Founder of the business of T L
Devlin, Trawler Owners
Thomas Leishman Devlin was born at 5 Annfield,
Newhaven, in 1854, son of
and Christina Devlin.
middle name, 'Leishman', first appeared on his marriage certificate, when
he married Grace Darney on February 22, 1882. In earlier documents, his
name was given as 'Thomas Devlin'. [John D Stevenson]
In 1871 he was working as a 'Fish Merchant' with his
father. Seven years later, he was working as 'Fish Merchant and
Salesman' on his own account.
In 1882, Thomas married
Grace Cochrane Darney in Edinburgh. They had three children, all
born at Newhaven:
b.1884- Thomas Leishman
- Robert b.1889
In 1890, Grace's mother, Elizabeth
Mossman, died in April 1890, leaving over £40,000 to be shared amongst her
4 sons and 3 daughters, in the ratio of 1 part per son to 1.5 parts
Grace's £7,000 share of this
inheritance may have enabled Thomas to begin his
major investments, first in property and later in trawlers.
the trawler GRACE from his father in 1887. He
sold it two years later, but went on to buy many more
trawlers from the 1890s
onwards, beginning with COMMODORE in 1890.
This was the start of the
T L Devlin, trawler owning business,
the largest private fleet of steam trawlers in Britain.
For further details, see
In addition to his trawling business, Thomas had an
interest in many other businesses. He was a director of many companies, including:
- Dundee Steam Trawling Co
Madelvic Car Factory, Granton
- North British Cold Store, Leith
- Scotts Shipyard, Kinghorn
He became a very successful businessman, and amassed
an estate of £429,522: 3s 6d by the time of his death
in 1919. He left the ownership of his
trawling business to his wife, Grace.
retained control of the Devlin business until her own death, in 1941, at
the age of 91.
lived in rented accommodation, until the late 1880s,
but then appears to have started investing in
property. His investments began with:
- 1887: A
house was being built at Blantyre Terrace, Merchiston.
He took out a £1,000 mortgage for this house, and redeemed it in 1888.
1888: The house in which he was living on 2nd floor at 60,
A shop at 14 Parsons Green Terrace and house above the shop.
Land on which three houses were to be built in road to be called Stirling
Road, Trinity. For these he took out a £1,600 mortgage, and redeemed
it in 1889.
He bought houses in 1891, paying £950 to Robert Robertson, builder,
Jessfield, for property at 5 + 7, Strowan Terrace.
Strowan Terrace was the name given to houses on the N side
of the road at the W end of East Trinity Road.
In 1888, Thomas was living at 60 Hawthornvale.
He later owned and lived in houses at 203 Newhaven Road then 25
Thomas worked to support the Liberal
Party in Leith.
He presented an ornamental fountain in Starbank Park
and a drinking fountain at Annfield to the people of Leith in 1910.
The details above have been supplied by John D Stevenson