Scarborough has long been a nursery of seamen. The coming of the railways and the broadening of share ownership made the 19th century town, for some decades, a modest centre for ship owning, for vessels which sailed the seven seas.
The ship building firm of Tindall's had absorbed most of the other Scarborough ship builders. As ship sizes increased, and steam replaced sail, they ceased building at Scarborough and ran their fleet out of London. Scarborough families served in many of their ships.
W.J. & R Tindall owned 20 ships out of Scarborough in 1851 , Thomas Burlinson Walker had 21 ships, William Wear 7, Matthew Smith 6 Thomas Hick 5 ,Pantland Hick 4 and George Willis 4. The number of ships owned and registered at Scarborough fell towards the end of that century. Porrit Webster owned the last sailing ships at the port, the "PT Webster" , "Thomas Hamlyn" and "TD Marshall". During the late seventies, Pentland Hick junior went into steam and owed seven steamers built at South Shields. T. E. Hick owned 3 steamers, which were not sold till c 1905 when Scarborough shipowning effectively ended
Scarborough Captains were everywhere. Tom Whelan,once master of the Tindall brig "Tay", later joined the Hicks fleet and was master of their barque "Hope", sailing out of Aden. Captain William Whelan was master of Richard Mosey's barque "Coquinbo". Mosey also had the "Hannah Robinson " in the West Indies trade. Captain Thomas Hick was in the Quebec trade, but returned home to Scarborough. Captain Pantland Hick of York Place had five sons, all master mariners.
Captain Wyrill wrote notes on many of the Scarborough men. Captain Broomhead had an artifical silver nose. "Captain Thomas Edward Shaw, born at Scarborough in 1839, arrived at Austraia in the brig Sea Nymph in 1865 and was long at Freemantle. He traded sandalwood with Java and China and was twice castaway .
Wyrill recalled collier brigs trading with Canadian ports. They were laid up in harbour from November to March, because of the freezing over of the St Lawrence river. The Brigs returned every Summer from Quebec with cargoes of deal or with guano from Patagonia. His own first voyage was to Venice and Odessa and he was 54 years in sail. Henry Nichols took coal to Brazil on his first voyage. He went into steam about 1878.
Thomas Michael Almon, born at Scarborough in 1836, after four years at the Royal Naval School, Greenwich was chief officer on a large sailer at 21, master mariner by 22 and at 25 commanded the barque "Alfred Hawley". After years in the Australia trade he settled at Brisbane where he died in 1902.