The company was founded in 1815 by Mr. James Moss, a Liverpool ship chandler, who wanted to charter a sailing vessel to trade in the Mediterranean ports. In 1823, he was joined in partnership by Mr. Thomas Hampson, and the company became known as Moss & Hampson. After its dissolution in 1833, it continued its business under the name of James Moss & Co., with Messrs. William Moss and Richard Spencer as the new partners. The new firm continued to run sailing ships from Liverpool to the Mediterranean ports until c.1849, when the Nile and Orontes steamers were built by Messrs. Dennys of Dumbarton. This eventually led to a working arrangement between the two companies; continuing to launch steamships into the Mediterranean. In 1873, after the Companies Limited Liability Act, the Moss Steamship Co., Ltd., was registered at the Customs House, Liverpool, with James Moss & Co. being Managers for the limited company.
In 1916, both the Moss Steamship Co., Ltd. and Messrs. James Moss & Co. were taken over by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co., Ltd., with the second-names becoming a private limited company. However, both companies suffered the economic depression at the end of the First World War, as well as the Royal Mail financial crash. This then led to the formation of James Moss & Co. (Moss Line) Ltd. It was in 1934 that this firm amalgamated with J. & P. Hutchison Ltd. (as the former held the shares of the latter), and established a new company, registered as Moss Hutchison Line Ltd. on the 5 April 1934. At the end of 1935 the General Steam Navigation Co. purchased the company, which traded mainly to France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, the Mediterranean and Black Sea ports. Upon the collapse of the Royal Mail Group in 1935 the company was purchased by P. & O. and became a subsidiary company.
The collection includes minutes and annual reports of the company. It also contains books regarding launches and cargo holdings from the Mediterranean, as well as general information on voyages and landings. The collection comprises thirty items, dated from 1833-1979. For further details see the attached catalogue.