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British Industrial History

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George White

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George White (1854-1916) of the British and Colonial Aeroplane Co‎ and Bristol Cars

Sir George White, 1st Baronet was an English businessman and stockbroker based in Bristol. He was instrumental in the construction of the Bristol Tramways and became a pioneer in the construction of electric tramways in England. He had many other interests, particularly in transport companies.

1854 March 28th. Born in Kingsdown, Bristol, the son of Henry White, a painter and decorator, and his wife Eliza. Brother of Samuel White

Attended St Michael's Boys School

1869 Joined a Bristol firm of solicitors as a junior clerk.

1874 White's firm was involved in the promotion of the Bristol Tramways Co, following the passage of the Tramways Act 1870, and White played a major part.

1875 Left the law, and established a stockbroking firm, George White and Co.

1875 Appointed secretary of the Bristol Tramways Company.

1876 Married in Bristol to Caroline Rosina Thomas and they had two children

1881 Living in Trafford House, Elm Grove Road, Westbury-on-Trym: George White (age 27 born Bristol), Stockbroker. With his wife Caroline R. White (age 26 born Bristol) and their daughter Daisy M. White (age 3 born Bristol). One servant.[1]

1887 The Bristol Tramways company was merged into the new Bristol Tramways and Carriage Co, with White as managing director, helped by his brother Samuel[2]

In the 1890s the Whites pioneered electric tramways, starting in Bristol and later in west London.

1892 Involved in the Imperial Tramways Co, which operated horse trams in Middlesbrough, Dublin, Gloucester and Reading, the Corris Railway and, from 1894, London United Tramways, which operated horse trams in west London.

1900 Became chairman of Bristol Tramways, a post he retained until his death. Under his leadership the company introduced motor buses in 1906, and began the manufacture of buses in 1908.

1901 Staying in the Burlington Hotel, Bournemouth: George White (age 47 born Bristol), Stockbroker - Employer. With his wife Caroline R. White (age 46 born Bristol) and their two children Daisy M. White (age 22 born Bristol) and George S. White (age 18 born Bristol).[3]

White became interested in heavier-than-air flight, and in 1909 saw Wilbur Wright flying in France.

1910 Founded the British and Colonial Aeroplane Co with his brother Samuel White‎, which set out from the first to produce aircraft on a commercial scale. At the same time White also had interests in the Great Western Steamship Line, the Bristol Port and Channel Dock Co (which built Avonmouth Docks), the North Somerset Railway, the Main Colliery Co and the Taff Vale Railway. He also served as president of the Bristol Stock Exchange.

White was a benefactor of the Bristol Royal Infirmary, the Red Cross and other charities. He was created a baronet on 26 August 1904 for his public service.

1916 November 22nd. Died at his home in Stoke Bishop, Bristol..


1916 Obituary.[4]

The death took last night of Sir George White, Bt., of Bristol, in his 63rd year. He was engaged in business all yesterday. Sir George’s career is a romance scarcely equalled fiction. From the position of office boy in a solicitor’s office he rose to be a loading stockbroker, tramway king, and millionaire.

He was the pioneer of electric street traction, being the first to introduce it into London, Dublin, Bristol, Middlesbro', etc. He established the first manufactory of aeroplanes in England, and introduced Bristol the biplanes and monoplanes in 1910.

As President of the Bristol Royal Infirmary, an institution to which he gave princely sums. Sir George placed finances on a sound and organised an extension of the building, a new wing being opened four years ago by King George, accompanied the Queen. He had devoted a large portion his time to Red Cross work, and was president of the Queen Victoria Hospital at Nice. Sir George received his baronetcy in 1914.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1881 census
  2. The Times, Nov 30, 1928
  3. 1901 Census
  4. Lancashire Evening Post - Thursday 23 November 1916