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Thomas Cook

b. Nov. 22, 1808, Melbourne, Derbyshire, Eng.

d. July 18, 1892, Leicester, Leicestershire

English innovator of the conducted tour and founder of Thomas Cook and Son, a worldwide travel agency.

Cook left school at the age of 10 and worked at various jobs until 1828, when he became a Baptist missionary. In 1841 he persuaded the Midland Counties Railway Company to run a special train between Leicester and Loughborough for a temperance meeting on July 5. It was believed to be the first publicly advertised excursion train in England. Three years later the railway agreed to make the arrangement permanent if Cook would provide passengers for the excursion trains. During the Paris Exposition of 1855, Cook conducted excursions from Leicester to Calais, Fr. The next year he led his first Grand Tour of Europe.

In the early 1860s he ceased to conduct personal tours and became an agent for the sale of domestic and overseas travel tickets. His firm took on military transport and postal services for England and Egypt during the 1880s. On his death the business passed to his only son, John Mason Cook (1834-99), who had been his father's partner since 1864.

Copyright © 1994-2000 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Cook, Thomas (1808-92), English founder of the travel firm Thomas Cook. In 1841 he organised the first publicly advertised excursion train in England, carrying 570 passengers from Leicester to Loughborough and back, to attend a temperance meeting, for the price of one shilling. The success of this induced him to organise further excursions both in Britain and abroad and to lay the foundations for the tourist and travel-agent industry of the 20th century.

Excerpted from The Oxford Interactive Encyclopedia

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Cook, Thomas (1808 - 1892)

Pioneer British travel agent and founder of Thomas Cook & Son. He organised his first tour, to Switzerland, in 1863. He introduced traveller's cheques (then called ` circular notes ´ ) in the early 1870s.

Hutchinson Multimedia Encyclopaedia 2000