View Full Version : uniform identification

Alexander McKay
18th April 2011, 02:04 PM
A previously unknown photograph of my great-grandfather Alexander McKay, 1860-1900, shows him in a uniform of some kind with a cap badge.

Apparently he spent some years as an engineer with the Clan Line. He died of a heart attack in Portsmouth Dockyard in Fenruary 1900.

Does anyone recognise the cap or uniform iin the photograph?

Any help gratefully received

Alexander McKay

Keith at Tregenna
21st May 2011, 02:00 PM
Looking for an old post myself came across this, will look at it further when I have a mo, could anyone else assist meanwhile, guess it slipped the net.

Thanks all.


Keith at Tregenna
21st May 2011, 05:15 PM
Will keep at it between things, thus far could have the photographer via ebay.:

Two corner card covers for Poplar Borough Council, Council Office, Poplar E14, together with a brief letter to the wondrously named Mr W Whiffin.

Ephemera: Poplar Borough Council ~ Whiffen. 1937

Ephemera: Poplar Borough Council ~ Whiffen. 1937 | eBay UK (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Ephemera-Poplar-Borough-Council-Whiffen-1937-/230605480571)


Is addressed at 241 East India Dock Road


Poplar Borough Council are also E14
Have you any ideas or info yourself.

Looking at the Safe and wooden chair could it be a shipping company office or similar?


Keith at Tregenna
21st May 2011, 05:34 PM
All detective work but may help in the long run?

Acual dates for are:

Poplar photographer William Whiffin (1878-1957).

Alexander McKay, 1860-1900, tends to see Whiffin well into photography by age approx 22


Keith at Tregenna
21st May 2011, 08:20 PM
This will be difficult until a lead is found, no expert on uniforms myself but trying.

I do love a mystery and I do love a result but more so love how much I learn enroute:

The Board of Trade Offices, in East India Dock Road, was built between 1834-1841 by local philanthropist George Green as a Seamen’s Home for his own seafarers. He stated at the time that if the Seamen’s Home was not used by his seamen it was to be closed and sold. This indeed happened. For in 1856, after being closed as a Seamen’s Home, it was sold and reopened as the Poplar School of Trade and Navigation. Later, the School was moved to Poplar High Street. The building was then taken over by the Board of Trade for use as a Mercantile Office.

It was at the Board of Trade Offices that the day to day administration of the British Merchant Navy was undertaken, covering shipping in the Poplar area. It was at the Mercantile Office that the welfare of seamen was looked after, disputes between seafarers and ship owners were settled and crews were signs on and paid off. To all seafarers around the World the Board of Trade Offices was known as “Green’s House”.

With the sharp decline in London’s Shipping Industry in the 1960s and 1970s, there was no need for the Board of Trade Offices and it closed. In 1978 it was turned into flats and is run by the Toynbee Hall Trust. Sadly of the many buildings built by shipbuilder George Green along East India Dock Road, this is the only one left.

LINK: April 2006 (http://www.btinternet.com/~eastlondonpostcard/POM2006/Apr06.htm)


Keith at Tregenna
22nd May 2011, 01:36 AM
Adding this link To remind myself in the morning:


Spent some time on this today, now find much info already on site:

Will continue, but any one looking in are advised if asking for help pass on all possible info, even if a new post.

Cannot promise results but finding now so much posted elswhere on site, could have been looking in differing directions.


Reminding again me as I am off to kip:

Finding a ship's name may be pretty nigh impossible but I shall endeavour to contact the now far flung family and try again for any information.

I know he died at Portsmouth Royal Dockyard of a heart attack aged 39 while working for ''John Brown & Co of Dumbartonshire'' as a contractor on a newly built warship that was being fitted out there early in 1900.

His death certifiicate records him as being a ''marine engineer'' and the family has always assumed that meant a sea-going engineer but it is possible I guess he was simply a shipyard engine fitter (he served an apprenticeship with William Denny of Dumbarton as an engine fitter).

My father died in 1969 certain that his Father had been a sea going engineer with the Clan Line - his father died before he was born and so there has been no direct handing on of information and my grandmother seems to have known little.