Blue Funnel Line
A Photographic History
- Ian Collard
15th November 2013
A history of the famous Liverpool cargo line.
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The Blue Funnel Line was formed by the visionary Alfred Holt, who saw the steamship as a better and more economical way of shipping cargo and passengers to the Far East, China and later Australia. Alfred Holt commenced ship-owning with Thomas Ainsworth in 1852, and they built their first new ship in 1854, which they immediately chartered to the French Government for use in the Crimean War. In 1864, they began sailing to China and the Far East, and have since become the major British company serving this area. The company was registered as the Ocean Steamship Co. in 1865. In 1891, a subsidiary company, Nederlandsche Stoomvaart Maatschappij 'Oceaan' was formed in Amsterdam to compete with Dutch companies serving the East Indies, and the company also formed the Singapore-based East India Ocean Steamship Co. the same year. The China Mutual Steam Navigation Co. was taken over in 1902 together with their fleet of thirteen steamers and their route between China and the West Coasts of Canada and the USA. Through various take-overs, the loss of forty-one ships during the Second World War, and later the need to come to terms with the transformation of freight in containers, the company prevailed. The name of Alfred Holt disappeared in 1967, and the company became Ocean Transport & Trading in 1972. Ian Collard, born and brought up less than half a mile from where the Blue Funnel Line ships berthed at Vittoria Dock, tells the varied and interesting story of this iconic shipping line. As well as providing a detailed history, this informative book contains a full fleet list and over 200 images.
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