Catalogue description Letter book of Thomas Smailes

This record is held by Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society

Details of 0072
Reference: 0072
Title: Letter book of Thomas Smailes

This volume contains draft letters, mainly on business, but also including personal advice. The majority of letters relate to Smailes' shipping interests and include letters to ship's masters, the promotion of shipping prospectuses, letters to the press and campaigns for the promoting of safety at sea (including the introduction of the Plimsoll Line) and the relief of distressed seamen. This volume has some pages removed.

Date: 1869-1883
Held by: Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Smailes, Thomas, 1821-1908, master mariner, of Whitby, North Riding of Yorkshire

Physical description: 1 volume
  • Thomas Smailes and Son, managers of shipping interests of Whitby
  • Whitby, North Riding of Yorkshire
  • Sea transport
Administrative / biographical background:

This volume was deposited by Alderman Robert Smailes in September 1983.


Thomas Smailes was born in Jan 1821, son of Thomas Smailes of Whitby, schoolmaster, and his wife Sarah. His father died in 1830, and in 1833 he was apprenticed to Seaton Trattles, first going to sea on the brig Larpool, aged 12. In 1842 he took command of the brig British Oak, owned by Thomas Turnbull and was subsequently master of several of Turnbull's ships and superintendent of their fleet. His final command was as first master of Whitby's first steamship, the Whitehall, launched in 1871. In 1890 the firm of Thomas Smailes and Son was established to manage the shipping interests of Thomas Smailes and his son Captain Richard Smailes. Thomas Smailes retired from the company in 1901 and died in 1908.

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