Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John Bibby and Sons

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of Liverpool

1805 John Bibby purchased his first ship to trade in the Mediterranean. Later they expanded to provide services to South America, India and the far East.

c.1819 A regular service to the East Indies was started.

By 1838 John Bibby and Co were commercial agents of the Bolivar Mining Association

1838 John Bibby, Sons and Co bought the copper smelter, the Ravenhead Copper Works, from William Keates[1]

1844 Ann Jane Leyland persuaded John Bibby and Sons, Liverpool's oldest shipping line, to take on as an apprentice her eldest son, Frederick Richards Leyland.

Leyland was said to have been instrumental in Bibby's introduction of steamships into the Mediterranean trade in 1850.

1857 Bibby and Sons took over the Levant Screw Steam Shipping Co.

Gustavus Schwabe, a financier from Hamburg, was heavily invested in the Bibbys.

1858 Edward James Harland took over a shipyard in Belfast and quickly attracted an order of three boats from John Bibby and Sons. These boats were named Venetian, Sicilian and Syrian.

1860 Impressed with these boats, Bibbys ordered six more from Harland. The boats that Edward Harland designed were long, had a narrow beam and were flat-bottomed; the boats became known as "Bibby's coffins".

1861 Schwabe's nephew, Gustav Wolff, became a partner with Harland in the yard which was renamed Harland and Wolff.

1861 Leyland was made a partner in the firm.

1872 the Partnership between James Jenkinson Bibby and Frederick Richards Leyland, as Ship Owners, at Liverpool, under the firm of John Bibby, Sons, and Co., expired by effluxion of time on the 31st day of December, 1872.[2]

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[3]

1889 The Bibby family returned to the shipping business when they started Bibby Brothers Ltd.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Some founders of the Chemical Industry [1]
  2. London Gazette 3 January 1873
  3. The Times, Jan 01, 1873
  • Ellerman Line [2]
  • Biography of Frederick Richards Leyland, ODNB [3]