Christopher Furness

Born: Christopher Furness was born on 23rd April 1852 in West Hartlepool. He was the seventh son of John Furness and Averil Wilson. His father ran a successful grocery business in Lynn Street, West Hartlepool.

Educated: Christopher Furness attended the Anderson School, West Hartlepool.

Married: On 16th May 1876 Christopher Furness married Jane Suggitt, daughter of Henry Suggitt of Brierton.

Family: Their only son Marmaduke later became the first Viscount Furness.

Home: Tunstall Court was built for Christopher Furness in 1897. Later he lived at Grantley Hall, near Ripon.

Known for: Christopher Furness was a highly successful businessman. He established Christopher Furness and Company in 1882, merging with Edward Withy and Company in 1891 to form Furness Withy and Company. The firm built and operated dozens of steamships, many of which sailed on transatlantic routes. They built the first turbine-powered transatlantic vessel. Furness acquired a controlling interest in the large marine engineering firm of Richardsons Westgarth and Company of Hartlepool and Middlesbrough. In 1898 Furness and William Gray, the West Hartlepool shipbuilder, purchased two ironworks in Stockton and the West Hartlepool Steel and Iron Company. These were converted into a single company, the South Durham Steel and Iron Company Limited, which was one of the largest steel companies in Britain. Christopher Furness was M.P. for Hartlepool 1891-95 and again 1901-10. He was knighted in 1895 and in 1910 he became First Baron Furness of Grantley.

Died: Sir Christopher Furness died at Grantley Hall near Ripon on 10th November 1912

Further Information:  “Who Was Who in 19th Century Cleveland” David M.Tomlin and Mary Williams (1987)

“Durham at the Opening of the Twentieth Century” James Jamieson (1906)