Can you clarify and provide more details about the Thomas Cook Touring Company before World War I. (Andrew Jendrzejewski) 


Thomas Cook himself made history with his first organised excursion in 1841, the company has grown to become a leading travel group, employing 16,000 people in 1050 locations worldwide, including the UK, India, Egypt and Canada. 

Thomas Cook was born in Melbourne, Derbyshire, in 1808. Brought up as a strict Baptist, Thomas served an apprenticeship as a wood-turner and cabinet-maker. At seventeen Thomas joined the local Temperance Society and over the next few years spent his spare-time campaigning against the consumption of alcohol. Thomas Cook also publishing Baptist and Temperance pamphlets. 

In 1841 Cook had the idea of arranging an eleven-mile rail excursion from Leicester to a Temperance Society meeting in Loughborough on the newly extended Midland Railway. Cook charged his customers one shilling and this included the cost of the rail ticket and the food on the journey. The venture was a great success and Cook decided to start his own business running rail excursions. 

In 1846 took 500 people from Leicester on a tour of Scotland that involved visits to Glasgow and Edinburgh. One of his greatest achievements was to arrange for over 165,000 people to attend the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park. In 1865 Cook moved his business to London where he arranged tours to Egypt. His son John managed the London office of the company that was now known as Thomas Cook & Son. 

By 1872 Thomas Cook & Son was able to offer a 212 day Round the World Tour for 200 guineas. The journey included a steamship across the Atlantic, a stage coach from the east to the west coast of America, a paddle steamer up the Nile, and an overland journey across China and India. 

Cook retired in 1879 leaving John and his three sons to run the company. He died  in 1892.

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