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Robert Thompson   1850-1908
Robert was born 22 May 1850 of Joseph Lowes and Thomasin Thompson. Father Joseph Lowes was a Shipwright Foreman at the Robert Thompson & Sons shipyard, and they resided at Whickham Street, Monkwearmouth Shore. At age 15 in 1865, Robert left school and was apprenticed to his father as a shipwright. Robert married Georgiana Andrew. Upon his father's retirement in 1875, operation of the firm was turned over to Robert and his two brothers, Joseph Lowes, and Charles Elliot. Robert became a partner in the firm. In 1876 James Marr joined the firm. More ground was added to the yard, including William Pile's site, until the whole of the North Sands, where previously seven yards had been in operation, was under the control of Thompsons. Robert built his first steel vessel in May 1885. The next year more than half the yard's output was in steel, including the SS Euterpe, a luxuriously furnished passenger liner, an unusual type of vessel to be built on the Wear. They built almost three-quarters of a million tons of shipping over the twenty year period 1888-1907, and the yard headed output on the River Wear for nearly all the years 1885 to 1900, and on three occasions was in fourth place in terms of world output. In 1893 brother Joseph Lowes retired from daily participation in the firms management due to failing health.  In  1894, the   Thompsons formed a limited liability company with a capital of £125,000, and Peter Phorson and James Marr were appointed to the board. James Marr, who was general manager of the firm, had been associated with Thompsons for 17 years, and would become chairman and managing director in 1901. The workforce then numbered 1,600. In 1907, the Thompson yard produced 12 ships aggregating 48,178 tons, a record for them until the second World War.
Langham Tower
Langham Tower

Robert was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Durham County in September 1890, and was on the Sunderland Town Council for a number of years. He served as chairman of the Monkwearmouth and Southwick Hospital Board, was a member of the Sunderland Infirmary Committee, and was a member of the Wear Commission for a number of years. Like the rest of his family, he was a member of the Methodist Free Church. He continued his father's interest in the Sunderland Football Club, was it's president in 1893, and gave it substantial financial support.

A few years before his death he had decided to have 'a place in the country', and had bought the old manor house at Over Dinsdale on the River Tees. He proceeded to pull it down, much to the locals' fury (!), and build in its place a 'stockbrokers' Tudor' style mansion. Some described it as a
  'monstrosity'. Built to shipyard standards, it had extra thick walls, and great care was taken that all the rooms were perfectly square, level, vertical, etc. He also built a new bridge across the Tees, and a little house beside it for the toll collector, who opened a gate and charged each person who walked across the bridge one old penny. The house had its own electric light engine and a 'engineer' to look after it, as well as a retinue of servants, headed by a butler with the rather strange name of George Tiplady Dobson. However, as soon as the house was finished, he had a stroke and was never able to enjoy his creation.

He died 1 January 1908 at his new estate, Over Dinsdale Hall, near Darlington, at age 57. His recently acquired Sunderland home was Langham Tower, on Ryhope Road. He left an estate valued at £159,804 .

Georgiana Andrew    1851-1930
Georgiana was born 20 April 1851 at Whitby, Yorkshire, the daughter of Thomas and Rachael Andrew.
She married Robert Thompson on 24 September 1873. Georgina died on 2 June 1930, at age 79.
They had the following children:
Ethel Born 22 Jun 1875   Died 28 Jul 1875
Joseph Andrews Born 30 Nov 1876   Monkwearmouth Married Laurel Thompson
Robert Norman Born 2 Jul 1878   Fulwell Married Helena V. Short
Stanley Miller Born 1 Dec 1880   Fulwell Married Wilhelmine Vera Doxford
Amelia Rachel Born 4 Dec 1884   Fulwell Married John Lynn Marr
John Wyllie Born abt 1886   Fulwell Married Norah Miller
Birth of Parents
Robert Thompson b: 22 May 1850   Monkwearmouth, County Durham
son of Joseph Lowes and Thomasin Thompson
Georgiana Andrew b: 20 Apr 1851   Whitby, Yorkshire
daughter of Thomas and Rachael Andrew

Marriage
24 Sep 1873
Robert Thompson
(23)
Georgiana Andrews
(22)
Whitby Parish Church, Yorkshire County
bachelor, Shipbuilder, Monkwearmouth, Father: Joseph Lowes Thompson, Shipbuilder
spinster, Whitby, Father: Thomas Andrews, Jet Ornament Manufacturer
by license, Wit: Richard W. Andrews, Rachel Amelia Andrews
1873 3Q Whitby 9d 669

Children
Ethel Thompson b: 22 Jun 1875
daughter of Robert and Georgiana Thompson, shipbuilder    Died 28 Jul 1875
Joseph Andrews Thompson b: 30 Nov 1876  c: 27 Dec 1876   Monkwearmouth Venerable Bede   1877 1Q Sunderland 10a 709
son of Robert and Georgiana Thompson of Ravensworth Terrace, shipbuilder    Died 4 Feb 1918
Robert Norman Thompson b: 2 Jul 1878  c: 22 Jan 1879   Monkwearmouth Venerable Bede    1878 3Q Sunderland 10a 683
son of Robert and Georgiana Thompson of West House, shipbuilder    Died 2 Oct 1951
Stanley Miller Thompson b: 1 Dec 1880  c: 5 Jan 1881   Monkwearmouth Venerable Bede     1881 1Q Sunderland 10a 653
son of Robert and Georgiana Thompson of West House, Fulwell, shipbuilder     Died 6 Oct 1948

1881 Census RG11-5008 4 April 1881 Fulwell, St Peters, County Durham
West House (Newcastle Road)
Robert Thompson
Georgiana (Wife)
Joseph A.
Robert N.
Stanley M.
Age 30
Age 29
Age 4
Age 2
Age 5 Mos
Ship Builder Head of firm of
J L Thompson & Son
Employing 950 Men And Boys
Durham
Yorkshire
Durham
Durham
Durham
Monkwearmouth
Whitby
Monkwearmouth
Monkwearmouth
Fulwell
22 May 1850
20 Apr 1851
30 Nov 1876
2 Jul 1878
1 Dec 1880
Plus 2 servants and a Nurse

Amelia Rachel Thompson b: 4 Dec 1884  c: 26 Jan 1885   Monkwearmouth Venerable Bede        1885 1Q Sunderland 10a 665
daughter of Robert and Georgiana Thompson of Fulwell, shipbuilder
John Wyllie Thompson c: 7 Sep 1886       Monkwearmouth Venerable Bede        1886 4Q Sunderland 10a 632
son of Robert and Georgiana Thompson of Fulwell, West House, shipbuilder    Died 5 Jan 1948

1891 Census RG12-4151 6 April 1891 Fulwell, Columbus, County Durham
West House
Robert Thompson
Georgiana (Wife)
May
John W.
Age 40
Age 39
Age 6
Age 4
Shipbuilder and
Magistrate for
County Durham
Durham
Yorkshire
Durham
Durham
Monkwearmouth
Whitby
Fulwell
Fulwell
22 May 1850
20 Apr 1851
4 Dec 1884
abt 1886
Plus 4 servants and a Nurse

  ("May" is a nickname for Amelia Rachel Thompson)

1901 Census RG13-4614 1 April 1901 Low Dinsdale, County Durham
Dinsdale Rectory
Robert Thompson
Georgina (Wife)
Joseph A.
Robert N.
Stanley M.
Age 50
Age 49
Age 24
Age 22
Age 20
Shipbuilder

Shipbuilder
Shipbuilder
Bookkeeper's Appr.
Durham
Yorkshire
Durham
Durham
Durham
Sunderland
Whitby
Monkwearmouth
Monkwearmouth
Fulwell
22 May 1850
20 Apr 1851
30 Nov 1876
2 Jul 1878
1 Dec 1880
Plus 6 servants

1901 Census RG13-4054 1 Apr 1901 Harrogate, Yorkshire
Oatlands College
James Roscol
John W. Thompson
Plus 50 Other Pupils
Plus 8 Servants
Age 64
Age 14
Head Schoolmaster
Pupil
Bolton
Sunderland
Lancashire
Durham
abt 1836
7 Sep 1886


Estimated to be about 1903, possible at Dinsdale, while the house was being built.
Place Cursor on a face to display person's name, click to go to their web page.
Robert Thompson Unidentified John "Jack" Thompson Norman Thompson Unidentified Georgiana Thompson Unidentified Unidentified Unidentified Unidentified Unidentified Unidentified Amelia Rachael Thompson Unidentified Vera Doxford Stanley Thompson

Death
Robert Thompson 1 Jan 1908  Age 57   Darlington
   1908 1Q Darlington 10a 1

  Newspaper
 1 January 1908       DEATH
THOMPSON - At Over Dinsdale Hall, near Darlington, on Jan. 1st 1908., aged 57 years, Robert Thompson, J. P. , eldest son of the late Joseph L. Thompson. Cortege to leave the south end of the Central Station, Sunderland, at 12 noon on Saturday.

Summary of the Will of Mr. Robert Thompson
of Over Dinsdale Hall, York County,
and Langham Tower, Sunderland, County Durham
1850 - 1908       Dated 6 January 1904
Trustees and Executors: Wife Georgiana, sons Joseph Andrew, Robert Norman,
Stanley Miller, and, at age, John Wyllie.
Wife Georgiana All my real and personal estate (my Trust Estate) for life.
Legacy of £ 500, and all household effects, and all items used in connection with all my residences.
Daughter: Amelia Rachel Legacy of £ 500, plus a £ 15,000 trust fund after the death of my wife, or, if my wife directs, this fund may be established in the lifetime of my wife.
My four sons The remainder of my Trust Estate, after death of my wife.
Each Domestic Servant £ 5 for each full year of service.

Death
Georgiana (Andrew) Thompson 2 June 1930  Age 79   Sunderland

ETHEL
DAUGHTER OF
R. & G. THOMPSON
BORN JUNE 22ND 1875
DIED JULY 28TH 1875
ALSO THE ABOVE

ROBERT THOMPSON
BORN MAY 22ND 1850
DIED JANUARY 1ST 1908
AT OVER DINSDALE NEAR DARLINGTON
ALSO THE ABOVE

GEORGIANA THOMPSON
BORN APRIL 20TH 1851
DIED JUNE 2ND 1930
AT SUNDERLAND
Monkwearmouth MERE KNOLLS CEMETERY
PHOTOS BY T.G. WHITE

PICTURE CREDIT
The photo of Langham Tower is by Gavin Dodds, from the book
"A HISTORY OF SUNDERLAND" by Glen Lyndon Dodds.
Published by Albion Press, 40 Park Parade, Roker, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear    1995