Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 133,393 pages of information and 211,464 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Ellerman Lines

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1923. City of Nagpur.
1937. City of Benares.
1938. City of Cape Town.
1952. City of Singapore.
1959. "City of Lancaster".
July 1961. To South Africa.
December 1961.

of 12 Moorgate Street, London.

1901 The company was registered 24 June, as the London, Liverpool and Ocean Shipping Co as the parent company for the rump of the Leyland organisation together with the Papayanni Co as well as acquiring certain other shipping interests. John Ellerman held 52% of the shares. In September it bought 50% of the shares of George Smith’s City Line and a month later 50% of Hall Line Ltd. John 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 in exchange for additional shares.

1902 The name was changed to the present title in January. [1]

Ellerman expanded into the closely regulated Atlantic and South African routes, as well as the route to India, and became a considerable troop and war supplies carrier in the latter phases of the South African War.

1904 A new, common uniform was brought into use for its employees and a company pennant.

1904–5 Acquired two other well-known older firms, Bucknalls and the Glen Line

WW1 The company lost 67 ships during the war

1916 The Wilson Line of Hull was taken over for about £4.1 million; Wilsons had been the largest private shipping line in the world.

WW2 Ellermans lost 85 ships, including the flagship City of Benares which was taking children (evacuees) to Canada. The ship was torpedoed and only 7 out of 90 children on board survived.

Ellerman's son left the day-to-day running of the firm in the hands of its managers.

After the mid-1950s, Ellerman Lines modernized in a deliberate and rational way, placing emphasis on new shipping routes to Australia, East Asia, the United States, and the Middle East.

Mid-1960s Ellerman Lines became one of the first British shipping companies to introduce containerization, purchasing several of the earliest container vessels in Britain.

1973 the fleet was consolidated in Ellerman City Liners.

1983 the company, now down to 6 ships, was sold to the Barclay Brothers and reformed as Ellerman Holdings.

1985 Management buy-back

1987 Trafalgar House purchased the company which thereafter traded as Cunard-Ellerman to the Mediterranean

1991 Andrew Weir Shipping bought the Ellerman interests.

A few chartered ships still carry the Ellerman colours and City names on Mediterranean routes.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  • Ellerman Line [1]
  • Biography of John Reeves Ellerman, ODNB [2]
  • Biography of John Reeves Ellerman, 2nd Baronet, ODNB [3]