Sir George Doughty

Sir George Doughty, born on 13 March 1854 at 8 Robinson Street, Grimsby He was the son of a farmer, William Doughty from Grimsby.

8 Robinson Street

George was educated at the Wesleyan Higher Grade School in George Street, Grimsby. Certainly in May 1862 he was transferred from the Infants to the Upper School. This school was still in existence in 1908, when it was visited by Bob Lincoln, author of Sir George Doughty . The headteacher was an E.J.Wright.

At the age of 13, George left school and worked for a Mark Shepherd (Fudge) who had a furniture shop at the front and a workshop at the rear. This was on the corner of Wellington Street and Freeman Street, now known as the Wellington Arms, a pub.

The Wellington Arms (date unknown). Mark Shepherd’s business had obviously closed by 1897 as Grimsby Town Football Club was inaugurated at the Wellington Arms that year.

He left after a short time and was apprenticed to Johnny Brown a builder of Victoria Street, by his father William. During his apprenticeship he joined a debating society, which was held in the Baptist School Room in Burgess Street. He considered joining the The Primitive Ministry, but his father could not afford the fees. Out of his apprenticeship he joined up with a George Woodhead, forming Woodhead & Doughty. They had premises near the footbridge in the Central Market which in 1912 were owned by Beels & Axe.

He fell in love with Rebecca Vere, neice of John Vere, whose firm was Smith, Stephenson & Vere Engineers. Rebecca worked as a grocery assistant in a store run by Henry Smethurst Senior (later an Alderman). This shop was located in Victoria Street, near Lock Hill, next to Kirk’s the butchers (now Wolfe’s in 1912).

George Doughty married Rebecca on 10 April 1879 at Victoria Street Primitive Methodist Chapel. Rev. Robert Harrison presided, and the marriage was witnessed by Henry Smethurst Senior, and Annie Doughty (his sister). Rebecca was 31 years of age at the time of her marriage and on the marriage certificate her father is shown as Thomas Warrs Vere, an engineer. George Doughty was described as a builder living at Willingham Terrace, Weelsby, Clee. William Abbott was his best man,who was later clerk for Wades Timber Merchants in Hull.

George’s partnership with George Woodhead was dissolved and he went to live in a house in Maude Street, occupied in 1912 by the Wellow Brewery Company as a bottling store. He lived in the house and used the workshops at the rear for his business. Two children were born in this house, Wilfred Vere Doughty and Annie Vere Doughty (later wife of Roland Charlton, son of shipbuilder, John Charlton ). Amongst properties built by his contractors were Hepworth’s shop in Freeman Street, three houses and shops in Cleethorpe Road (Mr Forrester, the druggist being one). He was also responsible for the woodwork in Flottergate Methodist Church (demolished in 1971). He also built properties in Princes Avenue and on “Goods Pond” owned by the Earl of Yarborough, and Dudley Street. He moved to live in Gordon House, Dudley Street. He also built property in the East Marsh area, including Cleethorpe Road up to Park Street, Hamilton Street etc.

The Hull Packet and East Riding Times (Hull), Friday 18 April 1879; Issue 4887, reported that George attended the opening of a liberal association in Barton upon Humber for the Liberal Registration Association. George Doughty was elected as a member of the committee.

The Hull Packet and East Riding Times (Hull), Thursday 29 April 1880; Issue 4967, reported that George had been elected to serve on the committee of this association, when it met in the Black Bull Inn on Tuesday 27 April 1880.

The Hull Packet and East Riding Times (Hull), Friday 27 January 1882; Issue 5076. John Holtby, John Gervaise Smith, John Garner, and George Doughty, the last three being builders appeared before the Magistrates Court On Monday 23 January, charged with leaving building materials on the road. They left a pair of cuts on the road with a tank on it.  They were each fined 12 shillings (12/-).
The Hull Packet and East Riding Times (Hull), Friday 11 May 1883; Issue 5143. George Doughty was one of the travelling preachers delegates from Grimsby who attended the conference, he also attended the temperance meeting as a reader.

On 1st November 1884 he was elected onto the Grimsby Town Council. 

The Hull Packet and East Riding Times (Hull), Friday 17 July 1885; Issue 5258. George Doughty was chairman of a Demonstration Committee: the council closed Grimsby’s Peoples Park, and a Demonstration Committee was set up to protest about it, George was Chairman and was called to a hearing of the Magistrates Court as a witness when  one of the committee members was charged with obstruction. The council charged an entry fee to enter the park at the time, and the committee was set up to protest that as the Council owned the park, and as they were ratepayers, they had freedom to enter the park without payment. One of the members was arrested for causing an obstruction, found guilty and fined 2 shillings and sixpence (2/6) and 17 shillings and sixpence (17/6) costs.

On 17th April 1886 he was an elected member of Clee Local Board. In the early 1880s he built some property for a man who paid him in shares in the Grimsby Ice Company. Henry Smethurst reformed this company and asked George to occupy a seat on the Directorate in 1886. By this means he came to hear about the effect of the steam trawler and with Thomas Baskcomb, formed the North Eastern Steam Fishing Company on 14 November 1888. The company was divided into 3000 shares of £10 each.
The Leeds Mercury (Leeds), Tuesday 8 January 1889; Issue 15836, shows that George was a nomination for the Clee with Weelsby, north elctoral division.
Freeman’s Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser (Dublin, Ireland), Tuesday 13 May 1890; Issue N/A. shows Alderman George Doughty of Grimsby as being a director of the Kingston Machinist Company Ltd, Hull.

George bought 50 shares, and was shown as the Chairman of the company, with Herbert Crabtree as his secretary in 1891. George then bought four steam trawlers on his own account. He then met up with Frederick Hagerup, ex-Russian Consul, to form Hagerup & Doughty.
On 14 April 1890 he was an elected member of the Grimsby Board of Guardians and elected as alderman for the County Borough of Grimsby on 9 November 1891. George sold Gordon House to H.J. Curry, proprietor of Curry’s Prince of Wales Theatre in Freeman Street and had “Wood Furze” on the corner of Abbey Road and Wellowgate built for himself in 1892.
‘Wood Furze’ in June 2016
 The International Steam Trawling Company, was formed on 7 July 1891. It had a share capital of £250,000, and Thomas Baskcomb was one of its directors, George became chairman after selling his four trawlers to the Company. Walter James Wood, son of Dr. Wood, minister of Flottergate Church, became Marine Surveyor of the company.
Glasgow Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), Thursday 10 November 1892; Issue 270, reported a list of persons elected mayor and Alderman George Doughty was shown as elected mayor of Grimsby, as a Liberal Unionist.
George was elected mayor of Grimsby on 9 November 1892 and served his year to November 1893.
The Leeds Mercury (Leeds), Friday 28 December 1894; Issue 17700, shows George Doughty as being adopted by the Grimsby Liberal Three Hundred as the Liberal candidate for the borough.
The Leeds Mercury (Leeds), Thursday 28 February 1895; Issue 17753, Alderman Doughty selected as candidate for the Liberal party seat of the Borough.

He was then elected MP for Grimsby for 1895 and  1898, 1902,1906 and 1910. He stood for the Liberals in 1895, but disagreed with Gladstone’s home rule policy and resigned. He returned as a Unionist. He lost his seat in 1910 but returned again at the end of the year.

Aberdeen Weekly Journal (Aberdeen, Scotland), Friday 16 April 1897; Issue 13173, reported a letter written by George Doughty MP to the Times about the Scottish fishing industry.

The International and North Eastern were amalgamated in 1898 with George as Chairman, now MP. There were now 38 trawlers in the fleet. In addition to the companies, other departments followed including a twine factory in Ropery St. The company opened a ship building yard on Bumble Creek, but this was unsuccessful and closed.

George was also elected Chairman of the Grimsby Times & Telegraph Co Ltd in 1898. This newspaper business was originally the Grimsby Independent which “Hagerup & Doughty” purchased in 1898 as an official organ of George Doughty. The company then produced three papers, Grimsby Telegraph nightly at a halfpenny, “Grimsby Times” on a Friday and “Grimsby Saturday Telegraph” This was the official Unionist paper. His son, Wilfrid Vere Doughty BA JP became its editor.

George’s company the G.C.R Company? bought and developed 30, 778 square yards of building land between West Marsh Lane and Dock Road in 1904. He rebuilt Alexandra Road and had houses built upon it. Hewins & Goodhand built six shops on Corporation Road.


Rebecca Vere died quite suddenly at Waltham Hall on 14 January 1904, his daughter Annie’s 21st birthday.

George was knighted in the Birthday honours of King Edward VII announced the Times on June 24th, 1904, on the same list as Doctor Edward Elgar! He was awarded the dignity of Knights Bachelor on 5 July 1904.

Hagerup & Doughty, The Ice factory Ltd and the Monarch Steam Trawling Company were amalgated in 1905 to form the Consolidated Steam Fishing Company Ltd.  This had a fleet of 94 trawlers, (1000 hands), engineers, boilermakers, butchers,etc, an Ice section which worked 24 hours a day and produced some 300 tons of ice a day an 109,000 tons a year. The company was also involved in cold storage.

Early on Sunday 13 January 1907 he drove to Grimsby Railway Station in his Wolseley car accompanied by his son Wilfrid and Mr. and Mrs. Rowland Charlton, to catch the Great Northern Special for Kings Cross which left Grimsby at 07:50, in preparation for his tour of India. From Kings Cross he transferred to Charing Cross, where he took a train to Marseilles, and then boarded the P & O Steamer “Macedonia” bound for Port Said.
MACEDONIA: 10,512 grt; 530 x 60; Harland & Wolff, Belfast, 1904; Australia service
The “Macedonia” left Marseilles on Friday at 11:00hrs on route to Bombay (Lloyd’s List). By 18 February, The Times reported that the “Macedonia” had left Bombay (now Mumbai) for Shanghai via Singapore.
George wrote a diary during his tour, which was published in weekly instalments in the Grimsby Telegraph.
Eugenia Stone photographed at the wedding.
During a tour of India in 1907 he met Eugenia Bertrance Stone OBE of
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and married her in St James’ Roman Catholic Church, Spanish Place, London on 15 August  1907. The marriage was a great social event and he receieved wedding gifts from both the Parliamentary party and the Corporation, which included a coat of arms.
St James’ RC Church, Spanish Place, London

George was a Freemason. He was initiated into Pelham Pillar Lodge (No. 792) on 7 April 1894. He founded Smythe Lodge (No. 2284) in September 1888 and was Worshipful Master in 1894. He also helped found Earl of Yarborough Lodge (No. 2770) in 1899.

George died on 27 April, 1914,  leaving a will of £47,000 but with debts anounting to £23,000.

George was buried in a family vault at All Saints Church in Waltham.
Eugenia died at her home, River House, Esher, Surrey on 20 June, 1934. A funeral service was proceeded by requiem mass at St Mary of the Seas RC Church, Holme Hill, Grimsby followed by interment in Scartho Road Cemetery on 22 June 1934.