Catalogue description Papers of Captain George Peacock (1805 - 1883)

This record is held by Liverpool Record Office

Details of 387 PEA
Reference: 387 PEA
Title: Papers of Captain George Peacock (1805 - 1883)

387 PEA/1. Papers relating to Captain Peacock's career and biographical notes,


1 vol., 42 docs., 1826 - 1883, 1893 - 1895, 1951, n.d.


387 PEA/2. Papers relating to Captain Peacock's explorations and surveys,


20 docs., 1831 - 1895


387 PEA/3. Papers relating to Captain Peacock's inventions and ideas,


37 docs., 1836 - 1882, n.d.


387 PEA/4. Papers relating to Messrs. Peacock & Buchan, Manufacturers of Compositions for Ships' Bottoms,


8 docs., 1854 - 1879, n.d.


387 PEA/5. Papers relating to the Swan of the Exe,


5 docs., 1860 - 1945, n.d.


387 PEA/6. Papers relating to the Exmouth Warren,


8 docs., 1860 - 1913, n.d.


387 PEA/7. Printed works,


10 items, 1835 - 1881


387 PEA/8. Photographs,


14 items, 1872 - 1889, 1932, n.d.


387 PEA/9. Miscellaneous papers,


15 docs., 1798 - 1882, n.d.


387 PEA/10. Papers relating to the Cookson family,


38 docs., 1886 - 1958

Date: 1798 - 1958
Related material:

The following works give further information on Captain Peacock :


G.J. Bonwick Outstanding shipmaster of the 19th century [George Peacock] in Nautical Magazine, Vol. 164, 1950 pp. 161 - 164.


Peacock, George in Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 44, 1895, pp. 140, 141.


T.E. Edwardes Captain George Peacock : brief biography in Sea Breezes, 1st series, Vol. 1, pp. 1 - 5, 118 - 122, 1919 - 1920.


George Peacock in Pacific Breezes No. 18, Autumn 1958, p. 5.


A.C. Wardle Steam Conquers the Pacific, a record of maritime achievement, 1840 - 1940, 1940


Note : In the following list page numbers refer, unless otherwise stated, to pages in the Official Correspondence, certificates of service and testimonials of Mr. George Peacock, F.R.G.S. ..., (see 387 PEA/7/1 below).


Documents listed at 387 PEA/2/1 - 2/2 (ii), 3/1 - 3/3, 3/9, 3/13, 3/15, 3/16, 3/19, 3/33 are stored in Planfile 9, Mapcase 36.


Cookson family : The last 38 documents in the following list (387 PEA/10/1 - 10/38) relate only indirectly to Captain George Peacock. They are papers of the Cockson family of Liverpool, Captain Peacock's daughter Jane, having married Henry Cookson (c. 1847 - 1893) in 1874.

Held by: Liverpool Record Office, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Peacock, George, 1805-1883, Captain

Physical description: 1 vol., 173 docs., 24 items
Immediate source of acquisition:

These papers were deposited in this library by Mrs. A.D. Cookson, 15 Hayman's Green, Liverpool 12 in April 1960 (see notes on the Cookson family, below).

Administrative / biographical background:

George Peacock was born at Starcross, near Exetor in June 1805. His father owned vessels engaged in the Mediterranean trade and he served on his father's ships, rising to become master of one of the ships employed in the Brazilian and Mediterranean trades.


In 1828 he entered the Royal Navy as 2nd master of H.M. Steamship Echo. In 1840, having failed in his application for appointment to H.M.S. Blenheim, sailing for the Far East, he left the Navy and was appointed as the first Commander of the newly constituted Pacific Steam Navigation Company.


He left this Company in 1845 and devoted much time to experimenting with an anti-fouling composition for the bottoms of iron ships. In 1848 he started a company, Peacock and Buchan (see 387 PEA/4/1 - 4/8 below) for the production of this composition and in the same year he took up appointment as Dock Master (later Superintendent of Docks) at Southampton. Ten years later he left this post and retired to Starcross. Much of his time after retirement was taken in applying (unsuccessfully) to the Admiralty for his name to be reinstated on the official list of Masters. It was to this end that he compiled and had printed the Official Correspondence, certificate of service and testimonials of Mr.George Peacock ... (see 387 PEA/7/1 below). Captain Peacock died in June 1883 at the home of his son-in-law Henry Cookson, in Liverpool.


Captain Peacock's greatest achievement probably lay in his contribution to the opening up of trade and communications with Chile and Panama. Through his service with the Pacific Steam Navigation Company he superintended the building of lighthouses, surveyed harbours, laid down bouys, suggested lines for railways etc. in those places and brought the first regular mails from Valpariso to Panama.


He was also active in exploration and surveying (see 387 PEA/2/1 - 2/14A below) and as late as 1860 led an expedition to the Spanish Sahara, under the patronage of Napoleon III, to search for guano and mineral deposits (see 387 PEA/2/5 below).


Captain Peacock was a noted inventor, most (though not all) of his inventions arising from his experience as a seaman (see 387 PEA/3/1 - 3/34 below).


Some of Captain Peacock's discoveries in the fields of exploration and invention are described in his printed works (see 387 PEA/7/1 - 7/10 below).

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