" Blue Funnel Line"

The story of the Blue Funnel Line starts with Alfred Holt's
father, George Holt (1790-1861). The Holt family resided in Rochdale, a textile town in Lancashire.          
Liverpool came into the picture in1807 during a visit by Oliver Holt to a Liverpool cotton broker Samuel Hope. George's father, oliver Holt, heard that this Liverpool cotton
broker needed an apprentice and soon the 17 year old George started what was to be a 5 year apprenticeship at Hope's office in Water Street, Liverpool. George eventually became himself a cotton broker and Liverpool became his place of residence and here George brought up five sons. By 1823, George had separated  from Samuel Hope and remained in the cotton trade but maintained a keen interest in banking which he regarded as an essential for the growth of the seaport of Liverpool. In 1829, George's third son Alfred was born. In 1845, Alfred was apprenticed to a Liverpool engineer working for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company at Edge Hill. Later on Alfred turned his interest towards ships and joined the engineering dept. of Lamport and Holt and became well acquainted with the aspects of marine engineering. In 1851 Alfred set up as a consultant marine engineer and took an office in India Buildings and was later joined by his younger brother, Philip, with the required capital to register the Ocean Steam Ship Company on 11th January 1865. The brothers had three Blue Funnel ships built for their new company by Scotts of Greenock: 'Agamemnon', 'Ajax', and 'Achilles'. These three ships were soon sailing for China during 1866, and from these beginings the fleet grew, with improvements to each successive ships as they were built. More ships were added to the fleet as the trade and competition increased. In 1935 Blue Funnel acquired the Glen Line, a company that had traditionally been a great rival of the China tea trade. The trade with the Far East continued until the late 1980's when the company's traditional ships gave way to containerisation. blue Funnel ships will always be remembered with nostalgia by all who served in them. Graced by the familiar tall vertical blue funnel and black top, their silhouettes will be sadly missed.
I am particularly pround to say I haved served with the Blue Funnel Line and indeed I was serving on two of the remaining last ships to bear her colours, the bulkships 'Anchises' and 'Ajax' which sadly in 1984 were sold for further trading.

Alfred Holt (1829-1911)
Company manager from 1866 to 1904.

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