The Late Mr. Joseph Horatio Ritchie.
We have to acknowledge the receipt of a memoir of the late Mr. J.H. Ritchie,
whose loss in the early part of last year a large body of personal friends had
to deplore, Mr. Ritchie was born at Port Glasgow in August, 1799, and when
about sixteen years of age was apprenticed to the well-known shipbuilders,
Messrs. John and Charles Wood. After a varied experience in his profession,
acquired in Scotland, New Brunswick, and Canada, in which latter colony he was
engaged with Mr. Charles Wood in designing and building the well-known timer
ships. Columbus and Baron of
Renfrew, he settled at Rotherhithe as a shipbuilder. Here he carried on
for some time a successful repairing business, and also built several fine
West Indiamen for the Liverpool trade; but some contracts into which he had
entered not providing so renmunerative as had been anticipated, Mr. Ritchie
became, in 1842, a Chief Surveyor of Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign
Shipping — a society which had been instituted some eight years
previously. In this position which he occupied until his death, he exercised
no small influenced upon the shipbuilding of the country, and one that has
borne good fruit. The process made by the society under his management can
best be gathered from the fact that, in 1846, there were on the Register only
10 ships of 1,000 tons and upwards, while in 1863 the number had risen to 421,
and has since considerably increased. In 1834 the society possessed only 600
subscribers; in 1865 it had 2,400, with a funded capital of £ 75,000
— the number of ships on the register being 12,000, of an aggregate
tonnage of 5,000,000 tons. Mr. Ritchie will long be remembered by all who were
fortunate enough to enjoy his acquintance for his generous disposition,
kindliness of heart, and intense honesty of purpose in everything that he
Naval Science Vol. II (1873), pp 260-261.
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