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London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/B/225

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1877-1969

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 92 production units.

Name of creator(s): Wilson, Sons and Co Ltd | coal and steamship agency


Administrative/Biographical history:

Wilson, Sons and Company Limited has its origins in the coal and steamship agency started in 1837 in Bahia, Brazil, by the brothers Edward and Fleetwood Pellew Wilson. This business grew rapidly throughout the South Atlantic, being concerned with coaling, stevedoring, lighterage, towage, ship repairs and general trading. A London office was established in 1845 and incorporation as a British limited company took place in 1877. The records relate to the British company and start in 1877.

Wilsons traded from 57 Gracechurch Street (1873-8); 7 Draper's Gardens, Throgmorton Avenue (1879-1901); Salisbury House, London Wall (1902-59); 5 Queen Street (1960-82); and moved to 14 King Street in 1982.

Wilsons obtained their supplies of Welsh steam coal from the Ocean group of companies and had contracts to supply the Royal Navy and many commercial steamship lines. In 1908 a new British company, Ocean Coal and Wilsons, was formed to formalise this arrangement, and acquired both Wilsons and the Ocean group. Ocean Coal and Wilsons traded from Salisbury House, London Wall, 1909-55.

All these companies traded profitably until the early 1950s, when a recession in South American trade, and the change from coal to oil bunkering, led the group to withdraw from all countries except Brazil. The head office of the group has been in Brazil since 1971.

The collection includes records of several other companies owned or taken over by Ocean Wilsons (including Ocean Coal and Wilsons Limited, British Italian Shipping and Coal Company Limited, Burnyeat, Brown and Company Limited, Glenavon Garw Collieries Limited, Peacock Iberia Coal Company Limited, Petsaly Coal Company Limited, Rio de Janeiro Lighterage Company Limited, Taff Merthyr Steam Coal Company Limited, United National Collieries Limited and Citygate Investment Company).


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Wilson, Sons and Company Limited, coal and steamship agency, and associated companies. The records include minutes; financial accounts; letter books; constitutional documents; historical notes; registers of members; annual reports; and agreements.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

CLC/B/255-01: Wilson, Sons and Co Ltd;
CLC/B/255-02: British Italian Shipping and Coal Co;
CLC/B/255-03: Burnyeat, Brown and Co;
CLC/B/255-04: Glenavon Garw Collieries;
CLC/B/255-05: Ocean Coal and Wilsons;
CLC/B/255-06: Peacock Iberia Coal Company;
CLC/B/255-07: Petsaly Coal Company;
CLC/B/255-08: Rio de Janiero Lighterage Company;
CLC/B/255-09: Taff Merthyr Steam Coal Company;
CLC/B/255-10: United National Collieries;
CLC/B/225-11: Wilson, Sons S.A.

Conditions governing access:

Access by appointment only. Please contact staff.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The records were deposited in the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library in 1982 and 1985 by Ocean Wilsons (Holdings) plc, 14 King Street (the accession of 1985 was transferred from University College Library). The Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section merged with the London Metropolitan Archives in 2009.



Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: January to May 2011.

Business records | Documents | Information sources
Coal industry | Industry
Coal merchants | Merchants | Mercantile personnel | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Shipping | Maritime transport | Transport
Steamships | Ships | Vehicles | Transport
Extractive industry
Water transport

Personal names

Corporate names
Wilson | Sons and Co Ltd | coal and steamship agency

Brazil | South America
London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Wales | UK | Western Europe | Europe