—two trades much in demand at a time when Scottish industry was growing rapidly. In 1786 he began work in the shipyard of ...

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J. Brown

revised by Anthony Slaven

Bell, Sir Thomas (1865–1952), engineer and shipbuilder, was born on 21 December 1865 at Sirsawa in India, the son of Imrie Bell, a consultant engineer specializing in the design of lighthouses, and his wife, Jane Walker of Edinburgh. His early education was undertaken at the ...

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Blogg, Henry George (1876–1954), lifeboat coxswain, was born in Cromer on 6 February 1876, the son of Ellen Blogg. He was educated at the Goldsmiths' School, Cromer, where he proved quick at learning and revealed an unusually retentive memory. He took no part in games, failed to defend himself against bullying, and never learned to swim. When nearly twelve he began life as a longshore fisherman. In 1894 he joined the ...

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Booth, Charles (1840–1916), shipowner and social investigator, was born on 30 March 1840 at 27 Bedford North Street, Liverpool. He was the third son of Charles Booth (1799–1860), a prosperous corn merchant, and his first wife, Emily Fletcher (1803–1853). Both his parents were Unitarians, and had wide connections among the commercial, dissenting, and philanthropic ‘aristocracy’ of ...

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Broodbank, Sir Joseph Guinness (1857–1944), docks administrator and public servant, was born on 15 July 1857 at Poplar, London, the eldest son of Caleb Broodbank, accountant, of Folkestone, and his wife, Sarah, daughter of Captain Thomas Coburn, merchant navy, of Poplar. In 1872 he entered the service of the ...

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Butterworth, William (1769–1834), slave-ship sailor and engraver, was born on 2 October 1769 at 55 Kirkgate, Leeds, Yorkshire, the second of five children of the Leeds engraver and copperplate printer John Butterworth, who had set up in business in Leeds in 1758. William...

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Chichester, Sir Francis Charles (1901–1972), navigator and sailor, was born on 17 September 1901 at Shirwell, Devon, the younger son (there were later two daughters) of Charles Chichester, vicar of Shirwell, seventh son of the eighth baronet, and his wife, Emily Annie, the daughter of ...

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Clifford, George, third earl of Cumberland (1558–1605), courtier and privateer, was born on 8 August 1558 in Brougham Castle, Westmorland, the eldest son of Henry Clifford, second earl of Cumberland (1517–1570), and his second wife, Anne (c.1538–1581), daughter of William, third Baron Dacre...

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Conrad, Joseph [formerly Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski] (1857–1924), master mariner and author, was born on 3 December 1857 at Berdyczów in Ukraine.

Conrad was the only child of ...

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Cunard, Sir Samuel, first baronet (1787–1865), shipowner, was born on 21 November 1787 at Halifax, Nova Scotia, the son of Abraham Cunard, merchant, of Philadelphia, and his wife, Margaret Murphy. Both parents came from Loyalist families whose fathers were in shipping before they fled to ...

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Currie, Sir Donald (1825–1909), shipowner, was born on 17 September 1825 at Greenock, the third son of James Currie (1797–1851), a barber, and Elizabeth (1798–1839), daughter of Donald Martin. The family moved from Greenock to Belfast in 1826, where they belonged to the conservative Presbyterian congregation in ...

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Deane, Sir Anthony (c. 1638–1720?), shipbuilder, was born in Harwich, the son of Anthony Deane (d. 1659), master mariner. He served his apprenticeship as a shipwright under Christopher Pett, master shipwright at Woolwich and one of the family which dominated the naval dockyards of the period. The distinction between the ship designer, or ‘naval architect’, and the practical shipbuilder was not clear at that time, but ...

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Denny, Sir Maurice Edward, second baronet (1886–1955), engineer and shipbuilder, was born at Braehead, Dumbarton, on 11 February 1886, the eldest son of Archibald Denny (1860–1936) and Margaret Tulloch. Maurice Denny was the third generation of the family in control of shipbuilding at ...

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Dollar, Robert McVey (1844–1932), shipowner and philanthropist, was born at Falkirk, Stirlingshire, on 20 March 1844 (and baptized there on 5 April), the eldest son of William Dollar (d. 1873) and his wife, Mary Wilson, née Melville (1814/15–1853). His father managed the timber yard of his father-in-law, ...

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Drake, Sir Francis (1540–1596), pirate, sea captain, and explorer, was born about February or March 1540 in Crowndale, near Tavistock, Devon, the eldest of five known children of Edmund Drake (d. 1566) of Tavistock. Edmund's wife is unknown, though she may have been named ...

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Dudley, Sir Robert (1574–1649), mariner and landowner, was born at Sheen House, Richmond, Surrey, on 7 August 1574, the son of Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester (1532/3–1588), and Douglas Sheffield (née Howard), Lady Sheffield (1542/3–1608). The status of his birth, which was to become the leading obsession of his life, is still debated, as are the circumstances of his early life, due in part to his own deliberate exaggerations and falsifications. Despite his mother's later claim that she refused to surrender him to ...