Five generations of British Shipowners
Stag Line was owned and managed from North Shields by five generations of the Robinson family. The Robinson family history was closely linked to Whitby, Capt. Joseph Robinson being born in Whitby in 1768, his brothers being Capt. John Robinson and Thomas Robinson. The son of Capt. Joseph Robinson of the same name, ordered a wooden snow in 1846 from a shipbuilder in South Shields and named her as Stag, using the insurance money from a previous sailing ship, Blessing, lost that year to purchase 28 shares in the new ship on the 64ths principle. His brother Thomas took 22 shares and James Miller, shipowner, took the remaining fourteen shares.
A trippant stag was adopted as the houseflag of the ship, and she was to be managed from 1850 by the newly formed management company of Joseph Robinson & Company. The stag device was in continuous use from 1846 to 1983, and a large stencil outline of a stag was kept in the office basement at North Shields and was brought out to mark up the stag on the funnels of new acquisitions. The white stag also adorned the gable end of the old Maritime Chambers office building, built in 1806/07 as the Subscription Library of the Tynemouth Literary and Philosophical Society and now the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for North Tyneside. When the Stag Line tramps passed the office, which has a grandstand view over the river Tyne, either inbound or outbound, they sounded their sirens as a mark of respect. A red stag adorns the gable end of the building today.
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