Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 139,060 pages of information and 225,328 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
1853 A steam collier company was formed, called the Southampton Steam Shipping Co, to bring coal from South Wales to Southampton for the large liner companies.
1853 Name changed to Union Steam Collier Co
1854 Their 5 ships were taken over as transports for the Crimean War.
1856 The ships were returned to the company but remained idle due to the large stocks of coal accumulated at Southampton.
The company made unsuccessful ventures into the UK-South America and Birkenhead-Hamburg routes
1857 Awarded the mail contract between the UK and South Africa.
1876 a joint mail contract with the Castle Line was granted by the Colonial Government with the proviso that the two companies did not amalgamate.
1881 15 July: the Castle Mail Packets Co was registered
At some point the name of Union Steam Collier Co was changed to Union Steamship Co
1899 The South African contract expired; after much political manoeuvering, the two companies merged to become the Union-Castle Mail Steamship Co and received the new mail contract.