Records of Peel Fishing (I.O.M.) Company Limited

Scope and Content

The deposit includes ledgers March 1893 - July 1905, cashbook January 1893 - May 1898, daybook March 1893 - June 1899 and a handbill listing the company's telegraphic codes for the 1897 season.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Isle of Man has a well-established history of herring fishing and the west coastal town of Peel was the Island’s main fishing port. By the mid-nineteenth century this industry had expanded and Robert Corrin (c.1824-1899) son of a Peel grocer, financed boats to search for mackerel in the spring time in the south of Ireland (often called the Kinsale fishery). He also financed the introduction of machine made fishing nets, transforming the net-making business from a cottage industry into one of industrial production. By 1861 approximately 1,700 men were on the boats in Peel alone and by 1871 it was estimated that one in five of the total Manx population was employed in fishing. Expansion however gave rise to discontent and in 1886 the Kinsale fishermen, some of whom were Manx, protested against 'the exactions of the amalgamated company of fish-buyers engaged in the mackerel trade' ( Peel City Guardian quoting from the Cork Constitution, 1 May 1886). A month later the Peel newspaper reported: ‘Due to the failure of the fisheries here, in Ireland and the Shetland, disputes arose between the fishermen and the buyers, over the prices of fish’. The Manx fishermen wanted to form their own company, handle their own fish and cut out the middle man ( Peel City Guardian, 19 June 1886). In December 1892 the Peel Fishing Company Limited was established to do just that with elected directors and members of the board. The objectives of Peel Fishing Company Limited were:

  • To continue the mackerel and herring fishing off native and Irish coasts.
  • To purchase fish from and to act as carriers of fish for any fishing boats or fish-buyers engaged in the business.
  • To sell fish and other goods for any persons or companies in the fishing industry upon terms agreed between the Company and such persons/companies.
  • To supply fishing boats with coal and other necessities that enables proper engagement in the fishing business.
  • To purchase, hire or charter steamers, hulks, boxes, ice and all such plant and fishing gear that is necessary for the Company to conduct their business.
  • To form working relationships with any company or persons engaged in a similar business to the Company.
  • To undertake the liabilities of any company or persons carrying out the Company’s business.
  • To do their utmost to achieve the above objectives.

On 3 December 1892 the Peel City Guardian reported that out of the 215 Manx boats engaged in Kinsale fishery approximately 130 (members) of them were dispatching their own fish to market thus acting independently from the fish-buyers. The Company successfully ran for a number of years; in the fishing season of 1895 it amalgamated with the Port St Mary Fishing Company. However by the turn of the century the Manx fishing industry was beginning to decline and many young men were turning their backs on the trade. The financial position of the Company was no longer satisfactory and in 1899 the Company was dissolved. Much of its fleet was sold off to Irish fisherman. However in 1900 local Peel-man William Edward Teare (1850-1916), of Teare and Sons (MNH MS 09374) sail makers and ships chandlers purchased certain assets of the Peel Fishing Company and sent his own boats to fish and send to market ( Manx Sun, 10 March 1900), therefore continuing Peel fishing industry and the Company's vision into the early twentieth century.

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Archivist's Note

The biographical information was gathered from Manx newspapers and Fred Palmer's Glimpses of Old Peel (1993: 70-71). Isle of Man newspapers available online at Further biographical information was gathered from the Dissolved Company file Peel (I.O.M.) Fishing Co. Ltd (S2/160), Isle of Man Public Record Office.

Fonds-level description created by Eleanor Williams (MNH Project Archivist), October 2015.

Related Material

Related material held at Manx National Heritage includes includes numerous library and archival resources.

The Dissolved Company file of Peel (I.O.M.) Fishing Co. Ltd is held by the Isle of Man Public Record Office, Douglas. Reference number: S2/160.