Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Currie Line

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c.1800 The Hull and Leith Shipping Co was formed

c.1816 The rival Leith and Hamburgh Shipping Co was formed.

1847 The companies merged with the Edinburgh and Dundee Steam Packet Co to become the Forth and Clyde Shipping Co.

1852 regular sailings between Leith and Hamburg began and the company name was changed to a new title of the Leith, Hull and Hamburg Steam Packet Co.

One of the leading partners in the LHHSP at this time was Thomas Barclay, a brother of the head of Barclay, Curle and Co. Ltd., shipbuilders on the Clyde.

Vessels such as the iron three masted screw steamer Edina were completed by Barclay, Curle & Co. Ltd. in 1854 for the passenger and cargo services to Hamburg, Copenhagen and Stettin. She was sold in 1862 for service in Australian waters for Callender & Walker of Melbourne.

1862 James Currie joined the company and was responsible for an extensive programme opening up more routes.

1866 Donald Currie and Co was formed jointly by James Currie and his brother, Donald Currie.

Barclay, Curle & Co. Ltd. also built the sister ships Cumberland and Sutherland in 1866. These were three masted steamers with two cylinder compound steam engines by the builders; later lengthened

Two new steamers were built in 1871/72: Courland and Gothland of 1,482 grt by Robert Napier and J. and J. Thomson. Other vessels ran cargo-only services to German, Baltic and Russian ports.

1891 there was a period of depression and a number of vessels were laid-up in Leith.

Trade steadily increased and by 1905 the company was doing well.

By 1919 Donald Currie & Co ceased to operate and their remaining steamers were transferred to the Leith, Hull and Hamburg Steam Packet Co.

1933 the Isaac Line Ltd was acquired, resulting in the entry of the company into Portuguese, Western and Central Mediterranean trades.

By 1940, all regular sailings were suspended and so the name Leith, Hull & Hamburg Steam packet Co was no longer appropriate. The company name was changed to Currie Line Ltd .

1969 Walter Runciman and Co Ltd (which controlled Anchor Line Ship Manangement Ltd) acquired Currie Line Ltd and launched themselves into the bulk carrier trade.

1976 the Anchor Line Ltd structure was recast and had five operating divisions created:

  • Anchor Line Eastern Services Ltd (concerned with Eastern commercial activities)
  • Anchor Line Ship Management Ltd (handling the bulk carriers and any managed vessels)
  • Currie Line Ltd (concerned with European services, mainly with chartered tonnage, warehousing and road haulage)
  • George Gibson & Co Ltd (concerned with the gas tanker fleet)
  • Runciman Shipping Ltd (dealing with the administration).

2004 Currie Line Ltd appears to have been dissolved

2005 Anchor Line Eastern Services Ltd, Anchor Line Ship Management Ltd and George Gibson & Co Ltd were all active.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  • [1] Shipping Tandy
  • [2] Archives JISC