Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 149,642 pages of information and 235,472 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Thomas Aitken

From Graces Guide



Obituary 1907 [1]

The death is recorded of Mr. Thomas Aitken, the Chairman of the London and Edinburgh Shipping Co, the event taking place in his home at Kinross, on the 29th January. Born about eighty years ago, at Culross, on the Forth, on the 29th January. Born about eighty years ago, at Culross, on the Forth, Mr. Aitken had been in failing health for more than a year, due to a shock of paralysis. For more than half a century he was identified with the port and shipping of Leith and few men have had such constant and varied experience of British shipping as a whole. After being trained as a shipbroker at Grangemouth, he joined the office staff of the London and Edinburgh Shipping Company in 1842, becoming general manager in 1864, when in his forty-fifth year. When he first joined the company traffic was carried on by the well-known Leith smacks, but steam soon thereafter displaced sail, and just as the company had been famous for its clippers so it succeeded in establishing a splendid fleet of coasting steamers, plying not only between Leith and London, but on regular service to Lisbon, Cadiz, Oporto, Bordeaux, and Charente; the fleet now consisting of about a dozen steamers, a few of them, like the Fiona, built at Dundee two years ago, being of exceptional speed and most lavishly equipped for passenger carrying. The success of the company has been largely due to Mr. Aitken's keen business ability. Besides controlling the London and Edin­burgh Shipping Company, he found time to devote to many other industrial ventures in a directorial capacity. He was a prominent member of the Leith Dock Commission, the Edinburgh and Leith Chamber of Commerce, and the Edinburgh Merchant Company. He at one time held concurrently the chairmanship of the Fife Coal Company, the Reversionary Association of Edinburgh, the Galloway Steam Packet Company, the Scottish Cyanide Company, and the Linnhigg Coal Company, while also holding a seat on the Boards of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, the British and Buremose Steam Shipping Company, and various investment and insurance enterprises. On the completion of the fiftieth year of his connection with the London and Edinburgh Company Mr. Aitken was presented with his portrait in oils, by Sir George Reid, the inscription stating that it had been presented "in thankful recognition of his faithful, wise, and loyal service during a period of fifty years."


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