AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area

Asiatic Steam Navigation Company Limited

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0064 ASI
Held at: National Maritime Museum
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: Asiatic Steam Navigation Company Limited
Date(s): 1878-1968
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 11 minute books, 8 annual accounts and one folder
Name of creator(s): Asiatic Steam Navigation Company Limited


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Company was formed in 1878, under the auspices of the Liverpool house of Turner and Co and their Calcutta associates, Turner Morrison and Company, to develop steam communication in the Bay of Bengal. It received the active support of Thomas Ismay and William Imrie of the White Star Line.

The ships were cross traders, not based in the UK, serving the coastal trade between Calcutta and Bombay: between Calcutta, Chittagong, Rangoon and Moulmein: and later between Calcutta and Java, via Malayan ports. Another departure was the acquisition and continuous operation of the Indian Government mail contract between Calcutta and the Andaman Islands, which included responsibility for the transport of convicts to port Blair.

Relations with British India, many of whose ships were employed on the same route, were competitive throughout, although dialogue over freight rate levels and sailings was generally maintained.

In 1931 the company was restructured in order to cope with the slump. In 1934, in recognition of the growth of nationalism in both Burma and India, locally based companies were set up in both of these countries. At this time negotiations with British India broke down and there was a rate war which was resolved after about six months by a tripartite agreement between Asiatic, B. I. and Scindia (the Indian national line).

British India achieved a 51% interest in Asiatic by the end of 1934, at which time Ismay's connection terminated.

The company was absorbed into the P and O group in 1971 and effectively ceased trading in 1977.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the Asiatic Steam Navigation Company Limited comprising a continuous series of minute books from 1878 to 1968 (ASI/1): a similar series of annual accounts to 1965 (ASI/2) and a historical file on the settlement of the freight war (ASI/3).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In three series as outlined in the scope and content.

Conditions governing access:

Please allow 4 working days to process your order for viewing (see website for full details).

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

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:

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"