Information sheet

Lamport and Holt

Sheet number 23

The Lamport and Holt Line was founded in 1845 by WL 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.

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 Lamport'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).


Board Minutes, 1911 - 1955.

Liverpool, Brazil and River Plate Steam Navigation Co, Ltd Minutes, 1908 - 1977.

Director's Attendance Register, 1934 - 1956.

Letterbooks, 1927 - 1940.

Private Letterbooks, 1912 - 1918.

Articles of Association, 1856, 1911 - 1918.

Investment Records, 1925 - 1945.

Tenancy Agreements, 1907 - 1942.

Financial Records, 1895 - 1949.

Journals, 1905 - 1979.

Balance Sheets / Profit and Loss Accounts, 1910 - 1936.

Lors Kylsant Crisis Papers, 1930 - 1936.

Operational Records, 1872 - 1949.

Copies of Ships Registers, 1871 - 1962.

Buenos Aires and Montevideo Shipping Registers, 1889 - 1899.

Bills of Sale, 1870 - 1940.

Navigational and Radio Equipment Agreements, 1927 - 1945.

Voyage Results, 1911 - 1912.

New York Commissions, 1908 - 1913.

Staff Records, 1871 - 1897.

Apprenticeship Indentures, 1912 - 1918.

Miscellaneous Papers, 1799 - 1951.

Subsidiary Companies - Anglo-South American Airline Ltd. / H. & W. Nelson (see Guide).

B/LAH   1799, 1865 - 1979   48 Boxes


HEATON, P.M.  Lamport and Holt.  Newport, Gwent: Startling Press, 1986.

PEARCE, J.E.  We Salute ThemSea Breezes, 1947, June (3) 384-393.

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