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Details about Rickinsons

Matthew Rickinson was the principal owner and manager of a small fleet of sailing vessels from about 1857. Other shareholders included his brothers, Valentine and William, George R. Ellison, Benjamin Gales, M. & James Gray. Eventually the sailing ships gave way to steam and, in conjunction with his son John, he established a fleet of steamers in about 1880. Matthew also had a successful wine and spirit business and small brewery which were merged with J.W. Cameron & Co. in about 1894.

The shipping company was founded in 1883 as M. Rickinson & Son, soon becoming Rickinson, Sons & Co. The company owned seventeen ships, twelve of which were built in West Hartlepool, all their names beginning with the letter 'A'. The funnel colours were black with a red band, carrying a white 'R'. The flag was a white St. Andrew's cross on a red field with the letters 'R&S' across it in white, red and white respectively.

The company reached its peak in 1902, when it owned a dozen ships, but steadily declined after that. Between 1904 and 1907, four ships were sold and not replaced, followed by a further two before the outbreak of the First World War.
Three ships were sold in 1915, and two were lost to enemy action in 1918, leaving just one in the fleet, the Astraea. She was sold in 1920, bringing to an end Rickinson's shipowning venture.

Family History:

Valentine Rickinson was born at Robin Hood’s Bay on 13 October 1812 to parents John and Elizabeth (nee Granger). He became a master mariner and had a mate’s and master’s certificate no. 46085 issued at Stockton in 1851. He married Ann Petty in March 1836 at Stockton. Ann died in January 1838 aged 23. Valentine remarried on 17 July 1847 at London to Elizabeth Peacock. In 1851 he was at sea and his wife and three children were living at Clarence Terrace, Stockton. The family moved to Hartlepool in 1854. From 1859 until 1862 he was master and part owner of the barque Eclipse and, in 1862, master and part owner of the brig John Rickinson. By 1871 Valentine had retired from the sea-faring life and was living at Church Street with his wife and their four children and listed as a shipowner. By 1891 the couple were living at 7 Bellerby Terrace, Stranton.

Valentine died aged 85 at Bellerby Terrace, Hartlepool on 25 September 1897 leaving effects of £978. He was interred at West Hartlepool cemetery.

William Rickinson was born at Robin Hood’s Bay on 16 August 1814 to parents John and Elizabeth (nee Granger). He also became a mariner and a ship’s master certificate no. 46175 issued at Stockton in 1851. William married Ann Wellburn at York on 8 January 1853. They had five children throughout their marriage. Ann died in March 1891.

William died aged 49 on 7 February 1864 at Thorpe, Fylingdales leaving effects of less than £3,000.

Matthew Rickinson was born at Robin Hood’s Bay on 29 April 1817 to parents John and Elizabeth (nee Granger). He married Elizabeth Gray in 1840. In 1851 the couple were living in Robin Hood’s Bay and Matthew was listed in the census as a grocer. By 1861 the couple were living at Victoria Road, Hartlepool and Matthew was listed as a shipowner. His wife, Elizabeth, died at Hartlepool in 1865. The 1871, 1881 and 1891 census had Matthew listed as a wine and spirit merchant. By 1891 Matthew was living at Havelock House, Stranton.

Matthew died aged 80 at Hartlepool 12 September 1897 leaving effects of £68,935.

John Rickinson was born on 8 December 1844 at Robin Hood’s Bay to parents Matthew and Elizabeth. He started his working life as a grocer but later went into the business of ship owning with his father. John was married at York to Diana Wood on 4 January 1871. In the 1891 census John was listed as a wine merchant, brewer and steamship owner. Diana died in 1902 at Hartlepool.

John died aged 39 at West Hartlepool on 30 January 1904 leaving effects of £ 105,798.

Matthew Rickinson was born at West Hartlepool in November 1871 to parents John and Diana. In the 1891 census Matthew was listed as a secretary, this was presumably in his father’s business. Matthew married Edith Ann Plant at Christ Church, Hartlepool on 14 February 1905. By 1911 the family were living at Stafford House, Harrogate with Matthew now listed as a ship owner.

Matthew died aged 55 at Harrogate on 7 November 1926 leaving effects of £82,978.

Archibald Gray Rickinson was born at Hartlepool in July 1874 to parents John and Diana (nee Wood). Archibald married Rose Temple Jackson at Willesden in April 1900. In 1901 the couple were living at Granton House, Grange Road and by 1911 West Park, West Hartlepool with their four children. In the 1901 and 1911 census Archibald was listed as a steamship manager and owner.

Archibald died aged 75 at Hurworth-on-Tees on 31 January 1950. He left effects of £168.


Fleet List
Agenoria    1883-1895
Aeolus        1884-1886
Abeona      1886-1904
Astraea      1886-1898
Amphitrite  1887-1916
Ariel           1889-1897
Aurora       1889-1906
Albion        1892-1906
Aeolus       1894-1907 (second ship of that name)
Arion          1895-1913
Aries          1895-1915
Argo           1895-1915
Atlas          1897-1918
Astraea      1898-1920 (second ship of that name)
Agenoria    1902-1915 (second ship of that name)
Ariel           1902-1918 (second ship of that name)
Arachne     1912-1917


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