Denholm Line Steamers / J & J. Denholm, Glasgow

Denholm Line Steamers / J & J. Denholm, Glasgow

After owning several small sailing vessels from 1872, James and John Denholm purchased their first steamship in 1881. The company entered the deep sea tramping trade at the end of World War I and began an expansion programme. By 1939 Denholms owned nine ships but by 1945 only two of these ships survived. After the war the fleet was rebuilt and later diversified into tankers and ore carriers. With the demise of tramp shipping, the company concentrated on bulk carriers and still operates a fleet of ships.


Maclay & McIntyre, Glagow


Founded in Glasgow in 1885 by Joseph Maclay and Walter McIntyre with six small steamers to operate tramp services and in 1886 set up the Glasgow United Shipping Co. By 1896 the company owned 33 ships and concentrated on the coal trade to Algoa Bay and the ore trade from the Mediterranean. Joseph Maclay retired in 1905 the business was then run by Walter McIntyre.

At the outbreak of war in 1914 the company owned 51 tramps, but lost 16 during the war years. Between the wars, the ships were mostly employed in the coal and grain trades between South Wales and the River Plate and sugar from Cuba. During the second world war, seven ships were lost, leaving the company with only five. In the 1950s four Empire ships were purchased, but they could not compete with the downturn in freight rates and by 1960 the last two were sold and the company closed.


Monarch Steamship Company, Raeburn & Verel, Glasgow

Monarch Steamship Company

William Raeburn and John Verel went into partnership in 1880 with two tramp steamers and by 1887 owned 14 ships. In 1902 they formed the Monarch Steamship Co. By 1914 the company owned ten ships but lost six of these during the Great War. New buildings brought their strength up to six ships in 1939 but they lost four ships during WWII. The company was taken over by Harrisons Ltd in 1960 and in 1965 took delivery of their first bulk carrier. The company ceased ship owning in 1973.


William Sloan

William Sloan Shipping

In 1831 William Sloan joined his uncle, Charles Tennant in the ownership of the St. Rollox Shipping Co. which had been formed in 1825 to carry the products of the St. Rollox Chemical Works, Glasgow. In 1851 the company purchased its first steamship which sailed between Glasgow and London until 1859 when this route was discontinued as unprofitable. The Thames and Clyde Screw Shipping Co was taken over in 1852. The number of sailing vessels in the fleet was steadily reduced until the last one was sold in 1866.

In 1858 William Sloan started the Glasgow, Belfast, Bristol and Swansea passenger and cargo service with later calls at Newport and Cardiff. The business of Robert Henderson & Co, Belfast was acquired in 1891 and added the cattle carrying routes between Shilloth, Douglas and Dublin to the company. Two ships were lost to enemy action during the Great War and by 1918 only six ships were owned.

By 1932 there was little demand for a passenger service between Scotland and South Wales and all ships had their passenger accommodation removed. In 1958 the shares of William Sloan Ltd were purchased by Coast Lines Ltd, Liverpool and after this date, many ship transfers occurred between various components of the Coast Lines group. With the competition from road and rail traffic, sailings to the Bristol Channel ceased in 1968 and the remaining ships transferred to other Coast Lines services.


Clydesdale Navigation Co / Northern Navigation Co / George Nisbet & Co, Glasgow

Clydesdale Navigation Co

Clydesdale Navigation Co was set up in 1905 with second hand tramp steamers. George Nisbet withdrew from ship owning in 1919 but re-entered the business in 1922. Until 1924 the company had purchased old ships but had their first new ship delivered in 1924. By 1939 nine ships were owned but three were lost during World War 2. One ship was chartered after the war and one was managed for the Ministry of Transport. By 1961 competition from bulk carriers caused the sale of the remaining two tramps and the company went into liquidation in 1962.


Gow, Harrison & Co, Glasgow.

Gow, Harrison & Co, Glasgow.

The company was formed in 1895 by the amalgamation of Alan C. Gow & Co and P. H. Dixon & Harrison. Both companies contributed ships to the combined fleet. Up to 1913 the fleet consisted of dry cargo tramps but the company then branched out into tankers. By the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 Gow’s owned 18 ships but lost six to enemy action. Between 1925 and 1931, ten tankers were built for the company which were chartered to the large oil companies and in 1933 the last dry cargo tramp was sold. In 1939 six tankers were owned but only one was to survive the war together with two managed ships. Gow, Harrison was dissolved in 1951 but the Harrison family formed Harrisons (Clyde) Ltd in 1956 with the purchase of Dornoch Shipping Co and Nile SS Co. who owned three tramp ships. In 1960 the Monarch SS Co was taken over and in 1965 the company entered the bulker trade and formed the Aiden Shipping Co. to manage the bulk carriers. The company is still in existence.


Lyle Shipping Co, Glasgow

Lyle Shipping Co, Glasgow

The company was formed in Glasgow in 1903 and by 1914 owned five tramp steamers but lost two of them during hostilities. In 1925 their first motorship was delivered and in 1934 the fleet of the bankrupt ship owner Pardoe - Thomas of Newport was purchased. The fleet consisted of 10 ships in 1939 but only one of them survived the war. Several wartime built ships were purchased. In 1959 the company entered the iron ore trade and in 1965 took delivery of their first bulk carrier. By 1985 Lyles began to experience financial problems and went into receivership in 1986.


Andrew Crawford, John C. Barr, Vale Steamship Co

Andrew Crawford and John C. Barr, Vale Steamship Co, Glasgow

Andrew Crawford and John C. Barr formed a partnership in 1904 and sailed mostly to the Far East and North Pacific. Routes soon expanded to cover world wide tramping. Only one ship was lost during the Great War and from 1918 until 1927 the company stayed out of shipping and survived the slump of the 1920s. Of the three ships owned in 1939, only one survived the war, but was sold in 1946. The company then operated chartered tonnage until 1951 when they commenced buying wartime built vessels. In 1957 all ships were sold and the company was dissolved.


W. S. Miller & Co / Ellaston SS Co, Glasgow.

W. S. Miller & Co / Ellaston SS Co, Glasgow

Formed in Glasgow in 1892 with the purchase of second hand tramps, the company traded as W. S. Miller & Co until 1903 when he transferred his ships to the newly formed Ellaston SS Co. Eleven ships were lost to enemy action during the Great War and in 1918 the company owned only three ships. Four new ships were delivered in the 1920s and at the outbreak of WWII the fleet consisted of these four vessels. The owners of the Miller company retired from shipowning in 1940 and the ships were sold.


Clyde Shipping Co, Glasgow

Glasgow Shipowners Co Ltd

The company started in 1815 with the purchase of two paddle tugs to tow lighters from Glasgow and Greenock. In 1856 the company expanded into the coastal shipping trade with services to Cork and Waterford and to Galway Bay, the Shannon estuary and Limerick. A service to Plymouth was later extended to Southampton, Newhaven and London. In 1888 the Clyde Shipping Co entered the deep sea tramping trade and spent a large amount of time in the guano, nitrate and copper trade in the Pacific islands. Glasgow Shipowners Co Ltd Six of their seven tramps were lost during the Great War and the other ship was sold. After the war, the company withdrew from deep sea tramping and built up their coasting fleet. The entire fleet was requisitioned in 1939 and many were used as convoy rescue ships. The coasting fleet was rebuilt after the war and in 1958 the company re-entered the deep sea trade, but again withdrew and now operates tug fleets on the Clyde and Tyne.

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