The following brief histories are intended to give some guidance to those seeking background information on Cardiff shipping companies and companies which used Cardiff on a regular basis, mainly in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but including, where known, early companies from the 18th century, and some modern companies which have developed from earlier ones. It is not exhaustive and will be added to as additional information becomes available.

Used in conjunction with my index to Cardiff shipping, my index to Cardiff Port Registers and Transactions and index to Cardiff Crew Agreements, I hope it will prove useful to family historians.


Frederick Jones, a Cardiffian, born in 1868, though of a Cardiganshire family, served his apprenticeship with the Tubal Cain Foundry. He was a member of Charles Street Congregational Church where he came into contact with shipowner John Marychurch resulting in the offer of a post as engineer on one of Marychurch's ships. In 1899 he became Marine Superintendent with Capel & Co. of Cardiff. In 1907 Jones set up his own business with the ship Melrose Abbey. In 1909 he added a newly built ship, the Tintern Abbey. The company continued to operate a number of ships until 1971, though latterly with only one ship (a later Tintern Abbey). The company continues to exist in Cardiff, however, run by his son as an investment company. All the company's ships had been named after Abbeys.


Evan Owen (from Llangranog, Cards. Brother of David Owen of the Bont Shipping Co) and E.L.Williams of Penarth, Glam set up this company in 1916 with the ship Kyleness which was renamed Cymric Prince.Williams left the company the same year and Evan Owen;s sons Alwyn Evans and Aneurin Evans joined the firm. An additional steamer was obtained before 1918. The depressed years of the 1920s and 30s took their toll of the company and in 1933 the Bank foreclosed their mortgage and the company was wound up.

All the company's ships had been named with the prefix Cymric.


Set up in 1873 to provide for the growth of emigration to the USA. Their first ship, the Glamorgan, made its maiden voyage to New York in that year, carrying 40 passengers, plus cargo.The Pembroke and the Carmarthen were added to the fleet shortly afterwards for the same purpose. The company only survived for two years.


R.G.M.(Dick) Street of Penarth, who had worked for Gould Steamships and Industrials Ltd., set up this company in 1926 with three steamers bought from the Times Shiping Co. of Cardiff. The company continued until amalgamated with the St.Quentin Shipping Co. in 1933 to form the B & S Shipping Co.


Part owner of the Cardiff schooner Diana c.1790s.


The Barry Railway Co. entered into the pleasure paddle steamer business operating from Barry Pier in 1905, with the steamers, Devonia, Barry, Westonia and Gwalia. The company provided serious competition for P & A Campbell's White Funnel Fleet until 1911, when the latter company bought out the Barry Company, taking its three remaining ships into the White Funnell Fleet.


David Owen (from Llangranog, Cards. Brother of Evan Owen of the Anglo-Belgique Co) set up the company in 1916 acquiring an ex Runciman steamship which was renamed Bontnewydd. This ship was lost to enemy action in 1917 and David Owen the set up the County Shipping Co. (see that company).


Formed in 1933 by the amalgamation of the Barry Shipping Co. Ltd. and the St.Quentin Shippping Co. Ltd. In 1935 the company scrapped their four old steamers and replaced them with three new ones with passenger accommodation, under a government scheme to modernise the country's fleet. The intention was to set up a Liner service to South America. The new ships were both given names prefixed Saint.

With financial backing from Lord Howard de Walden the firm commenced its liner service in 1936, changing its name to the South American Saint Line (see that company)


Peter and Alec Campbell, brothers from the Clyde moved to Bristol in the late 1880s, forming P & A Campbell in 1893, although the family had been involved in shipping on the Clyde for many years. The new company owned two paddle steamers, Waverley and Ravenswood, which were operated as pleasure steamers in the Bristol Channel. Over the next three years the company obtained three further paddle steamers and in 1911 added the three ships which had been owned by the Barry Railway Co., competitors of the Campbells for the pleasure business in the Bristol Channel. During the First World War the company's steamers were taken over by the Admiralty for use as minesweepers and three of them were lost. At the end of the war the company returned to operating its pleasure trips in the Channel, and expanded into the South Coast pleasure trade operating from Brighton. The Campbell brothers died in 1928 and 1938, but the company continued in existence. During the Second World War the company's steamers were used in the evacuation from Dunkirk and three (Brighton Belle, Devonia and Brighton Queen) were lost, although the company's ships rescued over 7000 troops from Dunkirk. After the war two new steamers (Cardiff Queen and Bristol Queen) were added to the fleet. By 1959, however, the company was in serious financial trouble and an official receiver was appointed. The company was saved by the backing of Townsend Car Ferries and in 1963 even experimented with a hovercraft service between Penarth and Weston-super-Mare. By 1979, though, the company was again in difficulties and ceased trading shortly afterward. Even now, however, an ex-P A Campbell boat, Balmoral, (though not a paddle steamer) still operates in Summer months in the Bristol Channel, along with an old paddle steamer, Waverley (not ex- Campbell).

Go to a brief account of P & A Campbell at war.

Go to a brief account of paddle steamers in the Bristol Channel provided by Tramscape (Gordon Stewart) .

There are some wonderful photographs of P & A Campbell and other Channel steamers in the book *Pasenger Steamers of the Bristol Channel - A Pictorial Record" by Nigel Coombes published by Twelveheads Press, Truro, Cornwall in 1990 ISBN 0 906294 23 1

[Personal note: Amongst the highlights of my childhood years after the Second World War were the family outings on the White Funnel ships from Cardiff to Weston-super- Mare, Ilfracombe, or Clevedon or just cruising in the Channel. The family group concerned was large, usually my grandparents, at least fourteen uncles and aunts, my parents, several cousins, my two sisters and myself. The boats were generally full and one had to get to the Pier Head early to get a seat. Great times were had by us children ! If we went to Ilfracombe we would line up along the side of the boat as we arrived at the harbour to wave to my father's cousin, George Burfitt, who was piermaster there. As I grew older I still enjoyed the paddle steamer trips and when I met my wife we used to often go for a trip on them; then when we married and had children we used to take them, although not so frequently as we could not often afford such a luxury. ]


Set up in 1881 to operate a passenger/freight business between Cardiff and Bordeaux. By 1893 the company owned the ships Garonne, Dordogne, Taff, Ely & Usk. Principal partners in the business would appear to have been Horatio Hooper, William Campbell & A.G.Todd. Nothing else known about this company at the present.


In 1923 James Jenkins who had previously been in partnership with his rother-in-law David Jenkins, both from Aberporth, Cardigan (see Jenkins Bros and Gathorne Steamship Co) set up a new shipping company with two new ships, the Radnor and the Merioneth. James Jenkins retired in 1927 selling the two ships (to Morels). The company was taken over by W.T.Gould (who had been a partner in Goulds Steamships and Industrials Ltd until it went bankrupt in 1925) and he ran it until 1960. It continues to exist even today, although not associated with Cardiff.


Established by Richard Penberthy Care, son of Richard Care of the Vindomura Shipping Co and brother of Edward Care of Care and Marquand, around 1920 with one ship, the Nuola. Subsequently Care Lines ran a number of ships, though never more than two at any one time, all named with the prefix Porth....(eg Porthmorna, Porthmeor, Porthrepta). In 1955 the company split into two, with Care Lines Ltd running one ship (Porthrepta) and R.P.Care Ltd running another (Carbis Bay)


In the early 1920s Leonard Marquand, of the same family as Hilary Blondel Marquand, set up in business with Edward Richard Care, a consulting marine engineer and son of Richard Care, owner of the Vindomura Shipping Co of Cardiff.

They bought three tramp steamers (Arncliffe, Beachcliffe & Coniscliffe) and operated in the South Amrican trade.


The forerunner of the company was founded at Truro, Cornwall by William Chellew and his son Richard initially operating sailing ships out of Falmouth in the 1870s. Around 1888 the Cornwall Steamship Co. was formed with two steamers, the City of Truro and the Duke of Cornwall and the following year added three more. From then the company began to name all its ships with names prefixed with the Cornish Pen....All their ships at this time belonged to single-ship companies managed by the Cornwall Co and all were Falmouth registered but were constantly involved in the Cardiff coal trade and the company maintained a Cardiff office with W.E.Hinde (see that company) as manager. By 1913 thirteen ships were managed by the company but six were lost during the First World War and in 1918 the single-ship companies were amalgamated to form the R.B.Chellew Steam Navigation Co. In 1920 Richard

Chellew decided to retire due to ill-health and the company was sold to Frank Shearman, then manager of the Mountstuart Dry Docks, Cardiff, and the Head Office of the company was moved from Truro to Cardiff. In 1929 the company name was changed to the Chellew Steam Navigation Co. (R,B.Chellew having died in that year). In 1935 Shearman resigned from the firm and it was taken over by F.C.Pearman of London. During the Second World War five of the company's ships were lost but following the war, in 1947 the firm added a modern ship, the Samnebra (a Liberty Ship built in 1943) to its remaining fleet of three old vessels and renamed her the Pentire. In 1952 the company was taken over by Cory Bros., the older ships sold and only the Pentire sailed under the Chellew name. In 1954 the company ceased to exist, being bought out by the Eskgarth Shipping Co of London.


Charles Leigh Clay, son of a banker and brewer, came to South Wales in the 1850s and set up a coal exporting business in Cardiff. In 1919 this company bought four ships (Daybreak, Daybeam, Clayton & Claymont) which they ran until 1928 when they sold them and bought two fairly newly built ones (a new Daybreak and the Dayrose). The economic problems of the late 1920s and 30s caused the sale of the Daybreak in 1934, but in 1936 the company took over the Fairwater Shipping Co. with one ship of that name. During the Second World War both the company's ships were lost but in 1947 a "Liberty" ship was purchased and renamed Daybeam and the Empire Nerissa was also purchased and named Daydawn. The Dayrose followed shortly afterwards. The company continued operating its ships until the 1950s and evetually closed in 1963.


Constants, a London based company had been started in the 19th century by Joseph Constant (of Gravesend, Kent) and had been involved in the Cardiff coal- trade. In 1929 the company set up a South Wales subsidiary, Constant (South Wales) Ltd. with an office in Cardiff, and transferred nine of its ten steamers to the new company. The company ships were all named after Kent villages. Their main trade was in transporting coal from South Wales to Spain, France and the Mediterranean, returning with iron ore for the South Wales Steelworks. Most of their ships were small but they also had two larger ones, the Lyminge and the Offham, which operated to South America. In the 1930s the company continued to operate, though at times many of its ships were laid up. By the end of the Second World War only three ships were left. The company sold these elderly ships and replaced them with three "Empire" ships. Then in 1951-52 three more new ships were added. In the 1950s the company traded world wide, and in 1958 added a further ship, the Susan Constant. During the 1960s and 70s business declined and the company eventually closed in 1976.


Cory was born in Padstow, Cornwall, in 1823. He went to sea and in 1854 set up in business in his home port with the ketch Millicent. In 1862 he sold the Millicent and bought the Volunteer, a Cardiff registered ship, followed quickly by the John Henry of Newport. Cory continued to live in Padstow until 1872 when he moved to the rapidly expanding Cardiff. Substantial expansion of the business followed over the next 4 years, and continued so that by 1898 the company owned 23 ships and by 1914, 29. Cory was also involved in the coal industry and in iron ore. During the First World War the company lost 20 of its ships to enemy action, leaving only nine operating at the end of the war. In 1925 three replacement ships were added (Ruperra, Ramillies & Coryton). The poor economic situation in the 1930s left the company with only three ships by the start of the Second World War, all of which were lost in the war. Two new ships (a new Ramillies and Ravenshoe) were acquired during the war but by 1955 the company was down to one ship (yet another new Ramillies). In 1957 the company took over the Cardigan Steamship Co. but in 1966 they left shipowning, although the company still exists as shipbrokers and travel agents. John Cory had been joined in his business by his two sons, John and Herbert (Sir Herbert Cory, Bart.).


William Cory came to Cardiff from Hartland, Devon and in 1857, in partnership with John Nixon, the coal-owner, he bought a newly built steamship which was named William Cory. The ship was registered in London but operated out of Cardiff in the coal trade.


David Owen (from Llangranog, Cards) lost his ship Bontnewydd of the Bont Shipping Co in 1917 as a result of an enemy torpedo. In 1918 he set up the County Shipping Co with two ships, the County of Cardigan (previously the Deddington) and the County of Carmarthen. He was supported in his venture by Sir William Seager of Cardiff. Like so many Cardiff companies the depression of the 1920s brought severe financial difficulty. The loss of the County of Carmarthen in 1922 was followed by the closure of the company in 1924.


Owners of several sloops by 1855 running a regular carrier service between the Bristol Channel Ports, Cardiff, Bristol, Swansea, Newport & Gloucester, and the Severn River Ports of Worcester, Bewdley ans Stourport.

DEANSGATE STEAMSHIP CO (See also Vindamura Shipping Co.)

Richard Care (see Vindomura Shipping Co) and Perry operated this one ship company in the early 1900s with the Porthleven.


See Charles M Willie & Co.


The company set up by John Emlyn-Jones to operate the Emlynian in 1920. Effectively part of the Emlyn Line (see that company)


The company was started in 1889 by J.T.Duncan with the ship Benefactor to operate in the coal-trade. By 1895 Duncan had set up on his J.T.Duncan.


John Thomas Duncan previously a member of Duncan, Valette & Co. set up in business on his own in 1895 with his ship Benefactor (ex Duncan, Valette & Co). In addition, in that year, he bought the Stokesley. In 1912 he purchased two new ships of then revolutionary design with engines and funnel aft which were named Agnes Duncan and Emma Duncan. In 1913 the company's ship J.Duncan was wrecked off Cornwall but in 1914 a new J.Duncan, was bought and the company had five ships at the start of the First World War. By 1920 the company was down to three ships but in 1930 the Maywood was added. By the mid 1950s the Maywood was the only ship left with the company and in 1959 she was sold and the company ceased trading.


This was the managing company for the Western Counties Shipping Co.Ltd. (see that company)


This company was founded around 1868 at Bute Docks, Cardiff as Engineers, Boilermakers and builders of steam tugboats, but in addition to the building of tugs they were also in the business of operating tugs and by 1893 owned six tugs, the Earl of Dumfies, the John McConnochie, the Thomas Collingdon, the Bulldog, the Sir W.T.Lewis and the Elliot & Jeffery. Nothing else known about this company at the present.


John Emlyn-Jones was born in Cardiff in 1889, the son of Evan Jones, a coal merchant, from Carmarthenshire. After being educated inCardiff he was sent abroad to learn languages and subsequently, on return to Cardiff he joined a coal exporting company and took an active part in politics becoming a Liberal MP. In 1912 he founded the Emlyn Line with the purchase of the coaster Queen's Channel. Soon he added the Emlynverne (previously the Eleanor) and the Emlyndene. The company continued to operate with ships prefixed Emlyn... until the mid-1930s when its trade with Spain, which had been a mainstay came to an end as a result of John Emlyn-Jones' criticism of the regime of General Franco and support for its' opponents. Although no ships were owned thereafter the company continued in existence as brokers and coal exporters until the death of John Emlyn-Jones in an air crash in 1952. His wife, Rhoda, who also died in the crash, was the sister of Richard Penberthy Care (see Care Line) and Edward Care (see Care & Marquand).


Owners of a fleet of sloops operating out of Cardiff in the early to mid 18th century, between Cardiff and Bristol.


Formed by William Watkin Jones, son of shipowner Evan Jones (see that company), in 1902 when he took over five ships from the bankrupt John Ruthen Company. Since the ships all had maes ending in ..field, he decided to name the company accordingly. These five ships continued to operate in the coal-trade until 1917 when three were sold, leaving only the Eastfield and Westfield. In 1919 these too were sold and the company ceased to operate in the shipping business.


James Jenkins, from Aberporth, Cardigan, set up the company in 1897 to operate the ship of that name which he had acquired. In 1898 he was joined in the business by his brother-in-law, David Jemkins, also from Aberporth and W.J.Williams of Bethesda, Caernarvonshire. and by 1900 the company was operating seven ships. In 1904 W.J.Williams left the partnership and the company became Jenkins Bros.


Thomas Owen, from Aberporth, Cardigan, in partnership with Henry Bartlett of Cardiff purchased the Bala from Evan Thomas, Radcliffe & Co. in 1903, renamed her Glanhowny, and set up the Glanhowny Steamship Co. The venture was far from successful, running into immediate financial difficulties. Thomas Owen died in 1906 whilst at sea on the Glanhowny, and in 1907 the latter ship was lost in a collision. In 1908 the company bought the ex Evan Thomas, Radcliffe ship Mary Thomas renaming her the Barto, but financial difficulties continued and in 1911 the firm ceased trading.



Part owner of the Cardiff sloop Nancy c.1780


See Owen and Watkin Williams


J.C.Gould was the son of a stonemason from Devon who had settled in Penarth. He went to sea and then emigrated to the U.S.A., becoming a marine insurance broker. He returned to Cardiff during the First World War and managed the Dulcia Shipping Co.Ltd. Then, in 1920, in partnership with his cousin, W.T.Gould, he founded J.C. and W.T.Gould Shipping Co., subsequently renamed Goulds Steamships and Industrials Ltd., which took over the Dulcia Shipping Co.Ltd., Grffiths Lewis Steam Navigation Co and Richardson Duck and Blair of Stockton-on-Tees (shipbuilders). The company owned 12 ships, all with names prefixed Grel....The slump of the early 1920s, however, caused severe financial strain for the company, worsened by an industrial dispute at the shipbuilding yard in Stockton and in 1925 an official receiver was called in and the company ceased trading. After setting up in a completely different kind of business in London J.C.Gould eventually died in 1944 in a Surrey council house. His Cardiff home, Danybryn, Radyr, is now a Cheshire Home. The other parner in the business, W.T.Gould, remained in shipping operating the Cardigan Shipping Co. until 1960 (see that company.


Idwal Williams and George E Williams were the prime movers in starting this company in 1919, when they obtained the tramp steamer, War Down, and renamed it Graig. In 1922 they sold this ship, but in 1924 the company purchased a newly built Graig, followed in 1926 by the Graigwen, also newly built. In 1940 the Graiglas was added, and in 1941 the Newton Pine was also added. The Graig, Graigwen and Newton Lass were all lost in the Second World War, leaving only the Graiglas. In 1946 the company purchased the three "Empire" ships which it had managed during the War, renaming them with the Graig prefix and employing them in the world-wide tramping business, thus moving away from the ailing South Wales Coal trade, although the company continued to operate from Cardiff. In 1952 the company acquired the Basra Shipping Co.Ltd. of London, as a wholly owned subsidiary, renaming it the Glynafon Shipping Co. Ltd. and with this company entered into the use of motor ships. Further motor ships were added over the following years, and the company's steam ships scrapped, and in 1964 their first aft engined bulk carrier, Graigwerdd, was purchased, followed by three more later in the 60s. In 1971 Idwal Williams died and was succeeded by his son Desmond Williams, who diversified the company to include a travel agency and oil exploration company, Graig Exploration Ltd. During the years since, the company has had its ups and downs but, in general has thrived, operating 100,000 ton bulk carriers as well as small coastal craft and mostly Cardiff registered.


Edward Hain was a Cornishman from St.Ives where his forebears had been in shipping for several generations. In 1881 he went into partnership with Cardiff shipbroker R.A.Foster to form Foster, Hain & Co., shipping agents. Hain had eleven ships by 1886 but all were nominally owned by single-ship companies. By 1901 the number had increased to 22 and it was decided to form the Hain Steamship Co. to take over the single-ship companies. By the start of the First World War the company had 34 ships, of which it lost 16 due to the hostilities. Hain also lost his only son inthe War, killed in action in 1917, and Hain, himself, died shortly afterwards. With Hain's death the company was bought in its entirity by the P & O Company and the headquarters were moved to London, though the company retained its name and was operated as a separate company within P & O. Links with Cardiff still remained, too, and day- to-day running of the company remained at the old offices in Cardiff. In 1923 the company set up a subsidiary, the Roath Engineering Co. at the Roath Dock, Cardiff to repair its vessels. In fact the company became more involved with Cardiff under the P & O in the 1920s and 30s than it had been under Hain himself. During the Second World War 28 of the company's 40 ships were lost. The decline of the Cardiff coal trade after the war meant that the link with the company gradually disappeared. As a side effect the Roath Engineering Co. no longer had Hain ships to repair and was taken over by C.H.Bailey & Co. in 1957. In 1972 the company finally merged into P & O as part of its' General Cargo Division.

Throughout it existence the company's ships had alway been named with the Cornish prefix Tre.... Most were built in South Shields, Co.Durham and the earlier ships were registered in St.Ives.


Edward Nicholl, born in Redruth, Cornwall, in 1862 came to Newport, Mon. in 1883 after working for the Great Western Railway at Swindon, Wilts. And in 1884 became chief engineer on the Gwenllian Thomas owned by Evan Thomas, Radcliffe of Cardiff. He subsequently became marine superintendent to the same company and later to W & C.T.Jones of Cardiff. In 1904 he set up in business on his own with two new ships, the Whateley Hall and the Grindon Hall and by the beginning of the First World War owned ten ships. In 1917, however, the introduction of the iniquitous Excess Profits Duty by the Government led him to sell his fleet to Sir Sven Hansen.

He was knighted in 1916 and was subsequently a Conservative M.P. for constituencies in his native Cornwall. He died in 1939. He had been a great suporter of the Royal Naval Reserve and his seamen were clothed in a form of Royal Navy uniform.


Sven Wohlford Hansen was born in Cardiff in 1876, son of Carl Hansen, a Norwegian who supplied pit props for the South Wales collieries, who settled in Cardiff in the 1860s and set himself up as an importer of pit props, subsequently becoming a coal exporter and ship insurance agent. Initially Sven Hansen worked in the offices of a french coal company involved in the export of Welsh Coal, but in 1910 he and his brother and father set up as Hansen Bros. Ltd shipbrokers and coal exporters. In 1915 Sven Hansen purchased his own ship, the Gledhow, and in 1916 added three more, the Natuna, Ellerslie and Penylan. Then in 1917 he purchased the whole of the fleet of the Hall Line plus four ships from another Cardiff company, Pyman, Watson.& Co.

Although the fleet suffered the inevitable First World War losses he still owned 12 ships at the end of the war. He then purchased his own colliery (Graham's Navigation Colliery, Tredegar, Mon,) and the Northam, Devon shipbuilding yard of Clearhouses.

In the early 1920s he added three more vessels to his fleet, but by this time the slump was affecting business very badly and he sold up. He had been created a Baronet for his services to the war effort following the First World War.


Wiliam Hinde, originally from Portland, Dorset had been in the shipping business in Cardiff with Robert McNeil as McNei l, Hinde & Co for several years before branching out on his own with the firm W.E.Hinde & Co. which he formed in 1914. During the First World War the company lost several ships including the Portloe, which he had brought with him from his previous partnership with McNeil. The lost ships were replaced with purchases from other companies during the latter part of the war and in the post-war period. The por economic conditions in the early 1930s, however, led to bankruptcy for Hinde and the closure of the company in 1932.


Samuel Instone was born in Gravesend, Kent in 1879. He came to Cardiff in 1899 as a shipping manager for a foreign company with offices in Cardiff. In 1908 he and his brother Theodore went into business as coal factors, but in 1914 they bought the ship Collivaud from Morels. Followed by further acquisitions during the First World War. In the immediate post-war years the Instones were involved not only in shipping but also owned collieries. Their shipping fleet now consisted of ten vessels trading in the coal trade and this was increased by a further two in 1919. In the same year the Instone Airline was started. Flying from the UK to France and in the 1920s further afield. In this venture he was assisted by another brother, Alfred Instone.The slump of the 1920s, however, affected the shipping business and in 1925 the company's last three ships were sold. Not only that but Imperial Airways, with government support, took over the Instone Airline, Samuel Instone becoming a director of the company. He died in 1937.


James Jenkins and his brother-in-law David Jenkins, both Master Mariners from Aberporth who had been employed by Evan Thomas, Radcliffe of Cardiff, set up this company when W.J.Williams left their previous partnership in the Gathorne Steamship Co. In 1906 they bought the Glamorgan and in 1907 the Cardigan was added and by the beginning of the First World War the company had five ships. All but one were lost during the war and in 1919 David Jenkins died and the company was wound up.


Owner of the sloop, Lady Cardiff, running a passenger and freight service between Cardiff and Bristol in the 1790s.


Evan Jones came to Cardiff from Porthmadog, Caernarvonshire, in 1865, owning three wooden sailing ships operating in the coal-trade. In 1883 he bought his first iron steamship, the South Wales, followed by another in 1884. He died in 1891 and the company was taken over by his son W.Watkin Jones who disposed of the firm's sailing ships and concentrated on his three steamships. By 1900, however, the company had no ships at all, but in 1902 W.W.Jones the bought up the "bankrupt stock" of John Ruthen and formed The Field Line (Cardiff) Ltd. (see that company)


William Jones was born in Cardiff in 1838 and went to sea as a boy. In 1884 he set up the Cymmrodorion Steamship Co.Ltd., with one ship of that name. In 1888 he added the Kate B. Jones and over the next two years built up his fleet to nine ships. Each of these ships was owned by a separate single ship company operated by William Jones, but in 1902 he decided to form a single company to take over the nine ships already owned and the W & C.T.Jones Steamship Co.Ltd was established. Despite flourishing in the pre First World War years, by the end of the war it had already been decided to wind up the company as a result of the Excess Profits Duty imposed by the Government and the ships were sold, the company ceasing trading in 1924.


William Kestell, born in Cardiff in 1871, and his brother, Charles Kestell, born Cardiff 1878 went into business together as ship brokers and agents in 1905. In 1915 they started the Kestel Steamship Co. together with the purchase of the ship Thirlwall from Mawson of Cardiff. The ship was renamed Holmesbank. Later the same year they bought the ship Dowgate and renamed her Seabank. The Holmesbank was sunk by torpedo in 1917 and William Kestell died in the same year. Charles Kestell continued to run the remaining ship until 1922 when the economic situation forced the sale of the ship and in the same year Charles Kestell died and the company closed.


John Lovering was born at Bristol in 1887 the son of a master mariner. The family moved to Cardiff in 1906 and John became a partner in Barker, James & Lovering, Coal Factors. In 1936 Lovering purchased a motor-coaster from Bowles Sand & Gravel Co and thus entered the shipowning business. This ship was named Calyx. Over the following years he added the Teasel and the Cornel. The company survived the Second World War without loss. In 1946 John Lovering died and the firm was taken on by his son Arthur and Robert.who continued to run it until 1959 when it ceased trading.


Hilary Blondel Marquand left his home in Guernsey in the 1870s to come to Cardiff to work for his uncle, a coal exporter who had already moved to Cardiff. After a short period working for his uncle he went into partnership with W.H.Martin who owned a tug boat named Princess. The new company was known as Martin and Marquand, and it developed into a successful business, owning three tramp steamers and three steam paddle tugs by 1894.Over subsequent years the company continued to thrive, investing in larger ships until the 1920s.

[Personal note: my first cousin married Eric Blondel Thomas, a close relative of Hilary Blondel Marquand ]


John Mathias was born at Llanbadarn Fawr, near Aberystwyth, in 1837. His early business venture was a grocery shop at 7, Bridge Street, Aberystwyth, but he later entered ship owning with a couple of small sailing ships which he used to transport his goods. In 1883 he obtained his first steam ship, the Glanrheidol, and set up the Glanrheidol Steamship Co. to operate her in the coal trade out of Cardiff. A further five steamers followed in subsequent years, all named with the prefix Glan... and all operated by separate companies of which John Mathias was the principal shareholder. The registered office of the companies was at Aberystwyth but the ships operated from Cardiff. By 1905 all the Mathias owned companies had been subsumed within the Cambrian Steam Navigation Co. formed by him originally in 1896. The company now had an office in Cardiff run by John Mathias' son Richard. The new company named its ships after public schools (eg Etonian). When John died in 1912 the company was taken over by his son, Richard, who was a Barrister, knighted in 1913 and created a Baronet in 1917. The company was, like many, hit by the slump in the 1920s and was wound up in 1924.


William Hinde, born in Portland, Dorset i 1877, moved to Cardiff in 1893 to take up a job with Chellew & Co., shipowners from Truro, Cornwall, who had an office in Cardiff. In 1903 he left Chellew & Co. to form McNeil, Hinde & Co., shipowners, with Robert McNeil. The new company bought the ship Portland and in 1906 the Portsmouth, followed in 1907 by the Portreath. In 1912 the Portloe was added but in 1913 the Portland and Portsmouth were sold and in 1914 the company was dissolved, Hinde setting up on his own.


Founded by Philip and Thomas Morel, brothers from Jersey who moved to Cardiff in the mid 19th century after trading with Cardiff in the Channel Islands potato trade. Once settled in Cardiff their company was mainly involved in the shipment of iron ore from Bilbao to South Wales and of coal from South Wales to Northern France. To begin with they used sailing ships but in 1876 acquired their first steamship, the Colstrup. In subsequent years they built up a substantial fleet of tramp steamers and in 1882 they acquired the Bute Shipbuilding, Engineering and Dry Dock Co. in Cardiff, where three of their ships were built between 1886 and 1890. The shipbuilding venture was not a success, however, and thereafter the company continued only in the ship repair business. Thomas Morel died in 1903 , followed in 1908 by Philip. The shipping company, however, continued to operate under their descendants mainly in the export of coal and the import of grain to and from South America until after the First World War, when the fleet was sold as a result of a dispute between members of the family. In 1921 Thomas Morel jnr and his brother Ralph, sons of Thomas senr. commenced rebuilding the fleet and from 1936 were in the forefront of the move to motor vessels, adding a number to their fleet. During the Second World War they lost four ships due to enemy action, and after the war, with the decline in the South Wales Coal trade, the company moved to London. The poor outlook for tramp steamers caused the eventual closure of the company in 1960.

Many of the Morel ships were named after towns in the South Wales coalfield eg Pontypridd, Blaenavon, Dowlais, Ebbw Vale etc.

[Personal note: I believe that the Deslandes family, relatives of mine, originally came to Cardiff from the Channel Islands in the service of Morels in the shape of J.P.Deslandes, Master Mariner]


J. J. Neale (from Ireland) and Henry West (of Bristol) set up in business together as fish merchants in Cardiff in 1885. At the time there was no large scale fishing out of Cardiff but local tug boats started taking trawl nets out into the Bristol Channel and supplying their catch to the company. In 1888 the company decided to buy their own trawler, the Lark (of Hull). From this very small beginning the company built up a substantial fleet of trawlers based at Cardiff and at Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire.

When Henry West left the company in 1910 it retained its name and was operated by J.J.Neale and his sons. Through a friendship between Neale and a Japanese businessman the company became involved in training Japanese trawler men and as a result started naming their ships with Japanese names (eg Fuji, Oku etc). The whole of the Neale & West fleet was taken over for use as mine sweepers during the First World War and many were lost by enemy action. After the war the much reduced fleet was modernised by the purchase of new, bigger trawlers built in the North East of England, which continued to carry Japanese names, but by the start of the Second World War the depletion of the fish stocks off the South and West Coasts of Ireland where the company did most of its fishing, caused difficulties. Again the Neale & West fleet was reduced as a result of War action during World War II and the fleet had to be rebuilt by the purchase of second hand Hull and Grimsby trawlers, but by 1956 fishing out of Cardiff had ceased, although the company still operated from Milford Haven for some years afterward. In Cardiff the company's base had been at the West Bute Dock.

[Personal note: I worked in an office in the late 1950s and early 1960s on the West Bute Dock very near to the old Neale & West base, and a cousin had been a trawlerman with the company]


The Priest family of Cardiff were involved in shipping activities from the early 18th century. The brothers Richard, Robert and John Priest all being described as mariners or boatmen in the parish registers. Robert Priest was married to a member of the Brewer family, also mariners since the latter part of the 17th century, whilst Richard Priest was married to the daughter of Nicholas Price, owner of the Pentyrch furnace.

There are numerous references to the family as boat owners in the Diary of William Thomas of Michaelston-super-Ely. When Richard Priest died he left his wife "all his sloops, skiffs and boats" Richard's son, Nicholas, continued at sea in the 1770s but he died in 1786 and seems to have been the last of the family in the shipping business.


Charles Radcliffe was born in Merthyr Tydfil in 1862. His father was a stonemason who worked at the Penydarren Ironworks. He had two elder brothers, Henry and Daniel. Both his elder brothers had moved to Cardiff, where Henry worked for the shipowner, J.H.Annning, and Daniel for another shipping company, Turnbulls of Whitby (Yorkshire) in their Cardiff offices. Charles also moved to Cardiff but joined the Civil Service, working for the Board of Trade, Marine Division. In 1881 Henry Radcliffe had become a partner in the shipping company, Evan Thomas, Radcliffe, and had prospered, and when Evan Thomas died in 1891, both Charles and Daniel Radcliffe joined their brother for a short time, before setting up in business on their own in that same year, managing the Glamorgan Steamship Co, with one ship, the Lady Armstrong. In 1892 they also took on the management of the Peterston (built in Whitby). In 1901 Charles Radcliffe purchased the Craiglea (his brother Daniel also being a member of his company) and over the ensuing years the Radcliffes ran some five ships (Rochdale, Snowdon, Reresby, Atherstone and Penstone). The company lost some of its fleet as casualties of the First World War, but continued to be successful and in the early 1920s invested heavily in new ships (Amblestone, Coniston, Rochdale, Snowdon and Overstone). In 1926 with the death of Charles Radcliffe the company closed down.

Charles Racliffe had also founded the Tydfil Engineering and Ship Repairing Co at Cardiff around 1892, once one of the largest ship repairing companies in the town.


William Reardon Smith was one of several Cardiff ship owners who came from Appledore in North Devon. He was born there in 1856 and first went to sea from there. In 1878 he obtained his First Mate's Certificate and joined Hogarth's of Ardrossan, Scotland. In 1879 he obtained his Masters Certificate, continuing to work for Hogarth's. In 1896 he became Master of the Starcross, owned by J.H.Anning of Cardiff (ex Appledore) and in 1898 he was Master of the Lady Lewis, owned by yet another Appledore man, W.J.Tatem. This was followed by command of he handon, another of Tatem's ships, but in 1900 Reardon Smith retired from the sea and settled in Cardiff. In 1906 he obtained his first ship, the City of Cardiff, and gradually over the ensuing years built up a substantial fleet based at Cardiff (although registered at Bideford, Devon). The company suffered the inevitable war losses during the First World War, but continued to expand, buying eight ships from Pyman Bros of London in 1917 and a further 12 in 1919. By 1922 there were 39 ships in the fleet and. in 1928 the company commenced a cargo liner service to the USA which lasted until 1937. William Reardon Smith was created a Baronet in 1922 for his services to the War effort. He died in 1935 and the company was continued by his son Sir Willie Reardon Smith. Twenty of their ships were lost during the Second World War but following the end of the war the company continued trading world-wide with their fleet of 20 tramp steamers. In 1964 they obtained their first bulk carrier, the Australian City, starting the company's substantial fleet of this type which continued to operate until 1985 when they ceased trading. They had, however, for some years managed ships owned by foreign owners as well as their own, and the company still exists in this form, managing foreign ships.


Alternative name for the Barry Railway Company pleasure steamer fleet (see Barry Railway Company).


Captain George Buchanan Bailey DFC, son of C.H.Bailey, owner of the shiprepair company of that name, set up this company in 1926 at Newport, Mon. with one ship of the same name. In the early 1930s Captain Bailey suggested to Dick Street of the Barry Shipping Co. Ltd. That they merge their two companies, which they did in 1933 to form the B & S Shipping Co.


William Henry Seager was born in Cardiff in 1862, the son of a family which came to Cardiff from Ilfracombe, Devon around the 1850s. Initially W.H.Seager worked as a clerk for a ship's chandler but in 1892 he set up in business himself as a ship's chandler. In 1904 he purchased the newly built ship, Tempus. Five years later he started to expand his business and over the years from 1910 he obtained the new ship Amicus and three second hand ships which were renamed, Beatus, Salvus and Virtus, and by 1914 he also owned the ship Campus. Following the First World War he sold three of his ships, but in 1924 bought three new ones, further increased subsequently so that by 1928 he owned seven vessels. During the Second World War all the company's ships except the Campus were lost by enemy action. Following the war the company bought two further vessels but sold one in 1955 and the other in 1963 when the business ceased trading.

W.H.Seager was a Liberal MP for Cardiff Eat and was knighted in 1918. His two sons, John Elliot Seager, and ,George Leighton Seager (created Baron Leighton of St.Mellons in 1962) were also directors of the company and prominent figures in Cardiff.

[Personal note - W.H.Seager was born in the house next door to my great grandparents, also Devonian "immigrants", and I understand that my paternal grandfather was a friend of W.H.Seager, both being very strong liberals and politically aware. In the early 1960s one of my duties as a Civil Servant was to act as minute secretary to the Cardiff Local Employment Committee, of which the second Lord Leighton was the Chairman (he succeeded to the title on the death of his father during this time in 1963), and a very pleasant and friendly person I found him]


See Owen and Watkin Williams


This was the name given to the old B & S Shipping Co (sse that company). in 1936 when the liner service to South America was established by that company with the support of Lord Howard de Walden. During the Second World War the company lost 12 of its vessels to enemy action, but in 1945, whilst continuing to operate in the tramp steamer trade, the company ordered two new passenger/cargo liners, the St.Essylt (delivered in 1947) and the St.Thomas (delivered in 1948). Initialy these two ships were to work between Cardiff and South America, carrying both passengers and freight. Unfortunately there was not sufficient business at Cardiff to maintain the service and much of the freight business was from the Continent and passengers from Dover. Nevertheless the firm continued to expand, adding the St.John in 1954 and ordering the St.Rosario in 1960. They also continued to operate their older ships in the tramp steamer trade. The leading light of the company had always been Dick Street and when he died suddenly in 1961 Lord Howard de Walden, who had supplied the financial backing, decided to wind up the company and in 1965 the company finally closed.

[Personal note: Just after the Second World War my sister went to work for the South American Saint Line in Cardiff. I was a child but I well remember her speaking of Dick Street and Lord Howard de Walden and the excitement when the St.Essylt was delivered in 1947. I was interested in ships and when she came to Cardiff in 1948 I was taken to see the new liner at the docks. She was a beautiful ship of a very modern appearance and thereafter she and her sister ships were, to me, the essence of what a modern liner should look like. Even now, seeing a picture of one of the ships, I still see them in a very special light !]


Charles Stallybrass, born in Siberia, the son of a British Missionary, came to Cardiff in 1857. He was part owner, with Henry Vellacott of the Llandaff and the Fairwater, and in 1868 bought, in his own right, the Leckwith. Within a few years he owned five ships sailing out of Cardiff in the coal trade.


Formed by the amalgamation of the Bristol Steam Navigation Co. and the Cardiff Steam Navigation Co. in 1869 to operate a daily passenger and freight service between Cardiff and Bristol. By 1894 was operating the Cardiff built ship Marchioness.


William Taitt was born in 1745. He was a partner in the Dowlais Iron Co. and the son- in-law of Thomas Guest, Ironmaster. In 1801 he bought the sloops, Cardiff Castle and St.Pierre, from James Walter to transport iron produced at the Dowlais works fro Cardiff to Bristol, and in subsequent years he ran two more ships, the Industry and the Mary Ann, between Cardiff and London, carrying iron out and general cargo back during the period of the Napoleonic Wars.


W.J.Tatem was born at Appledore, North Devon, in 1868. He initially went to sea from his home port but in 1886 he came to Cardiff, where he was employed in the offices of Anning Bros., ship owners, also from Appledore. In 1897 he set up in business on his own as the Lady Lewis Steamship Co. Ltd., owning just the one ship of that name. Over succeeding years he built up a substantial fleet which in 1910 became the Tatem Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. By the start of the First World War the company was one of the foremost in Cardiff with 16 modern steamers. Only eight of his ships survived the war and these were sold off and replaced by six more modern vessels. The company continued to expand during the 1920s and 1930s despite the poor economic situation which affected many of the shipping companies of the time. In 1916 W.J.Tatem was knighted for his war services and in 1918 was created Baron Glanely of St.Fagans. He died in a bombing raid on Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, in 1942, but the business continued under his nephew G.C.Gibson, initially at Cardiff but moving to London in 1960 s a result of the decline in the South Wales Coal Industry. The firm's last vessel, the Exning, was sold in 1973, when the company turned to other business interests.

[Personal note: My great grandmother was also from Appledore and the daughter of a Master Mariner. I understand that my father's uncle knew Lord Glanely and took him to be interviewed for a job in the company offices in about 1913. Lord Glanely was quite prepared to employ him but advised him to look for work outside the shipping industry because he said that the industry in South Wales was dying. My father took articles with a Solicitor instead. I now live in a house built in the grounds of St.Fagans Court, Lord Glanely's old Cardiff home.]


Evan Thomas was born at Aberporth, Cardiganshire in 1832, the son of Hezekiah Thomas. He went to sea from Cardiff and obtained his Master Mariner's certificate. After serving at sea for some years he set up in business in 1881 as a shipowner in partnership with Henry Radcliffe, a shipping clerk with J.H.Anning of Cardiff. Radcliffe had been born at Merthyr Tydfil, along with his brothers Daniel and Charles Radcliffe (see Charkes Radcliffe & Co.).

Evan Thomas, Radcliffe & Co started with the ship Gwenllian Thomas in 1881 and the business flourished to such an extent that in 1884 Evan Thomas gave up going to sea to concentrate on the business. By the time Evan Thomas died in 1891 the company had 15 ships. After the death of Evan Thomas, Henry Radcliffe's brother Daniel became more involved with the firm and by 1900 they had increased the fleet to 24.

A great deal of the financial support for the company had been drawn from investors in mid and west Wales, and likewise, many of the company's seamen were also from that area, particularly from Cardiganshire, some eventually going into business in Cardiff shipping themselves.

By the start of the First World War the company owned 28 ships, losing 20 of them in the hostilities. War compensation allowed them to obtain new ships in the late 1920s and by 1930 the company was back up to 16 ships. Eleven ships were lost in the Second World War and by the end of the war only five company ships remained. The size of the fleet remained at five for many years therafter but by 1981 all ships ha been sold. An attempt was made to revive the company in the coasting trade in 1982 but in 1983 its two coasters were sold and the company ceased.

Glamorgan Record Office at Cardiff holds many of the records of this company.


George Frederick Harrison with his brothers Osborne Walker Harrison and Tom Spencer Harrison and father George A Harrison (a manager employed by Cory Bros.) formed the Duffryn Steamship Co. in 1911 with two ships, the Claverdon and the Ormley and shortly afterwards the small coaster Woodland. In 1914 the company was renamed the Town Line Ltd. By 1916 they had five vessels. The company also became heavily involved in coalmining in the Swansea Valley, Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare around this time. By 1922 the company owned 19 ships, but then started to make a loss as a result of the Depression, whic resulted in them selling all but five of their ships over the next two years. In 1924 the Bank foreclosed their mortgages and the company ceased to exist.


Wiliam H. Tucker had for some years been the owner of Cardiff tug boats and in the 1920s his brother-in-law, James Cornelius Tippett, Master Mariner, joined him in the business.

[Personal Note: A friend who is researching her family is the great grandaughter of James Cornelius Tippett and great grand niece of William H Tucker]


Phillip and Lewis Turnbull, sons of Thomas Turnbull, Whitby (North Yorkshire) ship builder and owner, came to Cardiff in 1877 as agents for their father. In 1882 they set up in business together in Cardiff as ship owners with one ship (Everilda). They subsequently built up a fleet of eight ships, all built by their father's Whitby yard. Because of restrictions on the size of vessels which could be constructed at Whitby after 1902 the company then turned to other builders, mostly in their native North of England. The First World War decimated the Turnbull fleet and although they retained two ships after the war they sold them in 1919 and wound up the Cardiff company.

[Personal note: The Turnbull family were relatives of my late wife's father, who was also from Whitby (although neither family knew of the relationship when they lived around the corner from each other in Llantwit Major, Glamorgan in the 1940s)]


Cyril and Bertrand Turnbull, sons of Lewis Turnbull of Turnbull Bros, set up in business as agents for Turnbull Scott Shipping Co (which was London based but owned by a cousin) in 1921 and in 1924 purchased three steamers which they ran from Cardiff. The depression, however, caused the sale of their vessels by 1937 when they continued in business as agents and brokers.

[Personal note: Members of the Turnbull family lived at Llantwit Major in the 1940s - 1960s, just around the corner from my late wife's family, and it was one of the Turnbull family that found my father-in-law in Ham Lane, Llantwit Major when he died in of a heart attack there in 1948 ]


Vellacott bought the first Cardiff owned and registered ship, the Llandaff, in 1865, followed by the Fairwater in 1866.

VINDOMURA SHIPPING CO (See also Deansgate Steamship Co)

Richard Care, a Cardiffian, started this company around 1894 with one ship (Vindomura), and by 1913 a further ship had been added (Jeanie). Richard Care's sons, Edward Richard Care and Richard Penberthy Care, were involved with the companies Care and Marquand and Care Lines respectively.


Owner of the Cardiff sloop, Cardiff Castle, carrying passengers and general cargo between Cardiff and Bristol in the 1790s. By 1801 he also owned the St.Pierre, but sold both to William Taitt in that year.


In 1915 Edgar Edwards, a shipping company accountant from Ely, Cardiff, and Captain Hepburn of Roath, Cardiff, set up the company as a single-ship company owning the Southina. The company did well in the boom years after the First World War and late in 1919 the company took over the twenty ships of the Moor Line (Walter Runciman). Unfortunately the boom was followed by the slump and in 1922 the company had to be wound up.


Alternative name for P & A Campbell's fleet of pleasure steamers (see P & A Campbell)


Owen and Watkin Williams were brothers from Edern, Caernarvonshire. Both were Master Mariners sailing initially from North Wales. They both retired from the sea in the late 1890s and in 1899 they set up the Silurian Steamship Co.Ltd. of Cardiff, with just one vessel of that name. Over the following years the brothers built up a fleet of nine tramp steamers, employing many Caernarvonshre mariners. In 1900 the brothers set up a new company, the Golden Cross Line, with three ships, for use in the general cargo liner trade between Liverpool, Swansea, Cardiff, Bristol and the Mediterranean. In all they owned ten ships at the beginning of the First World War, but four were lost as a result of enemy action, and others sold after the war, leaving only two by 1921. The company then purchased two new motor vessels, Margretian and Silurian, but these proved to be a disaster and the company sustained heavy financial losses, winding up in 1930.


George Willie was a colliery manager with Cory Brothers and in 1913 supported his son Charles M Willie in the setting up of a coal exporting business of his own. Charles died in a shooting accident in 1915 but his brother-in-law, Enoch Rhys James, then took over the running of the company, again with support from George Willie. In 1929 the company entered shipping with the purchase of the Willodale which they employed in the coal out/pit props back trade with France. In 1947 the Willodale, still their only ship sunk, with the loss of 19 lives. The company did not replace her but used chartered vessels for many years thereafter. For a short period in the 1960s a subsidiary company, the Draethen Shipping Co. owned the Rudry, but most of the company's trade continued to use chartered ships, often in large numbers. Then in 1973 a new vessel, the Celtic Venturer, was purchased and registered at Cardiff and in 1978 the Celtic Endeavour was added, these ships being used in the liner trade, sailing from small UK ports like Watchet, Somerset, Shoreham & Newhaven in Kent, Sharpness, Gloucester and Goole, Humberside, to Portugal, Spain & Morocco. The Registered Office of the company remains in Cardiff and they operate four ships of their own plus a number under charter.


William H Tucker, a Cardiff tug boat owner, acquired three paddle steamers in 1919 - the Lady Moyra, Lady Evelyn & the Robina, which sailed in opposition to P & A Campbell's White Funnel Fleet taking passengers from Cardiff & Barry to the ports across the Bristol Channel. The competition was, however, too strong and in 1922 he sold his three ships to Campbell.