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National Maritime Museum

Houlder Brothers & Co Ltd


Reference code(s): GB 0064 HOU

Held at: National Maritime Museum

Title: Houlder Brothers & Co Ltd

Date(s): [1920-1967]

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 3ft: 91cm

Name of creator(s): Houlder Brothers & Co Ltd


Administrative/Biographical history:

E.S. Houlder started business as a ship and insurance broker in 1853 and soon began specializing in the Australian trade. when his brother joined him in 1856, the name Houlder Brothers and Company was adopted. They soon began owning ships and extended their regular service to Australia to New Zealand. The search for return cargoes led them to the Pacific Islands and by the end of the 1860s an interest in the carriage of contract cargoes resulted in voyages to India and South Africa. In 1881 the Company turned its attention to the South American trade and was responsible for the first shipments of frozen meat from the River Plate. The partnership became a limited liability company in 1898. In 1911, Furness Withy (q.v.) acquired a large holding of the Company's shares. Interests in the Australian and other trades were sold in 1912 and the Company concentrated its activities on the development and extension of its South American trade and in particular the River Plate meat trade. An associate company, Empire Transport Co Ltd, had been set up in 1902 and joint ventures with Furness Withy included: British & Argentine Steam Navigation Co Ltd, 1911 to 1933, British Empire Steam Navigation Co Ltd, 1914, and Furness Houlder Argentine Line Ltd, 1915. During the inter-war period oil tankers were added to the facilities for handling bulk cargoes. A large holding in the Alexander Shipping Co Ltd was purchased in 1938 and a controlling interest was acquired in 1947. After the Second World War, the interest in the South American trade was maintained and the bulk shipping activities were further diversified by the addition of ore carriers and gas tankers. Houlder Brothers became a wholly owned subsidiary of Furness Withy.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Houlder Brothers & Co Ltd. They consist of: movement books, 1920-1930; Charter Parties 1949-1950; voyage estimates, 1965-1967. The movements and estimates refer to ships of associated companies as well as those of the parent company.


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:

The records were presented by Furness Withy in 1976.



Archivist's note: Edited by Sarah Drewery, Sep 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

Shipping | Maritime transport | Transport
Ships | Vehicles | Transport
Water transport

Personal names

Corporate names
Houlder Brothers & Co Ltd