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National Maritime Museum

City Line of Bristol: the Business Records of James Martin Hilhouse, Hilhouse & Hill, and Charles Hill & Sons, Ltd.


Reference code(s): GB 0064 HIL

Held at: National Maritime Museum

Title: City Line of Bristol: the Business Records of James Martin Hilhouse, Hilhouse & Hill, and Charles Hill & Sons, Ltd.

Date(s): 1775-1940s

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 13 bound volumes and 9 boxes

Name of creator(s): James Martin Hilhouse
Hilhouse & Hill
Charles Hill & Sons, Ltd.


Administrative/Biographical history:

James Martin Hilhouse took over the then almost new Hotwells dock on the banks of the Avon in 1772, following a transaction with the Merchant Venturers of Bristol. By the time members of the Hill family became employees of the company in 1810, it was a successful shipbuilders. Mr Hilhouse, having no sons with whom to leave his company, allowed the Hills to take more control of the firm, first changing its name to Hilhouse & Hill, then finally to Charles Hill & Sons, Ltd when full control was assumed in 1845. As the company grew, the Albion dockyard was opened for shipbuilding and company activities were also expanded to Cardiff in 1879. This same year, the Bristol City Line was established and became closely identified with the North Atlantic cargo trade for the next hundred years. The company was eventually sold in the 1970's, with the shipyard finally closing in 1979.


Scope and content/abstract:

The collection consists mainly of ship's voyage expenses ledgers and company wages books, together with additional company records, such as personal expenses and accounts books for various members of the Hill family, and shipyard labour, materials and supplies ledgers. As a whole, the collection covers the company through its various changes of name and ownership, from 1775 to the 1940's.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:



Archivist's note: Edited by Sarah Drewery, Jun 2011.

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: 2010-08-26

Ships | Vehicles | Transport

Personal names

Corporate names
Charles Hill & Sons, Ltd
Hilhouse & Hill
James Martin Hilhouse