Archive centreWhitehaven
ReferenceYDB 76
TitleLumley Kennedy and Company, shipbuilders of Whitehaven
DescriptionBank Book, Valuations, Day Books, Petty Cash Books, Journals, New Ship Account Book, Minutes Book, Letters, Pay Lists, Wages Journals, General Ledgers, Price Books, Apprentices Books, Bill Book, Stock Books, Accounts/Profit & Loss Statements/Balance Sheets.
Extent47 volumes
ContextThe company of Lumley Kennedy and Co was formed on 17 October 1835 with capital of £10,000 and run by a Committee of Partners who supervised the 'Acting Operative Manager' of the firm who was paid an annual salary of £150. He was Lumley Kennedy, had been manager of the shipbuilding firm of T and J Brocklebank for nearly twenty years prior to leaving. The other partners were Joseph Robinson, Robert Jefferson, Henry Jefferson, Anthony Steel, George Pew, Isaac Mounsey, Thomas Beck and John Peile. The company was formed for 21 years and was renewed for another seven years in March 1856. Business tailed off due to the change from wood to iron shipbuilding and difficulties in gaining a long lease of the foreshore as a building site from the Earl of Lonsdale. The business ceased in 1864 when the stock was sold off. The plant and stock was valued at some £606 on 20 April 1864 by Jonathan Shepherd, joiner and builder, and William Huddart, shipbuilder, and this together with the shipyard known as Duke Street Yard was leased at £60 per annum to Joseph Shepherd and Robert Dixon Leech. The firm built 65 vessels of varying tonnages and all of good quality for customers in different parts of the country. The largest was the John O'Gaunt, of 871 tons and launched on 2 May 1855. The production roll also included five vessels over 600 tons, one over 500 tons, twelve over 400 tons and nine over 300 tons.

Lumley Kennedy was baptised on 3 January 1792 at the James Street Presbyterian Chapel (now the URC Church). He was one of nine children of Lumley Kennedy (1754 to 19th December 1806 and buried at St. Nicholas' Churchyard). In turn that Lumley was the son of Andrew Kennedy and Barbara Lumley (1730-1790, buried 21 November 1790 at St. Nicholas). Barbara was the daughter of Ralph Lumley (1702-9 April 1771), and so a surname became a distinctive Christian Name. All these people were from Whitehaven. His siblings (all baptised at the Presbyterian Church on the given dates) were George bap. 22 Jun 1796, Andrew 4 Sep 1790, Alice 15 May 1788, Richard 19 Jan 1794, Thomas 20 Mar 1797 and Joseph 6 Oct 1800. Lumley (born 1792) married Mary Ryley at St. Nicholas' on 25 Dec 1816. Their first child was Thomas (born 1817). He went on to marry Sarah Holliday on 26 Sep 1840 at St Nicholas. Their second child, born in 1843 (baptised at St Nicholas on 9 July), was also to be called Lumley Kennedy. That Lumley went to sea at the age of 16 and was granted his 1st mate's ticket on 5 Oct 1867 and his Master's ticket on 3 Jan 1871. On 1 July 1875 the emigrant ship Strathmore was wrecked on her maiden voyage from London to Dunedin, New Zealand. The wreck was off the 12 Apostles island in the Crozet islands group. These are in the Southern Ocean midway between Madagascar and the Antarctic. While 362 people were drowned, 49 survived and landed on the island. They lived there for 6 months and 21 days living on sea birds and their eggs and a carrot like vegetable. Five died in that time, and the other 44 were in a terrible state when rescued on 22 Jan 1876 by the American whaler Young Phoenix. Four days later 20 of these were transferred to the Sierra Modena, captain Lumley Kennedy. She was on passage to Kurrachee with railway materials and took the survivors in spite of bring short of water. They were landed at Galle, Ceylon on 24 Feb 1876. For this service the New Zealand government presented him with a gold watch "for services to shipwrecked crew and passengers". A book of this epic tale of survival was published in New Zealand in 1985. Captain Kennedy later transferred command to the Sierra Nevada. He died of a heart attack on her on 19 Aug 1879 aged just 36, while at sea. His body was landed and buried at the mid Atlantic island of St. Helena. He had married a Mary Pearson at Lorton Church on 3 June 1873 and is apparently commemorated there on her gravestone. Thomas (born 1817) was also a Ship's Captain and died of yellow fever at St. Thomas, West Indies in 1852.

Lumley (bap. 1792) and Mary had 10 other children: Lumley, born 1819 and baptised at St Nicholas on 4 April. He married Mary Marshall at Toxteth Park St John Baptist Church, Liverpool on 17 April 1844. He spent the rest of his life on the Wirral and died at Birkenhead in the October quarter of 1899. By 23 Sep 1861 he was a master and had been at sea for 15 years. He was widowed by 1881 and spent the rest of his life at various addresses in Poulton-on-Seacombe as a 'mariner ashore' and left no will. Elizabeth born 9 Oct 1822, baptised 10 Nov 1822. Ruth born 1 Sep 1824 baptised 1 Oct 1824, married Henry Barnard Harris 22 Sep 1857, a Royal Naval Master who died at Yarmouth, Norfolk in 1879. Mary born 8 Jan 1826, baptised 9 Nov 1826, died 5 Nov 1904. She was buried at St. Bridget's old Church on 9 Nov 1904. John born 30 Apr 1828, he died in 1908 and was buried at Beckermet St. Bridget's Old Churchyard on 18 Jan. He joined the family business and played a major role in it. When the business closed he retired with his father to Beckermet and never married. Anne baptised 12 Feb 1830. Andrew baptised 4 Oct 1833 at Cripplegate, London (but born 1830). He became a grocer/provision merchant living at Howgate and had a son Andrew Gladstone Kennedy in 1864. In turn they had a son- Lumley Kennedy in 1889. He died in 1957 at Shardlow, the last to hold this proud name. Sarah baptised 4 Oct 1833 at Cripplegate, London. Sarah baptised 18 Nov 1831 (unclear if she died young and they had a second Sarah). Margaret born 3 Feb 1837 at Dr William's Library, London. She married a John Freebody at Liverpool St Bride on 18 August 1859 (living 15 Egerton Street). They had four children- Constance Mary , Annie Matilda, John and Caroline Margaret. She lived at Beckermet and died in 1930 but her will was not proved until 1952.

Lumley (1792) died at Fernlea, Beckermet (to where he had retired when the business closed) on 6 Oct 1882 aged 90. He was buried on 10 October at St. Bridget's old Churchyard, Beckermet alongside his wife Mary who had died on 12 May 1875 aged 79. He left £1189/5/-. Previous recorded addresses are Bransty in 1832, North Wall in 1841, Church Street in 1857 (1832 and 1857 are from the Poll Books) and 1861 at Granby Place. He had moved to Beckermet by 1871.
Publication detailsThere is more detail in 'Shipbuilding at Whitehaven' by Daniel Hay (29HAY) on the searchroom shelves.
Catalogue levelFonds
Subject termsShipbuilding

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CodePerson/Corporate namesDates
NA1268Whitehaven; Lumley Kennedy and Co; 1835-1864; shipbuilders1835-1864
CodePlace names
NA105Whitehaven Harbour/Whitehaven/Cumberland
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