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British shipping companies (C)

Last modified: 2021-05-29 by rob raeside
Keywords: cenargo | chapman and wilson | charente | china navigation | city line | charlton steam | x | ss |
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See also:

Cenargo Navigation Ltd.

[Cenargo houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker, 10 October 2005

Cenargo Navigation Ltd., London - blue flag, the firm's yellow logo.
Source: Loughran (1995)
Jarig Bakker
, 10 October 2005

Other sites:

Joseph Chadwick & Sons

[Joseph Chadwick & Sons houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 30 April 2021

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of Joseph Chadwick & Sons (#1407, p. 103), a Liverpool-based company, as white with a blue windrose inscribing a white "C".
Ivan Sache, 30 April 2021

J. Chambers & Co.

(Lancashire Shipping Co., Ltd.)

[J. Chambers & Co. houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 1 May 2021

James Chambers started his own shipping company in 1865 after having been a partner for nine years in the White Star Line of Australian Packets (later famous as the White Star Line). In 1867 James Chambers took over the Lancaster Shipowners Company a newly formed company in which he registered his sailing ships.
By the time of his death in 1877 the Lancaster Shipowners Company owned seven sailing ships and the business was then managed by his son Walter J. Chambers.
On fourteen November 1896 the Lancashire Shipping Co. Ltd was formed to take over from the Lancaster Shipowners Company. At the turn of the century the fleet consisted of eight steamers and two sailing ships. Fifteen ships joined the Chambers fleet between 1900 and 1915.
Two ships were lost due enemy action during World War I and three ships were purchased during that period, while three German prizes entered the fleet between 1919 and 1921. During the second half of the 1920s five motorships were built for the company and by 1930 at the onset of the Great Depression the fleet numbered fourteen ships including eight steamers, but all the eight steamers were sold during the next six years.
Between 1937 and 1939 four new steamers were built. During World War II Lancashire Shipping Co. Ltd lost five ships due enemy action.
The management of the company between 1923 and 1927 was done by James Chambers grandson and after his death in 1927 Samuel Chambers and his nephew Allan Chambers took command of the company.
In October 1944 Moller & Co. of Shanghai bought the trading rights and goodwill of James Chambers & Co. and in 1946 ended the management of James Chambers & Co. [...]
In 1957 Moller & Co. now at Hong Kong sold the last Lancashire Shipping Co. Ltd ships to the Ben Line and closed this service.

All the company's ships were named "... Castle"; the company was also known as the Castle Line.

The Shipslist

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of J. Chambers & Co. (Lancashire Shipping Co., Ltd.) (#1582, p. 112), a Liverpool-based shipping company, as red with a white canton charged with a blue "C".
Ivan Sache, 1 May 2021

Chapman and Willan, Ltd

[Chapman and Willan. Ltd houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 26 April 2021

Flag divided per saltire white-red.
Ivan Sache, 29 February 2004

[Chapman and Willan. Ltd houseflag]    [Chapman and Willan. Ltd houseflag]

Chapman & Willan. Originated in 1878 as Chapman & Miller placing the black letters "C" and "M" in the respective white segments. In 1896 it became R. Chapman & Son and the letters became "RC&S" with the "RC" being red on the white quarters and the "&S" white on the red quarters. Around the beginning of the 1950s it became Chapman & Willan Ltd. finally being sold in 1974. At some stage the letters were dropped and whilst it was logically occurred after the last name change, the letter-less version is shown under the name of R. Chapman & Son by Reed 1912, the Liverpool Journal of Commerce 1930 chart and Brown 1951.
Neale Rosanoski, 14 April 2005

The described flag of R. Chapman & Son (with letters) is shown in Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) (#62, p. 68),
Ivan Sache, 26 April 2021

Charente Steamship Company

(Harrison Line)

[Charente Steamship Co. houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker, based on the website of the National Maritime Museum.

From the website of the National Maritime Museum, "the house flag of the Charente Steamship Co. Ltd., Liverpool. A white rectangular flag with a red Maltese cross placed across it. The flag is made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. It has a cotton hoist and is machine sewn. A rope and toggle is attached
Jarig Bakker, 8 August 2004

Company continued as T & J Harrison in the 1950s.

Charente Steamship Co. The flag is that of Thom. & Jas. Harrison Ltd. who formed The Charente Steam Ship Co. Ltd. [named after the port from which Harrisons imported brandy] in 1884 to own the Harrison ships with Harrison doing the managing.
Neale Rosanoski, 15 April 2004

The company founder Thomas Harrison began work as an employee of a Liverpool company of shipping agents, in 1839 becoming a full partner in the firm, which became known as George Brown and Harrison. Thomas's brother James joined the partnership in 1849. The company's main trade was the import of brandy and wines from the Charente area around Cognac. In 1853 after the death of George Brown the Harrisons took over the business then called Thos. & Jas. Harrison. From 1857 they began to name their vessels after trades and professions. The company decided to ship spirits directly to London in 1861, this involved them in a price war with the GSNC who reacted to the competition by undercutting Harrison's rates and sending ships to northern ports. This competition was removed by mutual arrangement in 1863. In the same year, Harrison's started scheduled services to India. During the American Civil War the company started a route to New Orleans carrying mostly cement on the outward run and returning with cotton. The Charente Steamship Company was founded in 1871 still with the capital in family hands and with Thos. & Jas. Harrison as managers. John T. Rennie, Son & Co.'s Aberdeen Direct Line was purchased in 1911. Their fleet continued to sail to South Africa as the Harrison-Rennie Line, retaining vessel names beginning 'In' - a tradition retained for Harrison's passenger vessels. The early 20th century saw the loss of 27 ships during the World War I and three very bad trading years during 1930-33. In the 1970s Harrison's diversified into bulk cargos and container ships. The company was acquired by P&O Nedlloyd in 2000.
Ivan Sache, 27 April 2021

Charlton & Thompson

[Charlton & Thompson houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 15 March 2008

Lloyds Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of "Charlton & Thompson" (#24, p. 38), a company based in Sunderland (England), as blue with the white letters "C&T".
Ivan Sache, 15 March 2008 

Charlton Steam Shipping Co.

(Charlton, McAllum & Co.)

[Charlton Steam Shipping Co. houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 29 February 2004

A.k.a. Chandris
Al Fisher, 27 Jan 1999

Blue flag with white horizontal margins and a white X in the middle.
Ivan Sache, 29 February 2004

The same flag (without the light blue border) is shown in Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) (#1315, p. 99).
Ivan Sache, 30 April 2021

[Charlton Steam Shipping Co. houseflag]   [Charlton Steam Shipping Co. houseflag] images by Rob Raeside

Charlton Steam Shipping Co. The company was taken over by Chandris group at the end of WW2, hence their use of the flag shown but previously they were in the colours of the founders, Charlton, McAllum & Co. Ltd. There is doubt about their original flag which is shown by Reed 1891 as being blue within a light blue border with the field bearing a white diamond changed with a "C" enclosing an "M" both in red with Talbot-Booth in 1944 describing it as "may have been". Thereafter the flag is shown without the border with the size of the diamond varying but most having it placed throughout the field.
Neale Rosanoski, 14 April 2005

R.B. Chellew Steam Navigation Company, Limited

[Woods, Tylor & Brown houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 22 April 2021

Source: Brown's Flags and Funnels [Wedge 1926]

R.B. Chellew Steam Navigation Company, Limited, Cardiff - red flag, white "C".
Jarig Bakker
, 5 February 2005

Formed in 1883 as the Cornwall Steam Ship Co with one ship "City of Truro" operating to the Mediterranean and Black Sea, the company expanded and by 1889 owned six ships. By 1912 trade had expanded to the Baltic, South America and India.
In 1918 all the vessels which had hitherto been owned by single ship companies were transferred to one company, the R.B. Chellew Steam Navigation Co ltd.
In 1921 Chellew’s offices moved from Truro to Cardiff but their ships were registered in Falmouth. The office moved again to London in 1930 but returned to Cardiff in 1945. Six ships were lost during World War II.
In 1952 the management company and shares in the shipping company were sold to Cory Bros & Co, Cardiff. The entire holding in the Chellew Nav. Co was then sold to Eskgarth SS Co. and the last ship in the fleet was sold in 1955 and the company was wound up.
Mariners L

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the same house flag (#260, p. 49)
Ivan Sache, 22 April 2021

[R.B. Chellew Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. houseflag] image by Rob Raeside

R.B. Chellew Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. A company of several name changes or variations as shown by sources finally, going by Lloyds, becoming Chellew Navigation Co. Ltd. before in 1955 being absorbed by Esk Shipping Co. Ltd. Whilst most sources just record this red flag with white "C" flag through to Stewart in 1957, who also shows it under the last manager Baden H. Roberts, Talbot-Booth between 1937 and 1944 shows another flag of 9 horizontal red and white bands with the 2nd red broken by the field in the hoist on which is borne a black "C" but as he keeps showing it under slightly different titles it is not clear where it fitted in although in 1944 he does show both flags, the red for Chellew Navigation Co. Ltd. and the banded version for Chellew Steamship Management Ltd. As at this stage both were under the managership of F.C. Perman who preceded Roberts, this may have a bearing, then again maybe not.
Neale Rosanoski, 14 April 2005

China Mutual Steam Nav. Co.

[China Mutual Steam Nav. Co. houseflag]image by Eugene Ipavec, 31 July 2008

Based on:

‘The Ships List’ site mentions ‘China Mutual Steam Navigation Co.’ in its ‘Blue Funnel Line’ (Alfred Holt) section (
“The China Mutual Steam Navigation Co. was taken over in 1902 together with their fleet of 13 steamers and their route between China and the West Coasts of Canada and the USA. Although ships were nominally owned by China Mutual SN Co. after this date, these are not shown separately for the purposes of this list.”
And the ‘Red Duster’ page lists ships of China Mutual, the earliest being built in 1883 (this Liverpool based company seems to have been founded in 1882). Similar sources add that the firm was considered a serious rival of Alfred Holt’s until the takeover, and that the name was used – nominally, I would think – for decades after this event; the most recent trace I found was 1974.

An Ogden cigarette card offered on some – now inaccessible – webpage (it may have been ‘Nostalgia Lane’) a few years ago shows the house flag is yellow bearing a blue saltire, and above the flag flies a slightly longer blue pennant or streamer bearing the word ‘MUTUAL’ in yellow. This is a practice not unheard of in British shipping. The same card (clickable image) can be seen on-line (NYPLDigital Gallery - enter “china mutual” in the search box).

An interesting variant is shown in Griffin’s 'Flags national and mercantile' of 1891, no. 402 (plate 18, steam vessels), where the
(rudimentary?) picture shows an oddly rendered blue saltire – meant to convey ‘light blue’ perhaps? – and a streamer without any name. London is mentioned as the company seat.
Jan Mertens, 23 May 2008

China Navigation Company, Ltd.

[China Navigation Company, Ltd. houseflag] image by James Dignan

Based on Sampson (1957)
James Dignan, 12 October 2003

China Navigation Company, Ltd. (John Swire & Sons, Ltd.), Hong Kong - China Coast and South East Asia.
Houseflag: red and white quartered diagonally, with vertical blue band.
Jarig Bakker, 13 October 2003

China Navigation Co. Ltd., London: Larousse Commercial Illustré (1930) shows white, a blue vertical stripe in the middle, one seventh of flag length (say), red triangles to the left and right of it, the apexes touching the stripe. This may sound odd, and indeed Sampson (1957) shows a flag (see above) really quartered per saltire and the stripe hiding the point where the triangles cross. Also under `Swire Group' (Hong Kong). A company history can be found at this site. All other flag pictures I've found confirm the saltire quartering - I dare say Sandy Hook (illustrator for Larousse) was not very precise in his drawing.
Jan Mertens, 4 June 2004

"Flags and Funnels of the British and Commonwealth Merchant Fleets" shows a flag like the image above, with the blue not *on* the red triangles, but rather
between them; i.e., the tips are visible.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 16 June 2006

I can state confidently that the tips of the red triangles are hidden behind the blue bar, as seen on a Swire flag flown at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami.
Al Kirsch, 18 May 2009

The shipping company was founded by John Samuel Swire and William Hudson Swire acting as importers and shipping cargo agents. They handled cotton from the US and wool from Australia. When the south was blockaded during the American civil war, the Swires shifted their business to the import of silk and tea from China. The China Navigation Company Limited was floated on the stock market in 1872 to trade up the Yangtse from Butterfield & Swire's Shanghai base. They lost the Chinese coastal and Yangtse trade when communist rule was established in China after the Second World War.
Company headquarters were moved to Hong Kong in 1947 and operations were shifted to routes from the Far East to Indonesia and Australia. In 1974, Butterfield & Swire were replaced by John Swire & Sons, Ltd London who were appointed as managers. The company now part of The Swire Group, are still in operation running liner services in the Pacific and involved in charter operations worldwide.
National Maritime Museum

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the same house flag (#134, p. 43).

The pattern has been in use from 1870 and is still used today by the Swire family, The China Navigation Co. Ltd and The Swire Group.
National Maritime Museum

Ivan Sache, 21 April 2021

Wm. Christie & Co.

[Wm. Christie & Co. houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 28 March 2008

Lloyds Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of "Wm. Christie & Co., Ltd." (#119, p. 42), a company based in London, as white with a white and red border and the red letters "WC&Co."
Ivan Sache, 28 March 2008 

Christopher Marwood

(Rowland & Marwood Steamship Co., Ltd.)

[Rowland & Marwoods Steam Ship Co. houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker, based on the website of the National Maritime Museum.

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the same house flag (#506, p. 61) for Christopher Marwood (Rowland & Marwood Steamship Co., Ltd.).
Ivan Sache, 25 April 2021

See also:

The City Line

[The City Line houseflag] image by James Dignan

Based on Sampson (1957)
James Dignan, 12 October 2003

[The City Line houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker, based on the website of the National Maritime Museum.

The houseflag of the City Line is flown with a blue pennant with JRE in white over a red flag with SS in White (all ships were name city of ***).
Jarig Bakker, 12 October 2003

Originally named George Smith & Sons. From
- commenced ship-owning in 1840 and traded to India with sailing vessels. By 1852 voyages were being made to Valparaiso and the West Indies, Australia and New Zealand and later between India, New York and the UK. In 1901 the company was sold to J. R. Ellerman and became Ellerman's City Line.
Phil Nelson, 12 October 2003

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the same house flag (#1496, p. 108).
Ivan Sache, 1 May 2021

City Steam Fishing Co., Ltd.

[City Steam Fishing Co., Ltd. houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 4 May 2021

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of City Steam Fishing Co., Ltd. (#1730, p. 119), a Hull-based fishing company, as red with, in the center, a blue shield charged with a white "C" and three yellow crowns.

The three crowns come from the arms of Hull.
Ivan Sache, 4 May 2021

British Shipping lines: continued