Furness Line _ Royal Mail Line


17 picture postcards from the fleet of The Furness Line and the Royal Mail Line. The collection includes images of the ships: Queen of Bermuda 3x, Ocean Monarch, Loch Loyal, Loch Avon, Aragon, Andes, Loch Ryan, Eden, Amazon, Essequibo, Drina, Loch Garth, Loch Gowan, Ebro en Himalaya.

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Furness Withy was a major British transport business. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange. The company was founded by Christopher Furness and Henry Withy (1852-1922) in 1891 in Hartlepool. his was achieved by the amalgamation of the Furness Line of steamers with the business of Edward Withy and Co., iron and steel shipbuilders and repairers, of West Hartlepool, which was founded by Edward Withy (1844-1927), Henry Withy’s brother. An early acquisition in 1900 was a controlling interest in Richardsons Westgarth & Company, a marine engineering business. It started with 18 vessels and over the subsequent years it owned in excess of a thousand ships. It bought the Prince line in 1916. In 1917 the Furness Shipbuilding Co Ltd was established, at Haverton Hill, River Tees, initially for war production. The Furness family sold its interests in the Company to a consortium led by Frederick Lewis, a Director in the business, in 1919. Also in 1919, the Furness Bermuda Line was established, which operated cruises primarily from Bermuda until 1966. Furness, Withy acquired the Red Cross Line in 1928 and Royal Mail Lines (formerly Royal Mail Steam Packet Company) in 1965. In 1965, British and Commonwealth Shipping, Furness Withy, P&O and The Ocean Steamship Company established Overseas Containers Limited to exploit containerisation. In 1968 it went on to buy the Houlder Group, a company with offshore oil interests Furness Withy bought Manchester Liners in 1970.The company was acquired by the Orient Overseas Container Line of Hong Kong in 1980. In 1990 it was resold to its present owner, the Oetker Group.

The Royal Mail Steam Packet Company was a British shipping company founded in London in 1839 by a Scot, James MacQueen. The line’s motto was Per Mare Ubique (everywhere by sea). After good and bad times, it became the largest shipping group in the world in 1927 when it took over the White Star Line. The company was liquidated and its assets taken over by the newly formed Royal Mail Lines in 1932 after financial trouble and scandal. The new company’s operations were concentrated on the west coast of South America, the West Indies and Caribbean, and the Pacific coast of North America; the Southampton – Lisbon – Brazil – Uruguay – Argentina route was operated from 1850 to 1980. RML was also a leading cruise ship operator.RMS’s largest ship was the 25,895 GRT turbine steamship RMS Andes. She was designed as an ocean liner but when launched in 1939 was immediately fitted out as a troopship. She finally entered civilian liner service in 1948, was converted to full-time cruising in 1960 and was scrapped in 1971. RMSP and RML lost a number of ships in their long history. One of the last was the 17,547 GRT turbine steamship RMS Magdalena, which was launched in 1948 and grounded and sank off Brazil on her maiden voyage in 1949. In 1965 RML was bought by Furness, Withy & Co, and rapidly lost its identity. In the 1970s parts of the Furness Withy Group, including RML, were sold on to Hong Kong shipowner CY Tung, and later sold on to former River Plate rival Hamburg Süd; by the 1990s Royal Mail Lines was no more than the name of a Hamburg-Süd refrigerated cargo service from South America to Europe.