Hain, Edward

Cornish shipping magnate, staunch Nonconformist, and politician, and member at Bedford Road MNC, St. Ives, Cornwall, born in the town on 26 December 1851. He came from a long line of Cornish shipowners, but showed no desire to go to sea, and was sent initially to work in London, acquiring business experience first in a bank and then with a tea merchant. Returning to St Ives in 1878, his commercial experience persuaded the family business to switch from sail to steam. By 1901 he had established a number of shiping companies, which were merged into one limited liability company, the Hain Steamship Co. Ltd, with twenty two steamers. The company lost eighteen ships during the First World War, with two more held by the Germans and another trapped in the Baltic. The company was sold to P&O and the India Steam Navigation Co. in 1917. Hain was Vice-President of the Chamber of Shipping, and President in 1910-11. He also owned the Cornish Telegraph, before selling it to the Cornishman.

A Gladstonian Liberal, Hain represented St Ives for thirteen years on Cornwall County Council and was mayor of the town six times. He was elected Liberal Unionist MP for St Ives, unopposed, in 1900 but switched to the Liberals in 1904 in opposition to Chamberlain's tariff reform proposals. For a combination of political and health reasons he did not stand for re-election in 1906. Knighted in 1910, he was appointed High Sheriff of Cornwall in 1912. His son-in-law Dennis Shipwright (1895-1984) was MP for Penrhyn and Falmouth 1922-23.

Hain's son, Edward (1887-1915), was educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford, and killed at Gallipoli on 11 November 1915. He is commemorated by the Edward Hain Memorial Hospital in St Ives.

Hain died on 20 September 1917. His home, Treloyhan Manor, designed by Silvanus Trevail, became a Wesley Guild hotel in March 1948.

  • K.J. O'Donoghue and H.S. Appleyard, Hain of St Ives (Kendal, 1986)
  • Roy Fenton, 'Cornish Steam Ships and Owners', Troze: The Online Journal of the National Maritime Museum, Cornwall, vol. 1, number 3 (March 2009), pp. 1-21.

Entry written by: DCD
Category: Person
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