Records of Teare and Sons, Sail Makers and Ship Chandlers of Peel

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The deposit includes ledgers of the accounts of customers, supplied goods and boats 1877-1929, daybooks of daily orders and sales 1870-1884 and a notebook detailing their chandlery stock January 1886 - May 1898; also account books calculating the value of fish and the individual boats' profits or losses 1874-1913, a letter to J. Teare from J. Garton (a fish salesman and auctioneer based in Liverpool) 24 June 1875 and an undated pencil sketch of an unnamed vessel.

Administrative / Biographical History

Teare and Sons sail makers and ships chandlers was founded around 1866 by John Teare (1819-1893) who was a rope maker and his son William Edward Teare (1850-1916) who was a sail maker. Both worked together and operated the business on The Quay on the corner of St. Peter’s Lane in Peel on the west coast of the Isle of Man. The sail making room where sails were not only made but repaired was situated in the loft whilst the ground floor was taken up by the chandler business selling ropes, paint, cork (for nets), chains, nets, linseed oil, paraffin and petrol.

In the nineteenth century the economy of Peel was dominated by fishing, boat building and the trading of fish. It reached its peak in the mid to late nineteenth century when in 1854 Robert Corrin (c.1824-1899) the son of a Peel grocer, brought the first fishing net making machines from Scotland to Peel and changed the net making method from a cottage industry into industrial production. Manx fishing had been confined to fishing for herring in the summer months until the same Robert Corrin financed the first Manx fishing boat to determine the prospects of mackerel fishing in the spring time off the coast of southern Ireland (often called the Kinsale fishery). This venture had great commercial success with the mackerel and herring fishing industry of Peel helping grow other trades in the town such as sail making, ship chandlers, net barkers (preserving nets from sea water), shipbuilders, riggers, blacksmiths, coopers, salt and ice importers and smokehouses.

Teare and Sons prospered during this period of economic growth and invested their money in Manx built boats. Between 1850 and 1914 they had shareholdings in approximately 24 fishing boats and 11 trading schooners. In 1870 the company had 55 fishing boats registered as customers. By 1880 this had more than doubled to 120. Teare and Sons allowed the fishing boats to take goods on credit and it could be anything from 6 months to a year (until the fishing season had ended) before they were paid. By allowing boats to take credit, investing their profits into shares in existing boats and advancing wages to fishermen's wives and families the Teare family did much to knowingly support the local fishing industry out of Peel. By the end of the nineteenth century the value of fish had declined; the 1900 crash of the Manx business Dumbell's Banking Company Ltd almost destroyed the Manx fishing industry. Many fishermen lost everything and numerous young men left the Island to search for work elsewhere. Teare’s and Son however, managed to survive and when William Edward Teare died in 1916 the business was sold to his cousin John Teare (1863-1922). John Teare was a master sail maker and with his son Freddie Teare (1890-1964) the sail makers and ships chandlers business operated until Freddie's (who contributed in the 1950s to the Manx Folk life Survey [MNH FLS] on sail making) death in 1964.

Conditions Governing Access

No regulations or restrictions are implemented on this material.

Advance notification of a research visit is advisable by emailing library@mnh.gov.im

Other Finding Aids

Printed box list available.

Archivist's Note

The biographical information was gathered from the Isle of Man Times (28 January 1988) and Michael Teare’s Sail-Room Stories, 2014 (MHN M 41833). Isle of Man newspapers available online at http://www.newspapers.gov.im/Default/Skins/IOMDemo/Client.asp?skin=IOMDemo&enter=true&AppName=2. Further biographical information was gathered from the website http://teareandsons.com/

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

Related Material

Manx National Heritage hold other archival and library resources relating to Teare and Sons and Peel fishing. Reference numbers:

  • Archives - FLS G/029, FLS T007-A, FLS T007-B, FLS T007-C, MS 06370, MS 06623, MS 09373, MS 09411, MS 12786 & MS 13545.
  • Library - M 27603.