Burrell & son of Glasgow: a tramp shipping firm, 1861-1930

Argyros, Leonidas (2012) Burrell & son of Glasgow: a tramp shipping firm, 1861-1930. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

A tramp ship is a vessel with no regular ports of call or sailing schedule. Tramp ships normally carry low-value, bulk cargoes, such as coal, timber, grain and other raw materials and are usually sent wherever necessary to secure freight and to minimize voyages in ballast. -- Burrell & Son of Glasgow was one of the most important British tramp shipping firms of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. George Burrell entered the shipping business as a shipping and forwarding agent in the 1850s, but his successors took advantage of opportunities in the 1860s to expand into shipowning, mostly through the purchase of steamers. Over the next sixty-odd years, they engaged in many typical tramp trades and cross-trading. During the Boer War in the late 1890s, Burrell & Son exited the shipping business. A few years later, it embarked on an ambitious shipbuilding program only to sell its steamships once more, at a considerable profit, during the First World War. -- The thesis uses quantitative and qualitative methods to analyse British tramp shipping along three broad themes: the acquisition of vessels by a tramp firm; the deployment of these ships and the cargoes they carried; and finally, the crew members who manned them. Crew agreements and bills of entry allow us to examine some of the business strategies and investment patterns of Burrell & Son and shed some light on the world of tramp shipping. -- Burrell & Son was a fairly typical British tramp shipowner. The company, for the most part, avoided exposure to risky endeavours and opted for reliability and economy, especially in terms of technological developments. It maintained a relatively young fleet, without establishing an exclusive relationship with any particular shipyard. It remained mindful of the need for economy, reducing costs wherever possible (especially through the reduction of the man/ton ratio and the employment of Asian crew members). Its scope of operations was global and its trade was in low-value, bulk tramp cargoes, but it also participated in less typical enterprises, like the first successful carriage of frozen meat from Australia to the United Kingdom.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/6079
Item ID: 6079
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 359-407).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 2012
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: United Kingdom--Scotland--Glasgow
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Burrell and Son--History--19th century; Burrell and Son--History--20th century; Tramp shipping--Scotland--Glasgow--History--19th century; Tramp shipping--Scotland--Glasgow--History--20th century; Shipping companies (Marine transportation)--Scotland--Glasgow

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