Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thomas Cook in Market Harborough

Today's events have sent me to my bookshelves and Bygone Days in Market Harborough by John Bland, published in 1924.

Bland writes:
Whilst upon the subject of Railways it would be well to mention that the late Mr. Thomas Cook, the founder of the firm of Messrs. Thomas Cook & Son, carried on a chair making and turning business in Adam and Eve Street. 
Mr Cook was a great enthusiast in promoting the cause of Temperance and soon after the Midland Counties Railway was opened for traffic in 1840, he walked from Harborough to Leicester to speak at a Temperance Meeting there. 
During his long walk he meditated on the possibilities of the new railway serving the cause he had so much at heart, and the thought flashed across his mind that if special concessions could be obtained from the Railway Company it might attract people to attend another large Temperance Meeting to be held later. 
When he made his speech at Leicester he introduced this subject and the meeting appointed him to go into the question with the Railway Company. Mr. Cook approached the Company the following day, and succeeded in inducing them to run a special train from Leicester to Loughborough, 11 miles distant, at a return fair of one shilling. 
This was the first excursion train, and led to the founding of the world renowned firm of Thomas Cook & Son.
The book incidentally was printed in the town by Charles R. Knighton and published by Green & Co., a stationers that lasted into the 1980s.


wolfi said...

Jonathan, did you read or hear that the Thomas Cokk Company has financial problems ?

It seems that they're on the verge of bancrutcy - what a sad end for this great man's ideas ...

ben young said...

On 4 August 1845 he arranged accommodation for a party to travel from Leicester to Liverpool. In 1846, he took 350 people from Leicester on a tour of Scotland, however his lack of commercial ability led him to bankruptcy

quoted from wikipedia

so no change there