Thomas Russell (c.1821-1886)
Thomas Russell (c.1821-1886) of Hall, Russell and Co
"THE LATE MR. THOMAS RUSSELL, SHIPBUILDER AND ENGINEER.
From the Scotch papers we learn of the death of Mr. Thomas Russell, late of the firm of Messrs. Hall, Russell, and Co., shipbuilders and engineers, Aberdeen, at his residence, Bridge of Allan, near Stirling, last Saturday. The deceased, who was sixty-five years of age, and is survived by his widow but no family, was a native of Stirlingshire, and was for a long time connected with the business of Messrs. James and George Thomson, shipbuilders and engineers, Glasgow, to whom he was manager. It may here be mentioned as evidence of the professional ability and personal worth of the deceased, that prior to leaving the service of Messrs. Thomson they offered him a partnership, which, however, he could not at the time see his way to accept. Upwards of twenty years ago Mr. Russell settled down in Aberdeen, entering into partnership with the late Mr. James Hall and Mr. William Hall, senior, who then carried on a large business in building the “clipper” sailing ships which brought such great fame to the “Granite City” as a seat of the shipbuilding industry. When Mr. Russell entered the firm, which then became Hall, Russell, and Co., the business carried on at Footdee was confined to the construction of wooden ships, but it at once took a new development, and a distinct advance was made in the industrial progress of the city, as the construction of iron and composite vessels was then commenced at the port. A thoroughly practical marine engineer and a man of great skill as a shipbuilder, Mr. Russell soon made his name known far beyond Aberdeen, and throughout shipping circles generally, alike in the northern and southern ports of the kingdom, and in many foreign and colonial ports. To him was largely due the great reputation which the firm soon acquired for the superiority of the work turned out, more especially in engine-building, which was the branch to which Mr. Russell chiefly devoted his attention. He engined the fleet of steamers belonging to the Davidson Steamship Co, and many other vessels hailing from Aberdeen and other ports. A man of great force of character and energy, he applied himself to his work with assiduity and zeal, exercising the strictest personal supervision over the department in which he excelled. Mr. Russell was one of the principal shareholders of the Davidson Steamship Company—in fact, next to the Messrs. Davidson themselves, he had the largest number of shares. When the change in the company’s affairs took place he became the chief promoter of what is now known as the Grampian Steamship Co. Of the first-named company he was chairman, and discharged the duties which devolved upon him in that capacity with marked ability. Somewhat brusque in manner, and reserved in temperament, he did not put himself prominently before the public, but he was well known in the city of his adoption, and all who knew him will bear testimony to the fact that his rough-and-ready manner was, as often happens, but the index of a warm and generous disposition. In private life he displayed such an amount of shrewd common sense and sound judgment in all practical matters as to make it a subject for regret that he did not become a member of the Aberdeen Harbour Board. At the same time his advice was always readily given when asked, and whatever he could do in his own unostentatious way to promote the interest of the port, he did with hearty goodwill. In the Footdee district he will long be remembered as a kind and forbearing employer and staunch friend. For several years Mr. Russell had retired from business, living during the latter part of the time at Bridge of Allan, where he died, as already mentioned."