Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Frederick Leyland and Co

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1873 The steamship business of John Bibby, Sons and Co was acquired by Frederick Leyland, and the company name changed to Frederick Leyland and Co; the metals business was continued under the name of John Bibby, Sons and Co[1]

The Leyland Line expanded into transatlantic trade

By 1882 the Line had 25 steamships.

1888 Leyland retired from active business, leaving his son Frederick Dawson Leyland in charge of the shipping line.

1892 Frederick Leyland collapsed and died on Blackfriars railway station leaving his company without a leader. John Reeves Ellerman (1862-1933), Christopher Furness and Henry O’Hagen formed a company to buy the fleet from Leyland’s executors. Ellerman was appointed Managing Director.

1892 Frederick Leyland and Co was registered to acquire the business of steamship owners of the firm of the same name[2]

1893 Ellerman became Chairman at the age of 31

1896 Wilsons and Furness-Leyland Line was registered on 4 September, to take over the London and New York business of Thomas Wilson, Sons and Co of Hull, and the London and Boston businesses of Frederick Leyland and Co of Liverpool, and Furness, Withy and Co of London, with steamers and leasehold properties. [3]

1900 The Frederick Leyland and Co (1900) was registered 28 May to take over the business of Frederick Leyland and Company[4].

1900 the company purchased the West Indies and Pacific Co

1901 Ellerman sold most of Leyland & Co. to J. P. Morgan, the American financial magnate, for £1.2 million, said to be 50% greater than its actual worth[5], as part of his plans to form International Mercantile Marine Co. Ellerman retained 20 ships not involved in the USA trade (i.e. to serve the Mediterranean, Portugal, Montreal and Antwerp).

1901 To provide an organisation to operate the remaining ships, Ellerman personally bought the stagnant London-based (Liverpool-based?) Greek shipowner Papayanni Co (Papayanni City and Hall Lines).

June 1901 the London, Liverpool and Ocean Shipping Co Ltd was formed as parent company for the revised organisation with Ellerman holding 52% of the shares. In September it was announced that the parent company had bought 50% of the shares of George Smith’s City Line and a month later 50% of Hall Line Ltd of Liverpool and Westcott and Laurence of London. Ellerman personally bought the balance of the shares in the two companies. At the end of the year, a major restructuring of the group took place with all of Ellerman's holdings being sold to the parent for additional shares.

1902 the name of the company was changed to Ellerman Lines Ltd.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Jan 01, 1873
  2. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  3. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  4. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  5. Biography of John Reeves Ellerman, ODNB [1]
  • Ellerman Line [2]
  • Biography of Frederick Richards Leyland, ODNB [3]
  • Merseyside Maritime Museum [4]