Southampton-born John Ransom (1799-1886) was, as a young man, a shipbuilding apprentice at the Belvidere Shipyard on the River Itchen. By 1823 he was building his own wooden ships, first in partnership with James Blaker at the Chapel yard and then with John Rubie at a shipyard in Cross House. He took over the Belvidere yard in 1852. His yards undertook repair work for numerous shipping companies including P & O and Royal Mail, as well as building new ships. Ransom owned a number of ships, many built in his own yards or rebuilt there from salvaged wrecks. His ships carried cargoes across the Atlantic and to Scandinavian and Mediterranean ports, but mainly they worked the British coasts.

He owned a timber yard at Ransom Terrace, formerly part of Albert Road, where he also owned houses which he let to his workers. By 1860 he employed about 500 men and was one of the largest employers in the town. He was active politically, becoming a Conservative councillor for St Mary’s ward and an alderman. He lived at Hawthorn Cottage on the Common, then a substantial five-bedroom Georgian house.

John Ransom

Image Unavailable

Portrait in oils by Heath, 1865

see also

Further reading:

More Stories of Southampton Streets, by A. G. K. Leonard, p55-56. (HS/h)
Southampton Memorials of Care for Man and Beast, by A. G. K. Leonard, p15-20. (HS/k)
Familiar and Forgotten/,/ by Southampton City Art Gallery. (HS/lt)
Shipbuilding in Victorian Southampton//, by Adrian Rance. (HS/pf)


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