The wealthy Hartlepool man who went around the world

William on horseback.
William on horseback.

A descendant of an intrepid Hartlepool man has revealed his ancestor’s round-the-world adventures.

Daniel Whitehead plans to publish the full story of his great-great grandfather William Whitehead online next year.

William pictured in June 1898 in Auckland, New Zealand.

William pictured in June 1898 in Auckland, New Zealand.

In the meantime, Hartlepool Mail readers have been given a wonderful insight into the story of a man who made his fortune in business before setting off on a well-deserved voyage.

Here is the first in a four-part extract from his travel diaries.

Saturday, January 15, 1898 – the SS Victoria, English Channel.

Maybe I should detract from interest were I not to revert to the parting at West Hartlepool.

Willie & I had a very pleasant & cheery set off. The good wishes of the friends there for a happy time & safe return brightened the present & shone on the future.

We had a very pleasant journey to the City, & after a wash & tea, made our way to Cook’s, Ludgate Circus, with a view to making final arrangements.

On Thursday morning, a very dense fog hung over the City & all was lighted artificially till near noon.

On Friday morning, we made a good start & got to Liverpool St. Station to join the Boat Express, due to leave at 11 a.m. for Tilbury.

On arrival at the station, 10:30, it was very much crowded with passengers and friends.

So very crowded was the special train, a second had to be employed. We were in time for the first & it left the station 7 minutes before the appointed hour.

However, it gave Willie a longer stay with me on board the Victoria.

On arrival at Tilbury, we stepped on to the tender & soon was in midstream alongside the huge steamer, & on stepping aboard her we soon found berth 66, where we satisfied ourselves that my baggage was all there, then hurried on Willie’s account to view the saloon & other parts of interest.

Soon after the passengers were off, the tender the bell rang “visitors ashore” & then a rush took place. Not many minutes elapsed before the tender loaded, steamed away. The scene was moving.

The many hats, handkerchiefs and waving, and the voicing of parting goodbyes, was a sight we can’t soon forget.

As the tender steamed round our bows & sailed by us, the same signalling as before from friends then a right good round of hurrahs again & again being reciprocated, till we could no longer distinguish individuals, & so ends the last look on my first born & well beloved Willie till, God willing, we meet again.

At 1:30, the bugle sounded lunch & there was a big muster, every chair being filled, & as we sat 1:55, we felt a silent motion & sure enough looking through the port hole, passing objects were on view & we were on our voyage.

* Watch out for more on the voyage of Wlliam Whitehead next week.