Lamport & Holt Line
The Lamport and Holt Line was founded in 1845 by William James Lamport, originally from Lancaster, and George Holt, from Liverpool - initially as a partnership, then as Lamport & Holt Ltd. Lamport was later involved in the framing of the first Merchant Shipping Act which resulted from Samuel Plimsoll’s campaign to improve conditions of seamen and safety at sea.
The company initially traded to India, South Africa, and the West Coast of South America in particular the River Plate. A tradition grew up of calling its ships after famous scientists, artists and writers. Lamport & Holt carried mail for the British and Belgian governments, operated a coastal passenger service for the Brazilian Government and carried frozen meat and coffee. The firm became a public company in 1911 but behind the scenes Sir Owen Crosby Philipps was negotiating to acquire the company. In 1910 he had taken over Elder Dempster to add to his existing control of Royal Mail and the Lamport and Holt families accepted shares in these two companies in exchange for their shares in Lamport & Holt Ltd. The company moved first to Drury Building in Water Street and to the Royal Liver Building in 1912.
Lamport & Holt had started a New York – River Plate passenger service in 1902 and after the Royal Mail take over, much grander ships were acquired for this service. They all carried names starting with the letter “V”. Photographs of three of these ships are in the collection. At the start of WW1 the fleet stood at 36 vessels of 199,000 grt. During the war 10 ships were lost, but 8 were delivered. A major post-war expansion programme was undertaken and the fleet reached a peak of 50 ships of 322,857 in 1923, including two new passenger liners.
Sir Owen Philipps became Lord Kylsant and continued to recklessly expand the Royal Mail group, raising larger and larger loans, until he was borrowing money against fictitious profits to pay the interest and instalments due on existing loans. In these parlous days Lamport & Holt suffered the tragedy of the loss of its liner “Vestris”. She is the only large passenger liner (over 10,000 grt) to ever founder in heavy seas. She went down on 12 November 1928, two days out of New York, with the loss of 112 lives. This caused uproar in the American press and the passenger service was suspended.
In 1929 Royal Mail Line defaulted, for the second time, on payment of an instalment due on a large Government loan and the Treasury set up an inquiry to investigate the affairs of the giant shipping and shipbuilding group. In 1930 Trustees were appointed to untangle those companies that could be saved from the collapse. Lord Kylsant was charged with fraud and imprisoned in 1931.
Lamport & Holt was placed in the hands of a Receiver who set about the task of stabilising the company’s finances. Ships were laid up on a rota basis, while the 41 vessel fleet was reduced to a more practical size. Shares in an Argentinean shipping company and 7 ships were sold in 1930; 3 in 1931; 4 in 1932; 4 in 1933 and finally 2 in 1934. In 1934 the restructured company was sold to new investors as Lamport & Holt Line Ltd.
At the start of WW2 the fleet stood at 21 ships of 141,003, with a further two fitting out. After many losses due to enemy action during the WW2, the company was taken over by the Vestey Group in 1944. At the end of the war the fleet was down to 9 ships.
In 1946 Vestey also bought Booth Line. The post war integration of the operations of these two shipping companies with Vestey’s Blue Star Line, led to considerable number of fleet changes. In 1959 Lamport & Holt owned 19 ships, but from that point the fleet numbers steadily reduced.
The container ship 'Churchill' (ex “New Zealand Star”) was the last ship to carry Lamport & Holt livery until it was transferred back to Blue Star Line and renamed 'Argentina Star' in 1991.
|Archimedes||No Info||Aug 1911. Yard No: 620||Gross: 6869 Net: 5068||Russell & Co. Port Glasgow|
|Balfe||Cargo / Passenger 424,000 G.||10/11/1919. Yard No: 522||Gross: 5369 Net: 3200||8075||D & W Henderson & Co Ltd. Glasgow|
|Biela||Cargo||July 1918. Yard No: 400||Gross: 5298||8075||Short Bros Ltd. Sunderland|
|Bronte||Cargo / Passenger 424,000 G.||1919. Yard No: 474||Gross: 5030 Net: 3200||8175||A. McMillan & Son Ltd. Dumbarton|
|Browning||Cargo / Passenger 424,000 G.||20/06/1919. Yard No: 481||Gross: 5030 Net: 3205||8075||A. McMillan & Son Ltd. Dumbarton|
|Bonheur||Cargo / Passenger 424,000 G.||17/06/1920. Yard No: 547||Gross: 5327 Net: 3200||8075||Harland & Wolff Ltd. Belfast|
|Boswell||Cargo / Passenger 422,136 G.||Nov 1920. Yard No: 550||Gross: 5333 Net: 2997||8109||Harland & Wolff Ltd. Belfast|
|Carroll||No Info||16/08/1939. Yard No: 661||Gross: 3022 Net: 1785||Burmeister & Wain Skibs A/S. Copenhagen|
|Constable||Cargo||26/06/1959. Yard No: 264||Gross: 3099 Net: 1600||2400||Brooke Marine Ltd. Lowestoft|
|Defoe||Cargo 669,000 G.||28/02/1945. Yard No: 1182||Gross: 8641 Net: 5603||Harland & Wolff Ltd. Belfast|
|Delane||Cargo / Passenger 662,000 G.||Jan 1938.||Gross: 6054 Net: 3709||10469||Harland & Wolff Ltd. Belfast|
|Delius||Cargo / Passenger 590,000 G.||12/04/1937. Yard No: 980||Gross: 7783 Net: 4814||10470||Harland & Wolff Ltd. Belfast|
|Devis||Cargo 662,000 G.||21/12/1937. Yard No: 1002||Gross: 6054 Net: 3709||10469||Harland & Wolff Ltd. Belfast|
|Devis||Cargo / Passenger 724,224 G.||06/10/1944. Yard No: 995||Gross: 9883 Net: 6185||11760||Lithgows Ltd. Port Glasgow|
|Dryden||Cargo 724,224 G.||06/10/1944. Yard No: 995||Gross: 9883 Net: 6185||11760||Lithgows Ltd. Port Glasgow|
|Euclid||No Info||July 1911. Yard No: 179||Gross: 4877 Net: 3119||Northumberland SB Co. Ltd. Newcastle|
|Lalande||Cargo / Passenger 569,000 G.||1920||Gross: 7453 Net: 4536||10520||D & W Henderson & Co Ltd. Glasgow|
|Lalande||Cargo / Passenger 524,450 G.||Nov 1940.||Gross: 6902 Net: 4067||8927||Barclay, Curle & Co. Ltd. Glasgow|
|Laplace||Cargo / Passenger 569,000 G.||1919||Gross: 7327 Net: 4500||10500||A. McMillan & Son Ltd. Dumbarton|
|Lassell||Cargo 562,000 G.||1943. Yard No: 2238||Gross: 7176 Net: 4380||10685||Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyards Inc. Baltimore|
|Leighton||Cargo / Passenger 569,000 G.||1921||Gross: 7421 Net: 4500||10500||A. McMillan & Son Ltd. Dumbarton|
|Linnel||Cargo / Passenger 569,000 G.||1921||Gross: 7424 Net: 4500||10500||A. McMillan & Son Ltd. Dumbarton|
|Memling||Cargo 557,089 G.||08/12/1942. Yard No: 474||Gross: 7063 Net: 4241||9624||Short Bros Ltd. Sunderland|
|Millais||No Info||07/11/1916. Yard No: 460||Gross: 7224 Net: 4314||12992||Harland & Wolff Ltd. Govan|
|Millais||Cargo 426,500 B.||01/09/1942. Yard No: 439||Gross: 6782 Net: 4162||C. Connell & Co. Ltd. Glasgow|
|Murillo||Cargo 311,000 B.||1915||Gross: 7206 Net: 4432||8200||Harland & Wolff Ltd. Belfast|
|Phidias||Cargo 508,000 G.||1913||Gross: 5623 Net: 3555||9467||A. McMillan & Son Ltd. Dumbarton|
|Raeburn||Cargo / Passenger 450,580 G.||05/10/1956. Yard No: 508||Gross: 6291 Net: 3639||9460||Caledon Shipbuilding & Eng Co., Dundee|
|Raphael||Cargo / Passenger 606,800 G.||July 1953. Yard No: 336||Gross: 7917 Net: 4715||10250||Bartram & Sons Ltd. Sunderland|
|Renoir||Cargo / Passenger 365,525 G.||04/10/1952. Yard No: 332||Gross: 4300 Net: 2419||1000||Wm. Pickersgill & Sons. Ltd. Sunderland|
|Roland||Cargo 777,920 G.||1949. Yard No: 623||Gross: 7344 Net: 4067||11210||A. Stephens & Sons. Ltd. Glasgow.|
|Romney||Cargo / Passenger 636,734 G.||April 1952. Yard No: 1214||Gross: 8237 Net: 4980||10550||Cammell, Laird & Co. Ltd. Birkenhead|
|Ronsard||No Info||Sept 1957. Yard No: 363||Gross: 7848 Net: 4699||10250||Bartram & Sons Ltd. Sunderland|
|Rossetti||Cargo 588,917 G.||July 1950. Yard No: 471||Gross: 5664 Net: 2739||8546||Caledon Shipbuilding & Eng Co., Dundee|
|Rossini||Cargo 487,035 G.||Oct 1952. Yard No: 328||Gross: 4495 Net: 2385||7250||Wm. Pickersgill & Sons. Ltd. Sunderland|
|Rubens||Cargo 435,000 G.||Aug 1951. Yard No: 326||Gross: 4472 Net: 2559||Wm. Pickersgill & Sons. Ltd. Sunderland|
|Sallust||Cargo 350,235 G.||1948. Yard No: 315||Gross: 2993 Net: 1589||4915||Wm. Pickersgill & Sons. Ltd. Sunderland|
|Siddons||Cargo 487,035 G.||Oct 1952. Yard No: 328||Gross: 4459 Net: 2385||7250||Wm. Pickersgill & Sons. Ltd. Sunderland|
|Spenser||Cargo 415,803 G.||1935. Yard No: 711||Gross: 6334 Net: 4428||6751||Bremer Vulkan, Vegesak|
|Swinburne||Cargo 365,985 G.||1918||Gross: 4665 Net: 2874||7555||A. McMillan & Son Ltd. Dumbarton|
|Vauban||Cargo / Passenger||20/01/1912.||Gross: 10660 Net: 6699||8400||Workman, Clark Ltd. Belfast|
|Voltaire||Passenger||14/08/1923.||Gross: 13233 Net: 7960||8500||Workman, Clark Ltd. Belfast|