Thomas Wilson (shipping magnate)

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Thomas Wilson (1792–1869) was a 19th-century shipping magnate from Kingston upon Hull, England. In 1822 Wilson jointly founded Thomas Wilson Sons & Co., commonly known as the Wilson Line, a shipping company.

Kingston upon Hull City and Unitary authority in England

Kingston upon Hull, usually abbreviated to Hull, is a port city and unitary authority in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It lies upon the River Hull at its confluence with the Humber Estuary, 25 miles (40 km) inland from the North Sea, with a population of 260,700 (mid-2017 est.). Hull is 154 miles (248 km) north of London, 50 miles (80 km) east of Leeds, 34 miles (55 km) east southeast of York and 67 miles (108 km) northeast of Sheffield.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Thomas Wilson Sons & Co. was a British shipping company, founded in 1840, It evolved from a joint venture formed by merchants Thomas Wilson, John Beckinton and two unrelated partners named Hudson in 1822.


Wilson Line

Thomas Wilson founded Beckington, Wilson and Company in 1822 as a joint venture with his partner John Beckinton and two others. He did not come to the business with a background in shipping but through the use of ships for shipping of ore he quickly saw the potential opportunity and became a noted specialist shipowner. By 1825 he owned his first steam ship and saw the company become a prominent figure in promoting the Port of Hull to the third largest port in United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland during the emergence and rise of steam shipping in Britain.

Ore rock with valuable metals, minerals and elements

An ore is an occurrence of rock or sediment that contains sufficient minerals with economically important elements, typically metals, that can be economically extracted from the deposit. The ores are extracted from the earth through mining; they are then refined to extract the valuable element, or elements.

Port of Hull

The Port of Hull is a port at the confluence of the River Hull and the Humber Estuary in Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Historical sovereign state from 1801 to 1927

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland.

In 1841 Thomas Wilson took full control of the company, after the other partners left, and so he brought his eldest son David into the business as his partner, making the name Thomas Wilson & Son Ltd. In 1850 his other sons Charles and Arthur joined and became active partners, the name changing to Thomas Wilson & Sons Co Ltd, though usually known as the Wilson Line of Hull.

Charles Wilson, 1st Baron Nunburnholme English politician

Charles Henry Wilson, 1st Baron Nunburnholme, was a prominent English shipowner who became head of the Thomas Wilson Sons & Co. shipping business.

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Thomas died in 1869 and the company was taken over by Charles and Arthur, with David as silent partner. A few years later when they were beginning to question their own sons ability to continue running the firm, Charles and Arthur brought in a non-family member to become the new Managing Director, Oswald Sanderson. Parts of the company merged with the North Eastern Railway forming Wilson's & North Eastern Railway Shipping Co. Ltd; the majority was acquired in 1916 by Sir John Ellerman and renamed Ellerman's Wilson Line.

Wilson's & North Eastern Railway Shipping Co. Ltd was formed in March 1906 by the family who controlled Wilson Line of Hull and the North Eastern Railway Company.

Sir John Reeves Ellerman, 1st Baronet, CH (1862–1933) was an English shipowner and investor, believed to be the richest man in England. An accountant by training, he learned to identify underpriced companies and acquired them, often as sole stakeholder. His shipping interests were combined into the giant Ellerman Lines, and he also invested in newspapers, breweries, coal and prestige London property. Despite his huge wealth, his personal life was notably modest and private.


Thomas was the son of David Wilson (1745–1810) and Elizabeth née Gray (born c. 1750). He married Susannah West (1796–1879), the daughter of John West and Grace Harrop, at Drypool, Yorkshire, on 1 September 1814. They had more than a dozen children:


Drypool is an area within the city of Kingston upon Hull, England.

E. B. Wilson and Company was a locomotive manufacturing company at the Railway Foundry in Hunslet, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.

Jenny Lind locomotive

The Jenny Lind locomotive was the first of a class of ten steam locomotives built in 1847 for the London Brighton and South Coast Railway by E. B. Wilson and Company of Leeds, named after Jenny Lind, who was a famous opera singer of the period. The general design proved to be so successful that the manufacturers adopted it for use on other railways, and it became the first mass-produced locomotive type. The "Jenny Lind" type was also widely copied during the late 1840s and 1850s, and into the 1860s.

Joseph Malet Lambert (1853–1931) was vicar of St. John's parish, Hull, UK, later elevated to Dean of Hull, Canon of York, and Archdeacon of the East Riding within the Church of England.

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Charles Henry Wellesley Wilson, 2nd Baron Nunburnholme, CB, DSO,, was a British peer, and one of the heirs to the Thomas Wilson Sons & Co., a Hull-based shipping company that built a near-monopoly over affordable travel packages from Scandinavia and the Baltic. He was an officer in the Volunteers and saw active service in the Second Boer War and World War I. During the later war he was distinguished for the number of new units that he recruited for the war effort, notably the 'Hull Pals'.

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Lieutenant-Colonel Guy Greville Wilson, was a British soldier, company director, and Liberal Party politician from Kingston upon Hull. His family owned Thomas Wilson Sons & Co., which was once the largest private shipowning concern in the world.

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