Thomas L Devlin's
Thomas L Devlin's Daimler with his son, Robert, in the driving
with acknowledgement to Darnie Devlin, Inverleith, Edinburgh,
Darney Devlin is son of Robert Devlin in this photo.
Thomas L Devlin's Daimler
Robert Devlin is the young,
well-dressed man sitting in the driving seat of this old Daimler.
The Daimler belonged to his father, Thomas L Devlin, who founded the
business of Thomas Devlin, Trawler Owners based at Granton,
in the 1880s.
Thomas L Devlin
Robert Devlin may have been
still at school when this photo was taken. He went on to run the
Thomas Devlin & Sons Ltd business until his death in 1926 when the
operation of the business passed to his brother, also named Thomas L
This photograph appears to have been taken in a yard, somewhere, with
its cobbled surface and old cart in the background. If you recognise
where it might have been taken, please
Thank you. - Peter Stubbs: October
NOTE: The Devlin
family lived in the Newhaven/Trinity district of Edinburgh. Their
trawlers sailed from Granton Harbour, The company had a ship repair yard
close to Granton Harbour.
Thank you to Grant King, Aberdeenshire, now working in Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil, for sending this reply:
Thomas L Devlin's Daimler
"I noticed that there was a barrow at the
side of the Daimler and you can also just make out some other bits and
pieces. Might the photograph have been taken in Devlin's Yard?
When I started my apprenticeship at A&R
Hepburn they also had a barrow which, as an apprentice, you would
use for every trawler you were working on to fetch and carry repair parts
back and forward. The Devlin apprentices did the same.
This was all ways a great break from the
workshop, unless you had to haul a sheave up from a trawler by hand when
the tide was out. Mind you, it was handy having a father who was a
I used to pass Devlin's yard in Lower Granton
Road, close to Granton Harbour just about every day on my way to school.
It always caught my eye as it was the only place left at that time that
still had cobbles down.
When looking into the yard, the cobbles used
to lead up to a grass mound which had a flag pole mounted which looked
like a ship's sailing mast.
I remember, in my younger years, in the
early 1960s, standing outside the entrance to Devlin's yard waiting
on the car he had in those days pulling out, just to see the
fantastic bonnet mounting.
Never mind your Jaguar or Rolls Royce. This
was a replica trawler. That man knew how to spend his money. That
was the way to spend it!"
I now wonder, when he wafted by in his car in
this period, whether or not he had a rye smile on his face as just about
all the house doors along Lower Granton Road to about the Wardie Hotel
were painted Devlin green. (I wonder where the paint come from ??????)
Grant King, Aberdeenshire, now working in Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil:: December 13+14, 2006.
Thank you to John Devlin, Florida, USA for sending the comments below.
John is the grandson of John Devlin, brother of Thomas L Devlin who owned
Advert for Chauffeur
"I expect Thomas got one look at Robert
sitting behind the wheel of his very expensive car and decided to look for
some professional outside help to handle the driving chores.
This advert appeared in 'The Scotsman, 24
CHAUFFEUR MECHANIC WANTED at once for
Trinity district. Must be sober and experienced with knowledge
of Edinburgh district.
Apply Thomas L
Chauffeur Driven to School
"Seeing the picture of the Daimler with Robert
at the wheel reminded me of something that my father told me when I was
quite young and riding to school on the trolley.
When he was a young man going to private
school, he was often driven in his uncle Thomas' "fancy car with a
I thought he must be kidding me until I
saw the picture.
He said he didn't like being driven in the car
because his school chums would give him a hard time about it. That
may be another reason why he left home at 15 and joined the navy"
John Devlin, Sun City Center, Florida, USA: December 14, 2006
John Devlin was born 1932. He is researching the
Devlin family history. John is grandson of John Devlin whose brother
Thomas Leishman Devlin founded the business of TL Devlin, trawler owners,
Granton, in the 1890s.
Thank you to Steve Campbell-Wright, Pre-war Registrar, DLCV, Australia,
for the following message.
"You may already be aware, but this is a 1909
Daimler. It is either a 22hp or a 38hp, and my money is on the 22hp for
the moment. This was one of the first of the sleeve-valve cars. Is sports
the optional wooden removable wheels.
I own a similar car, which is as yet
un-restored. The side-lights are electric, which Daimler was very early to
adopt. However, this car has brackets for kerosene lamps as well, which is
the first example I've ever seen.
This is a wonderful photo of a wonderful car.
It's not known to have survived. There are only three of each type (22hp
and 38hp) surviving from 1909, although the ex-John Bland car (reg
LB8864) in the UK is very similar."
Steve Campbell-Wright, Australia: April 9, 2007
I spoke, today, to Darney Devlin, son of the
young man in the driving seat in this photo, and grandson of the owner of
Darney still has modern car
that carries the registration number of the old Daimler, WS102, but he
doesn't know what happened to the old Daimler.
Darney tells me that his
grandfather, the owner of the old Daimler later owned a Benz, and that
certainly didn't survive.
Darney remembers instructions
being given in the Devlin ship yard, at the start of WW2, for the Benz to
be taken to their other workshop and dismantled so that its chassis could
be used for a bogie being constructed to move equipment to and from
the Devlin Yard in connection with the naval contracts for vessels in
Granton Harbour being taken on by T L Devlin during the war.
April 9, 2007
Steve sent this follow-up message on April 11,
1909 TC22 model
"I'm now certain that it's a 1909 TC22 model,
not the 38hp. Two distinct identification features confirm this, although
other features that I use are not visible in the photo.
The wheels only have 12 spokes, while the 38hp
wheels have 16; and there is only a single ridge at the lower edge of the
radiator head, indicating that there is no brass trim.
While this might all sound a little esoteric,
it's great from a Daimler historian's point of view because there are so
few confirmed photos of 22hp cars from this period, especially with the
factory landaulette body."
Steve Campbell-Wright, Australia: April 11, 2007
Only Three Remaining
"Only 3 of these cars remain worldwide. One is
in driving condition in England, and the other two are here in Australia.
One is in very poor condition, while mine is very sound but not fully
Steve Campbell-Wright, Australia: April 13, 2007
Thank you to Darney Devlin, son of Robert
Devlin, the young man in the car in this photo for telling me about the
registration number of this car, WS102.
This registration number was passed down through the
family. The modern car that Darney drives today has the same number
Darney told me:
- Edinburgh Council used the 'WS' series
of registration numbers (but followed by 4 digits) after their 'S' series
of numbers was exhausted.
- The 'WS' series was originally issued
by Leith Council. (Edinburgh and Leith were separate boroughs until
they amalgamated in 1920.)
- Leith started issuing 'WS' numbers at the
same time as Edinburgh started issuing 'S' numbers.
Darney Devlin: Inverleith,
Edinburgh: November 21, 2009