Hughes Line

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History

Richard Hughes of Flintshire was a coastal ship owner based in Liverpool; because of its size, the fleet was sometimes referred to as 'The Welsh Navy'.

Hughes started up a number of single ship companies with funding from a small number of contributors, though later he owned ships himself. All of the ships had the suffix 'Rose'. The first company was the Primrose Steamship Company founded in 1885. The fleet was gradually built up with a mixture of old and new ships. Transport of china clay was the major trade though they also carried coal and probably iron ore. Coastal trade around the UK was later expanded to France and the fleet continued to grow during WW1 - ships still being named Rose but with patriotic names e.g. those of French generals. Hughes had 14 ships at the beginning of the war, and most were brought into government service - though only one was lost. Hughes got out of the business in 1920 just in time to avoid a major loss of trade. The company he sold to went into liquidation and Hughes bought many of the ships back and had increased the fleet to 20 ships by around 1925 and 28 by 1932. This last period of expansion coincided with an economic depression and Hughes went into receivership.

The fleet was kept largely together under new management and a new company called Richard Hughes and Co. (Liverpool) Ltd. was formed - Hughes name was still considered to be of value. Despite the setbacks, the company had 25 ships at the outbreak of WW2 but lost 8 ships to enemy action.

In 1952 after further sales a new company called Hughes Holden Shipping Ltd was formed. After that the ships were sold off piecemeal over time with the last one being disposed of in 1961.

We have not located a flag for this group of companies but is has been described thus:

“The house flag was white with a Red Rose and with the initials R H & Co., in each corner”.

Ships

Blush Rose Brier Rose Gronant Rose
Guelder Rose Pink Rose Primrose
Sturdee Rose Welsh Rose Wild Rose

Blush Rose

Blush Rose
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Original Owners and Managers R. Hughes & Co
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder De Merwede S & M
Shipyard Hardinxveld
Country where built Netherlands
Yard Number 104
Official Number 135482
Call Sign MDYS
Classification Society Lloyds Register
Gross Tonnage 645
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 281
Length 178 Ft 4"
Overall Length N/K
Breadth or Beam 28 Ft 1"
Depth 11 Ft 1"
Draught N/K
Engine Type Triple-expansion Steam Engine
Engine Details Cylinders of bore 15", 25", 40" and stroke 27"
Engine Builder Earles's Co Ltd
Engine Builder Works Hull
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details 2 single-ended boilers operating at 150 psi
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power 82 RHP
Maximum Speed N/K

Additional Construction Information

  • 1 steel deck - well deck
  • Machinery aft

Career Highlights

Date Event
7 May 1913 Launched
15 July 1913 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Sunk/foundered (Peacetime)
Service History Information The vessel sank following a collision with Glaucus at position 53° 26' 30" N, 5° 05' W on 2 August 1945 whilst en route from Dublin to Preston in ballast.

Brier Rose

Brier Rose
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Original Owners and Managers Brier Rose SS Co Ltd
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder John Shearer & Son
Shipyard Front Yard Glasgow
Country where built UK
Yard Number 7
Official Number 99394
Call Sign MPCW
Classification Society Lloyds Register
Gross Tonnage 503
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 196
Length 165 Ft
Overall Length N/K
Breadth or Beam 25 Ft 2"
Depth 11 Ft 5"
Draught N/K
Engine Type Compound Engine
Engine Details 2-cylinder compound engine with cylinders of bore 19" and 44" and stroke 80"
Engine Builder Hutson & Corbett
Engine Builder Works Glasgow
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details 1 single-ended boiler operating at 120 psi
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power 104 NHP
Maximum Speed 11

Additional Construction Information

  • 1 iron deck - well deck
  • Machinery aft

Career Highlights

Date Event
19 March 1892 Launched
8 April 1892 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Unknown
Service History Information Change of owner to R. Hughes & Co 1918, change of owner to Owen H.Donelly & Robert Leeson 1920, change of owner to Richard Hughes & Co 1921, change of owner to Richard Hughes & Co (Liverpool) Ltd 1934. The vessel went missing in the Irish Sea having sailed from Belfast on 25 March 1941 to take a cargo of steel billets to Cardiff. Those lost are commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial and details can be found on the Benjido Tower Hill website HERE.

Gronant Rose

Gronant Rose
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Original Owners and Managers R. Hughes & Co
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder Fullerton & Co
Shipyard Paisley - Merksworth Works
Country where built UK
Yard Number 272
Official Number 147286
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 1,110
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 639
Length 220 Ft 5"
Overall Length N/K
Breadth or Beam 34 Ft 2"
Depth 13 Ft 2"
Draught N/K
Engine Type Triple-expansion Steam Engine
Engine Details Cylinders of bore 17", 27", 45" and stroke 33"
Engine Builder Bow, McLachlan & Co. Ltd
Engine Builder Works Paisley
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power 169NHP
Maximum Speed 10

Career Highlights

Date Event
16 September 1924 Launched
16 October 1924 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Sunk/foundered (Peacetime)
Service History Information The vessel foundered off Pierres Vertes, South Ushant on 27 September 1929 whilst en route from Cardiff to Brest with a cargo of coal

Guelder Rose

Guelder Rose
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Original Owners and Managers R. Hughes & Co
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder De Merwede S & M
Shipyard Hardinxveld
Country where built Netherlands
Yard Number 117
Official Number 135512
Call Sign MDZW
Classification Society Lloyds Register
Gross Tonnage 700
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 302
Length 180 Ft
Overall Length N/K
Breadth or Beam 28 Ft 1"
Depth 12 Ft 2"
Draught N/K
Engine Type Triple-expansion Steam Engine
Engine Details Cylinders of bore 15", 25", 40" and stroke 27"
Engine Builder Earle's Co Ltd
Engine Builder Works Hull
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details 2 single-ended boilers operating at 180 psi
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power 82 RHP
Maximum Speed N/K

Additional Construction Information

  • 1 steel deck - well deck
  • Machinery aft

Career Highlights

Date Event
N/K Launched
30 November 1913 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Change of owner to Williamstown Sg Co Ltd 1941, Change of owner to N.W.Spratt Ltd 1942, change of owner to F.G. Browne 1943, change of name to Riversider 1947, change of name to Akenside and owner to Connell & Grace Ltd 1951. Taken to Grangemouth 28 September 1954 for breaking by G.W.Brunton.

Pink Rose

Pink Rose
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Original Owners and Managers R. Hughes & Co
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder Grangemouth Dockyard Company
Shipyard Grangemouth
Country where built UK
Yard Number 191
Official Number 109433
Call Sign MCJM
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 596
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 270
Length 175 Ft
Overall Length N/K
Breadth or Beam 26 Ft 3"
Depth 11 Ft 6"
Draught N/K
Engine Type Triple-expansion Steam Engine
Engine Details Cylinders of bore 13", 21 1/2", 34" and stroke 27"
Engine Builder Muir & Houston Ltd
Engine Builder Works Glasgow
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details 1 single-ended boiler
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power 60 RHP
Maximum Speed N/K

Additional Construction Information

  • 1 steel deck - well deck
  • Machinery aft

Career Highlights

Date Event
7 May 1898 Launched
June 1898 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Sunk/foundered (Peacetime)
Service History Information Completed for R. Hughes & Co as Pansy. Change of owner to Alexander Hutson 1905, change of owner to R. Hughes & Co 1909, change of owner to Owen H.Donnelly & Robert Leeson 1920, change of owner to R. Hughes & Co 1921, change of owner to Richard Hughes & Co (Liverpool) Ltd 1934, change of name to Pink Rose 1937. The vessel sank on 4 May 1941 after colliding with Georgios P. approximately 10 miles North of Sough Bishop whilst en route from Swansea to Dublin with a cargo of coal.

Primrose

Primrose
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Original Owners and Managers Richard Hughes & Co
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder Fullerton & Co
Shipyard Merksworth Works Paisley
Country where built UK
Yard Number 215
Official Number Grangemouth Dockyard Company
Call Sign MDPZ
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 611
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 256
Length 175 Ft
Overall Length N/K
Breadth or Beam 28 Ft 1"
Depth 10 Ft 5"
Draught N/K
Engine Type Triple-expansion Steam Engine
Engine Details Cylinders of bore 14 7/8", 24", 40" and stroke 27"
Engine Builder Ross & Duncan
Engine Builder Works Glasgow
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details 1 single-ended boiler
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power 90 RHP
Maximum Speed 10

Additional Construction Information

  • 1 steel deck
  • Machinery aft

Career Highlights

Date Event
31 March 1910 Launched
26 April 1910 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Sunk/foundered (Peacetime)
Service History Information Change of owner to Owen H.Donnelly & Robert Leeson 1920, change of owner to Richard Hughes & Co 1921, change of owner to Richard Hughes & Co (Liverpool) Ltd 1934. The vessel capsized and sank approximately 4 miles SE of the Daunt Light Vessel on 30 January 1941 whilst en route from Dublin to Cork with a cargo of maize.

Sturdee Rose

Sturdee Rose
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Original Owners and Managers R.Hughes & Co
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder Hansen Ship Building & Ship Repair Co. Ltd.
Shipyard Bideford
Country where built UK
Yard Number 4
Official Number 145983
Call Sign MLDS
Classification Society Lloyds Register
Gross Tonnage 873
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 443
Length 190 Ft
Overall Length N/K
Breadth or Beam 30 Ft 1"
Depth 12 Ft 5"
Draught N/K
Engine Type Triple-expansion Steam Engine
Engine Details Cylinders of bore 15", 25", 41" and stroke 27"
Engine Builder Lytham SB & E. Co Ltd
Engine Builder Works Lytham
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details 2 single-ended boilers operating at 180 psi
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power 84 RHP
Maximum Speed 9.5

Additional Construction Information

  • 1 steel deck - well deck
  • Machinery aft

Career Highlights

Date Event
27 May 1922 Launched
21 October 1922 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Other
Service History Information The vessel capsized off Trevose Head on 16 November 1945 with the loss of 8 lives. She was en route from Garston to Plymouth with a cargo of coal.

Welsh Rose

Welsh Rose
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Original Owners and Managers Thomas Rose
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder Goole Shipbuilding & Repairing Co. Ltd.
Shipyard Goole
Country where built UK
Yard Number 241
Official Number 144860
Call Sign MLDV
Classification Society Lloyds Register
Gross Tonnage 581
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 252
Length 175 Ft2"
Overall Length N/K
Breadth or Beam 27 Ft
Depth 10 Ft 5"
Draught N/K
Engine Type Triple-expansion Steam Engine
Engine Details Cylinders of bore 13", 21 1/2", 35" and stroke 27"
Engine Builder W. Beardmore & Co ltd
Engine Builder Works Glasgow
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details 1 single-ended boiler operating at 180 psi
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power 85 RHP
Maximum Speed 8.5

Additional Construction Information

  • 1 steel deck - well deck
  • Machinery aft

Career Highlights

Date Event
23 September 1922 Launched
October 1922 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Completed for Thomas Rose as Brookside. Change of name to Welsh Rose and owner to R. Hughes & Co 1929, change of owner to Richard Hughes & Co (Liverpool) Ltd 1934, change of name to Sussex Birch and owner to Geo.W.Grace & Co 1946, change of name to Holdernile and owner to Holderness SS Co Ltd 1953. Taken to Gateshead 15 November 1955 for breaking by C.W.Dorkin & Co.

Wild Rose

Wild Rose
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Original Owners and Managers Hansen Sg Co Ltd
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder Fullerton & Co
Shipyard Merksworth Works Paisley
Country where built UK
Yard Number 2
Official Number 145179
Call Sign MXPX
Classification Society Lloyds Register
Gross Tonnage 873
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 431
Length 190 Ft
Overall Length N/K
Breadth or Beam 30 Ft 1"
Depth 12 Ft 5"
Draught N/K
Engine Type Triple-expansion Steam Engine
Engine Details Cylinders of bore 15", 25", 41" and stroke 27"
Engine Builder Lytham SB & E. Co Ltd
Engine Builder Works Lytham
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details 2 single-ended boilers operating at 180 pse
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power 51 RHP
Maximum Speed 8.5

Additional Construction Information

  • 1 steel deck - well deck
  • Machinery aft

Career Highlights

Date Event
February 1921 Launched
April 1921 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Completed for Hansen Sg Co Ltd as Monkstone. Change of name to Wild Rose and owner to R. Hughes & Co 1922, change of owner to Richard Hughes & Co (Liverpool) Ltd 1934, change of name to Sussex Elm and owner to George W.Grace & Co Ltd 1951, change of name to Holdernene and owner to Holderness SS Co Ltd 1953. Taken to Dublin 19 February 1958 for breaking by Hammond Lane Foundry.

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