The Lamport and Holt Line was founded in 1845 by W.L. Lamport from Workington and George Holt (brother of Alfred Holt of the Blue Funnel Line). This partnership owned wooden sailing vessels trading with North and South America, South Africa and India. After some tentative involvement with steamers with James Moss & Co., and Papayanni Brothers in the Mediterranean, in the mid-1850s, two 1,300 ton tramp steamers were bought in 1861-1862.
|Tycho Brahe built at Hebburn in 1867 of 1,876 Gross Tons|
The Liverpool, Brazil and River Plate Steam Navigation Co., Ltd., was successfully started in 1865 to run cargo, mail and passenger services from Liverpool, London, Antwerp and Glasgow. In 1869 it pioneered the Brazil - New York coffee trade. In 1874 (the year of amport's death; Holt lived until 1896) no less than twelve new ships had been delivered or were under construction; the firm became a limited company and a Belgian subsidiary was created. Sailings were extended to Valparaiso in the 1880s (abandoned in 1896), frozen meat was transported from the River Plate region in 1886 and in 1898 five large (5,555 ton) purpose-built ships were ordered.
In 1902 a New York - South America passenger service was started with two second-hand ships and proved so successful that large new luxury liners were ordered. In 1910 three further vessels (of over 10,000 tons) built to a similar standard, were ordered for the Liverpool route. This stimulated its largest rival (Royal Mail) to take it over in 1911. At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Lamport owned thirty-six ships of 200,000 tons, eleven of which were sunk. It reverted to cargo (especially frozen meat) as its staple trade except for the New York passenger trade. However, this latter trade was virtually wiped out by the bad publicity from the sinking of the Vestris in 1928 and the Wall Street crash of 1929. Lamport collapsed along with the rest of Kylsant's Royal Mail group, was reconstituted in 1934, and then eventually sold to the Vesty Group (Blue Star Line) in 1944. It survived as a separate company until 1974. The last ship to operate under Lamport colours was the container ship, Churchill.
The Merseyside Maritime Museum holds models of Titan (1902), Verdi (1907), Vauban (1912) and Delius (1937).
1861/2 Two 1,300 ton tramp steamers were bought.
1865 The Liverpool, Brazil and River Plate Steam Navigation Co was started to run cargo, mail and passenger services from Liverpool, London, Antwerp and Glasgow.
1869 pioneered the Brazil - New York coffee trade.
1874 Lamport died. 12 new ships were delivered or were under construction. Became a limited company. A Belgian subsidiary was created.
1880s Sailings extended to Valparaiso (but abandoned in 1896)
1886 Frozen meat was transported from the River Plate
1896 Holt died
1898 five large (5,555 ton) purpose-built ships were ordered.
1902 New York - South America passenger service was started with two second-hand ships; it was so successful that new luxury liners were ordered.
1910 three further vessels were ordered for the Liverpool route. This stimulated its largest rival, Royal Mail to take it over.
1910 Sir Owen Philipps had taken over Elder Dempster and Co in addition to his existing control ofRoyal Mail Steam Packet Co. The Lamport and Holt families accepted shares in these two companies in exchange for their shares in Lamport and Holt Ltd.
1911 Flotation of public company to acquire the old established shipping firm of Messrs Lamport and Holt.
1911 Acquired by Owen Philipps; continued trading under its own name.
1912 The company moved to the Royal Liver Building.
WW1 10 ships were lost (out of a fleet of 36) but 8 were delivered.
1918 Lamport and Holt bought a controlling interest in Archibald McMillan and Sons's shipyard .
Postwar: A major expansion programme was undertaken and the fleet reached a peak of 50 ships in 1923.
1931 On the collapse of the Kylsant Group, Lamport and Holt was placed in the hands of a Receiver who set about the task of stabilising the company’s finances. Ships were laid up on a rota basis and the fleet reduced in size. Sold its shares in an Argentinean shipping company.
1934 the restructured company was sold to new investors as Lamport and Holt Line Ltd.
WW2 Many ships were lost due to enemy action; the company was taken over by the Vestey Group in 1944.
1946 Vestey Group bought Lamport and Holt Line and Booth Line; the 2 lines were integrated withBlue Star Line
1959 Lamport & Holt owned 19 ships but after that the fleet numbers steadily reduced.
Also operated Sunshine Cruises.