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Business established by Frederick Thomas Everard
By 1880 Frederick Thomas Everard had bought the yard where he worled to operate it himself.
c.1890 Began to own barges, initially sailing barges but started to introduce powered craft just before WWI, unusually the firm owned a motorship before it did a steam-engined vessel.
By the First World War all 4 of his children were playing an active part in the firm with William taking the lead in strategy and the operational side, Frederick in the construction and repair of barges.
WWI The firm received financial help from Van den Berghs in return for carrying oils to the Netherlands and margarine back to the UK. The association lasted into the Unilever era and beyond the Second World War.
1920s Apart from being among the first British firms to operate diesel ships, it also sought and found new trades, such as coastal tankers with steam heating coils, which allowed it to carry edible fish and vegetable oils at the correct temperature for easy pumping. It also spread its risks by operating in a wide range of trades such as coal, clay for cement making, china clay, and grains. The firm was also good at fostering a spirit of friendly rivalry among its skippers, encouraging them to make fast passages and paying them a form of piece rate — in shares — to ensure the minimum time spent in harbour.
1922 The private firm was converted to a limited liability company. F T Everard was governing director, and the other four directors were his children; the shares were split equally among them.
Everard himself was careful with the finances, ensuring profits were ploughed back into more vessels, and employing external sources of finance, using the fleet as collateral.
The firm provided more than 50 houses in Greenhithe for the crews' occupation, appropriately in Port and Starboard Avenues.
Everards also used barge racing as a method of motivating its crews and advertising its services. F. T. Everard was a keen supporter of the Thames and Medway races, and his sons kept up this tradition until well into the 1960s.
1929 The firm had about 50 vessels
1939 The firm had about 40 motorships, 10 steam ships and 25 sailing vessels.