WISBECH: Descendants of one of town's greatest entrepreneurs mark bicentenary of his birth

By Maggie Gibson DESCENDANTS of one of Wisbech s greatest entrepreneurs, Richard Young, travelled from all over the world to gather in Wisbech to mark the bicentenary of his birth. His great grandson, Andrew Haig, was the guest of honour at the event in

By Maggie Gibson

DESCENDANTS of one of Wisbech's greatest entrepreneurs, Richard Young, travelled from all over the world to gather in Wisbech to mark the bicentenary of his birth.

His great grandson, Andrew Haig, was the guest of honour at the event in the Boathouse on Saturday.

He presented an engraving of his ancestor, a ship owner and mayor of Wisbech, which had been signed by the great man himself.


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Also attending the celebrations was nine-year-old Ewan McConnachie - a pupil at St Peter's School, Wisbech, and the great, great, great, great, great-nephew of Richard Young.

Around 70 people attended the event which was hosted by Councillor Bernard Keane, chairman of Fenland District Council. They were welcomed by Councillor Mac Cotterell, portfolio holder with responsibility for special projects.

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Cllr Cotterell said: "I am sure that, could Richard Young have been with us today, he would have been proud to see the progress being made in our Nene Waterfront regeneration, the port itself and indeed its flagship, the boathouse, with its Richard Young suite.

"We still have so much to learn about this great family of Young and the heritage it created and left behind."

Wisbech Harbour Master Peter Harvey spoke on the history of Wisbech Port and Gary Garford, the district council's corporate director of business and infrastructure spoke on its future.

Richard Young was born in 1809 and served as mayor of Wisbech five times from 1858 to 1863. He was a prominent ship owner, local benefactor, Cambridgeshire MP and went on to become Sherriff of London and Middlesex.

At various times Young had 43 boats operating from the port after taking advantage of the newly improved River Nene. His vessels carried a wide range of cargoes including coal from Newcastle and tea from China.

Young even encouraged early tourism, running a pleasure excursion across the Humber on one of his many steam ships.

There are portraits of Young on the walls of the chamber where Wisbech Town council meets and his success is marked in the museum but perhaps the greatest reminder of the man is the statue of him in Wisbech Town Park.

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