Thomas Morton

1781 - 1832

Shipbuilder and inventor. Born in Leith, Morton trained in his father's company, S. & H. Morton of Leith, but is noted for inventing the 'patent slip' which was used to haul ships out of the water and up an inclined plane for repair. This was a much cheaper alternative to a dry dock. He was granted a patent for his invention in 1819 and successfully defended this patent in court. He applied for an extension to his patent in 1832 and the case was examined by a House of Commons Select Committee, which ultimately awarded Morton the sum of £2500.

He lived on Pilrig Place (Leith Walk) and lies buried in South Leith Parish churchyard. The Thomas Morton Hall, part of the Leith Theatre and Public Library complex, is named in his honour.

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