The Shipping Magnates of Swansea: Shaddicks and Stewarts

The Shaddick Family, 1892.

The Tawstock Shaddocks may be have one of the poorest branches of the Yarnscombe Shaddocks and Shaddicks. But one of the branches of the family may have become one of the wealthiest when they packed their bags and trades tools and moved across the channel from the Devon coast to the new naval shipyards in Swansea. Ian Stewart, a descendant of that immigrant, William Shaddick (1788-1841), tells a fascinating story of how this family grew and prospered, becoming major shipping magnates in Swansea.

To read about the Tawstock branch of the Yarnscombe Shaddocks, read the parent page to this one: Tawstock Shaddocks.

Ian Stewart names the people in the picture. Beginning on the left, top row: Grace, Stanley, George, Florence, George senior (leaning on vase). Second row from left: Anne (née Burgess, wife of George senior) holding Gwen, Maud, Elsie. Third row from left: Clifford, "Spot" the family pet, Mabel.

Good to see that the family fur baby was part of the family portrait.

All pictures on this page are courtesy Ian Stewart.

Ian Stewart, Edinburgh, January 2020

My grandmother was born in Swansea, where her maternal grandfather had established a shipping business.

My grandfather, William Roy Stewart, was born near Dunkeld, Perthshire, Scotland in 1881, a younger son of the head gamekeeper on the Dungartill Estate. He was educated at the local school, Spittalfield, until he was sixteen, where he came top of the year (Dux). He then worked as a clerk at the Bank of Scotland in Perth, followed by a stint at the Corstorphine branch of the Bank of Scotland, which is on the outskirts of Edinburgh, before he headed south to seek a better future, evidently with just £3 in his pocket. He was recruited, possibly in London, into the Bank of Bombay in about 1904. After a few years training in Bombay he was posted to Surat, probably as an assistant bank manager. However, the bulk of his career was spent as a bank manager in the Amraoti area, which is the main cotton growing area of India. Subsequently the Bank of Bombay was merged in 1921 into the Imperial Bank of India.

Whilst in Surat, my grandfather got to know a couple, the Andersons. Colonel Anderson was probably a surgeon in the Indian Medical Service, a military medical service in British India. Apparently, my Shaddick great grandparents knew the Andersons socially in London, and it was indirectly, or perhaps directly, as a result of this that my grandparents met. Although George Shaddick died in 1906, the Shaddicks had kept up with the Andersons. My grandmother, Elsie Shaddick, came out with Mrs Anderson for the Delhi Durbar in 1911, where Mrs Anderson acted as an interpreter to the Queen. My father writes ‘thus it was almost inevitable that my mother and father should meet and it looks as if they were together a lot at the ensuing festivities’. They married two years later on the 21st November 1913 at St Andrew’s Church of Scotland in Bombay. If the Andersons were Scottish, which is likely, it would explain the choice of church, and it would seem that none of my great grandparents were present. My grandfather’s profession on the marriage certificate is listed as Agent, Bank of Bombay.

One cannot help wondering whether it was a type of ‘arranged’ marriage. Certainly, my mother thought so. My grandmother was the attractive twenty seven year old daughter of a prosperous family. My grandfather was thirty years old, and even though from a modest background, was handsome, highly intelligent and very capable. Fortunately, he had a Highland Scottish accent, which would have been no hindrance in the class conscious society of the time. My grandfather rose to a senior position in the bank. However, he told my father that if he had got a university degree, which would have meant in those days well-off or well-connected parents and a private school education, he could have become a director of the Bank of India. He consequently dispatched my father to Charterhouse School and Cambridge University. I dutifully followed in my father’s footsteps.

My grandparents had two children, Gwen (named after her aunt Gwendoline Shaddick), who married but had no children, and my father John, who married my mother Anne in 1956 and had three children, myself (Ian), David and Malcolm.

James Edward Burgess

My great grandfather, George Shaddick, did well, even though he too had come from a modest background. The business that supplied his wealth had been set up my great great grandfather James Edward Burgess in the 1840s. In 1867, looking to the future, Burgess created a new partnership comprising himself, his son James Henry and George Shaddick, under the title of Burgess & Shaddick, shipowners, shipbrokers and agents. George Shaddick was a coal merchant’s clerk and a talented self-taught linguist, who had come to James Burgess’s attention. George in 1869 then conveniently married Ann Burgess, James senior’s daughter and James junior’s sister, thereby cementing the partnership, and making it a family business. Both the Burgesses and the Shaddicks had originated in North Devon. The Burgesses ancestors had been stone masons and builders and the Shaddick ancestors had been shipwrights, both families attracted to Swansea by the burgeoning shipping trade.

My great grandfather, George Shaddick, did well, even though he too had come from a modest background. The business that supplied his wealth had been set up my great great grandfather James Edward Burgess in the 1840s. In 1867, looking to the future, Burgess created a new partnership comprising himself, his son James Henry and George Shaddick, under the title of Burgess & Shaddick, shipowners, shipbrokers and agents. George Shaddick was a coal merchant’s clerk and a talented self-taught linguist, who had come to James Burgess’s attention. George in 1869 then conveniently married Ann Burgess, James senior’s daughter and James junior’s sister, thereby cementing the partnership, and making it a family business. Both the Burgesses and the Shaddicks had originated in North Devon. The Burgesses ancestors had been stone masons and builders and the Shaddick ancestors had been shipwrights, both families attracted to Swansea by the burgeoning shipping trade.

Between 1867 and 1877 Burgess & Shaddick built or purchased a total of twenty-three ships. However, the company increasingly carried out agency work, and by the 1890s they sold the last of their ships. In 1898 they opened a London office, and it would appear around this time George Shaddick moved his family to Beckenham, which is a prosperous south east London suburb. On one document George Shaddick is listed as merchant and consul, which meant that he would also have represented the British government overseas. My father told me that he traveled abroad a lot, particularly in the Low Countries.

There is a very good history of the Burgess and Shaddick business at http://burgess-swansea.co.uk/.

The family were by this stage very wealthy. My grandfather was able to retire to Tumbridge Wells very comfortably from the Bank of India at the age of fifty two on the back of his wife’s inheritance and share of her parent’s estate. He claimed he made more money investing this money in stocks and shares than he ever did from his bank salary or pension.

George 1843–1906 and Anne Shaddick 1848–1921 had nine children;

  • George Henry Burgess Shaddick 1870–1928 (married Gertrude Nash 1873–1942)
  • Florence Mary Shaddick 1872–1948 (unmarried)
  • Stanley Boyd Shaddick 1873–1954 (married Melita Krige 1875–1924)
  • Grace Mansfield Shaddick 1877–1945 (married Benjamin Dickinson ?-?)
  • Mabel Annie Shaddick 1880–? (married Jon Dinkser ?-?)
  • Maud ? Shaddick ?-? (married ? Shaw ?-?)
  • Elsie Jane Shaddick 1884–1947 (married William Stewart 1881–1968)
  • Clifford Ramiro Shaddick 1886–1956 (married Mary Spence 1896–1973)
  • Gwendoline Isa Shaddick 1888–1956 (married Cecil Le Fanu 1877–1936)

In the 1901 census George and Anne Shaddick are recorded as living at 52 Albemarle Road, Beckenham. I have a photograph of a large house, on the back of which is written ‘Shaddick’s home in Shirley’. On the gate post is ‘Gatewick’ and on the fence ‘Westgate Road’. In the Beckenham Trade Directories of the early 1900s the house at 52 The Avenue, Beckenham is styled as ‘Gatewick’ (not to be confused with the airport at Gatwick, Sussex) and is on the corner of Westgate Road. The Avenue is a short distance from Albemarle Road. Both the houses have since been demolished. The Shaddicks appear to have styled themselves as living in Shirley, and George and Anne Shaddick were interned at Shirley Churchyard. Shirley is three miles to the south of Beckenham.

George Shaddick (1843-1906)

Anne Burgess (1848-1921)

Shaddick home in Shirley.

The offices of Burgess & Co. were located in this building on Cambrian Place, Swansea.

Clifford Ramiro Shaddick (1886-1956) and Mary Hartley Spence (1883-1973) on their wedding day 29 Jan, 1917, St Dunstan, Acton, England. Cliff was a son of George and Ann Shaddick.

Anne and her daughter Gwen.

Shaddick Family Reunion

Cecil Le Fanu (1877-1936) and Gwen (1888-1956).

House at Shirley