Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,159 pages of information and 233,681 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
Captain Richard Bourne (c1772-1851), R.N.
c1772 Born in Ireland
1832 Ordered the Royal Tar
1835 Captain Richard Bourne RN was MD of the Dublin and London Steam Navigation Co; he negotiated with the Spanish government aiming to start a steamer service to the Iberian peninsula.
1837 Founded the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co with Arthur Anderson, Sir John Campbell, Francis Carleton, Joseph C. Ewart, Captain Samuel Thornton, Robert Thurburn, Brodie M'Ghie Willcox, James Hartley, Charles Wye Williams and Peter John De Zulueta
1841 The following is an extract from a legal judgement. It went on at great length, and the extract is quoted merely to illustrate an example of Captain Bourne's experimental work, and identify the ships to which it was applied.
'ROLLS' COURT.— March 19. BOURNE v. THE PENINSULAR AND ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY. — JUDGMENT.
The Master of the Rolls— This is an application made by the plaintiff to restrain one set of defendants from executing bills of sale for certain vessels, and to restrain another set of defendants from accepting any such bills of sale, and also to restrain the defendants from substituting any other machinery and apparatus than the plaintiff's in their vessels. It seems that the plaintiff is the owner of certain patent rights, which he has obtained for an invention by which fuel is to be consumed in various ways which are pointed out, one of the modes in which fuel is to be consumed has been particularly, and is alone the one necessary to discuss on the present occasion; it is to economise in the consumption of fuel by separating the parts of which the fuel consists into distinct portions, by a process of distillation, and afterwards to consume those products by means of combustion; it being alleged that is a mode of obtaining a complete combustion, and thereby economisation of fuel. This patent was obtained in the year 1838, it bears date the 8th of October. His patent was a subject of experiments, in which experiments, it is said to have succeeded. Certainly the invention appears to me to have been a very ingenious one, and without being able at all myself to judge of its radical operation and effect, I may without difficulty, or without prejudice to this case on any side, suppose that that it must have been a successful mode of producing the effect he desired to produce. He being the owner of this patent invention, it was tried on board a ship called the 'William Fawcett', which belonged to some of the defendants in this case, and that experiment is said to have succeeded. How the particular apparatus which was used on that occasion did produce that successful effect I own I do not understand from any of the explanations which have been offered to me. I must assume that, to a certain extent at least, in that experimental trip, at least, it was successful. After this had been done the plaintiff entered into the agreement which has been the subject of so much discussion, in this lease with some of the defendants, and by that agreement it was provided that he should, within six months from the date thereof, well and effectually apply, or cause to be applied, his said inventions to the steam-engines or machinery of all or such and so many of the steam vessels or ships called the Tagus, the Braganza, and The Royal Tar, or of such other steamships or vessels as may hereafter belong to Richard Bourne or the other persons named, or as they and the Peninsular Steam-packet Company might desire, at an expense not exceeding 120/. for each ship or vessel not exceeding the power of 260 horses, and others in like proportion.......'.
1841 'The Town Commissioners of Nenagh met in the Record Court Friday, to take into consideration the necessity of applying to Captain Richard Bourne, R.N., coach proprietor, relative to his road overseers opening a sewer on the Dublin road, near the Spout; and to order such materials as may be necessary for completing the pump off Queen-street. After some deliberation it was agreed to apply to Captain Richard Bourne.'
1846 'Captain Richard Bourne, R.N., has forgiven his tenants at Shanahoe, Queen’s county, a half year's rent each, in consequence of the failure of the potato crop.'
1851 Living at Blackheath Park, London: Richard Bourne (age 79 born Ireland), Commander, R.N., Half Pay. With his wife Louisa H. Bourne (age 54 born Ireland) and their daughter Frances M. Bourne (age 26 born Ireland) and his granddaughter Amy L. Mahon (age 6 born Ireland). Five servants.
1851 'Died, at his residence at Blackheath Park, near London, on the 9th inst., advanced in years, Captain Richard Bourne, R.N., a Director in the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company.'
1851 Death notice: 'October 9, at Black Heath, Captain Richard Bourne, youngest and last surviving brother of the late Frederick Bourne, of Terenure.'
Information from the P&O website:-
Born in Ireland to a wealthy family, Bourne saw active service in the Royal Navy before and after the Napoleonic wars, latterly in command of the twelve-gun schooner Felix. Wounded in action off the Spanish coast, he left the Navy in 1806, returning to Ireland and the family business of road transport and mail contracts.
By the mid 1820’s the Bournes had moved into steam shipping as a strategic extension of their dominance on the roads. Bourne secured a future for the Dublin and London Steam Packet Company and became a steamship owner acquiring, amongst others, the paddle steamer William Fawcett from a rival concern.
In 1834 Bourne had established a connection with the London shipbrokers Willcox and Anderson, leading to the formation of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. Through Bourne's involvement the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company won its first mail contract in 1837. Bourne chaired the meetings of the merger between Peninsular Steam and Charles Wye Williams's Transatlantic Steam Navigation Company in 1840.
Bourne remained on the board of P&O for a decade.