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British Industrial History

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Thomas Henry Ismay

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1899. Thomas Henry Ismay.

Thomas Henry Ismay (1837-1899), founder of T. H. Ismay and Co

1837 Born 7 January 1837

1862 After Nelson, Ismay and Co closed, Thomas Henry Ismay set up T. H. Ismay and Co, with offices at 10 Water Street, Liverpool. The business mainly consisted of running sailing ships to Central and South America

1867 Ismay entered the steam trade by becoming a director of the National Steam Navigation Co, a transatlantic line.

1867 Ismay purchased the goodwill of the bankrupt White Star Line, which ran clippers to Australia, putting his own iron ships into this trade. The purchase included a flag design of a white star on a red ground.

By 1868 Messrs. Ismay had embarked upon a policy of larger ships.

1869 Ismay, in partnership with an old friend and fellow-apprentice, William Imrie, (presumably as Ismay Imrie and Co), formed the Oceanic Steam Navigation Co, backed by Gustavus Schwabe, a Liverpool merchant, on condition that all their ships would be ordered from Harland and Wolff (Schwabe's nephew, Gustav Wilhelm Wolff, had recently joined with Edward James Harland in their shipbuilding business in Belfast).

1871 Ismays began running their steamers regularly between Liverpool and New York on the north Atlantic passenger trade.

1899 Died on 23 November



Obituary (1837-1899)[1]

"...T. H. lsmay died on the 23rd of November, at his residence in Cheshire, of heart failure. He was born in Cumberland in 1837, and in early life he entered the service of Imrie, Tomlinson, and Co., of Liverpool. This was a considerable shipping firm and in their service Mr. Ismay acquired much knowledge of service to him subsequently. We next hear of him in partnership with Mr. Nelson, and then in business on his own account. The work being done by the National Steamship Company led him to believe that there was room for yet further additions to the Atlantic fleet. The result of this conviction was the celebrated White Star Line. For several years a White Star Line of clipper sailing ships had been in prosperous existence. Steam threatened to supersede it. In 1867 the managing..."More.






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Sources of Information

  • Biography of T H Ismay [1]