William James Tatem was born at Kenton near Exeter North Devon, in 1868. He ran away to sea, suffered shipwreck and yellow fever before settling down in Cardiff in 1886 as a clerk with the tramp steamer owners Anning Bros. from Kenton near Exeter. By 1897 he had sufficient funds to set up in business on his own and order the tramp steamer Lady Lewis in the name of the Lady Lewis Steamship Co. Ltd.
Tatem’s business prospered; by 1900 he had 6 steamers and in 1903 there were 13 ships in his fleet, all owned by single ship companies. Ships were bought and sold, but the companies remained with Tatem, often lying dormant for several years. At the start of WW1 Tatem owned 22 ships, but 9 became war losses. Ships continued to be bought and sold and at the end of the war the remaining fleet of 8 steamers was re-registered in the name of the Atlantic Shipping & Trading Co Ltd. In 1916 W.J. Tatem was knighted for his war services and in 1918 was created Baron Glanely of St.Fagans.
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. There was a post-war shipping boom and Glanely took advantage of high ship sale prices to sell his entire fleet, using the proceeds to buy 6 new-built steamers, including 4 wartime standard vessels. Glanely's companies survived the difficult inter-war years and at the start of WW2 he had 11 ships owned by: W.J. Tatem Ltd – 1 ship; Atlantic Shipping & Trading Co Ltd – 3 ships; Dulverton Steam Ship Co Ltd – 1 ship and Tatem Steam Navigation Co Ltd – 6 ships. The MOWT allocated 4 ships to Tatem’s and 7 vessels were lost as a result of the war.
Lord Glanely died in a bombing raid on Weston-super-Mare, Somerset in 1942 and although the business continued under his nephew G.C. Gibson, Tatem Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. had to be wound up to meet death duty costs. Tatem’s struggled on as a much smaller organisation, initially at Cardiff but moving to London in 1960s as a result of the decline in the South Wales Coal Industry, usually with about 4 ships.
The company was forced into liquidation in 1975.
|Page Link||Ships on Page|
|Tatem Line Ships (1):
Ashleigh to Lord Glanely
|Ashleigh, Chulmleigh (1938), Chulmleigh (1946), Exning, Filleigh, Glanely, Goodleigh (1928), Goodleigh (1938), Iddesleigh, Lord Glanely|
|Tatem Line Ships (1):
Monkleigh to Winkleigh (1940)
|Monkleigh, Northleigh, Umberleigh, Winkleigh (1927), Winkleigh (1940)|