A Great British Liner and Tramping Success Story
A partnership was formed in 1908 between the brothers Stanley and John Thompson to act as the managing owners of the new St. Helen’s Steamshipping Co. Ltd. of London. The company owned one tramp, Wearmouth, which was soon renamed Silverbirch. The Thompson brothers were members of the famous Sunderland shipbuilding family of Joseph L. Thompson & Sons Ltd., and other members of the family owned tramps in Sunderland. Farringford was purchased from Charlton & Thompson in Sunderland to become Silverash, and the Burrell tramp Fitzpatrick was purchased in 1913 to become Silvercedar. The finances of the company were reorganised for expansion in 1912, and then a management contract was entered into in 1913 with the America-Levant Line, whose directors included Sir Alfred Allen Booth and the Catto family of shipowners. Former British tramps included the Burrell Fitzclarence renamed with ‘River’ names, and were used for Transatlantic services, a contract that was to run until 1930.
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