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The Fleets

Lancashire Shipping Co. Ltd / James Chambers & Co., Liverpool

James Chambers started his own shipping company in 1865 after having been a partner for nine years in the White Star Line of Australian Packets (later famous as the White Star Line). In 1867 James Chambers took over the Lancaster Shipowners Company a newly formed company in which he registered his sailing ships.

By the time of his death in 1877 the Lancaster Shipowners Company owned seven sailing ships and the business was then managed by his son Walter J. Chambers.
On fourteen November 1896 the Lancashire Shipping Co. Ltd was formed to take over from the Lancaster Shipowners Company. At the turn of the century the fleet consisted of eight steamers and two sailing ships. Fifteen ships joined the Chambers fleet between 1900 and 1915.

Two ships were lost due enemy action during World War I and three ships were purchased during that period, while three German prizes entered the fleet between 1919 and 1921. During the second half of the 1920s five motorships were built for the company and by 1930 at the onset of the Great Depression the fleet numbered fourteen ships including eight steamers, but all the eight steamers were sold during the next six years.

The Round the World Service had several British and American competitors, including Prince Line from 1914, Silver Line from 1925 and the Bank Line.

Between 1937 and 1939 four new steamers were built. During World War II Lancashire Shipping Co. Ltd lost five ships due enemy action.
The management of the company between 1923 and 1927 was done by James Chambers grandson and after his death in 1927 Samuel Chambers and his nephew Allan Chambers took command of the company.
Round the end of 1943 they realized that due to increasingly heavy American competition the Round the World service could not be sustained after the war and they sold the remaining four motorships, three to Elder Dempster & Co. and one to J.A. Billmeir (Stanhope SS Co.).

In October 1944 Moller & Co. of Shanghai bought the trading rights and goodwill of James Chambers & Co. and in 1946 ended the management of James Chambers & Co.
To serve the round the world trade from New York, which was the line service built up by James Chambers & Co., Moller & Co. bought two escort carriers in 1947 and converted them back to cargo liners and one new building joined the fleet in 1949, although this ship never was employed in her intended trade.
In 1957 Moller & Co. now at Hong Kong sold the last Lancashire Shipping Co. Ltd ships to the Ben Line and closed this service.

Many thanks to Henk Jungerius and Ted Finch for his assistance in collecting this data. The following list was extracted from various sources. This is not an all inclusive list but should only be used as a guide. If you would like to know more about a vessel, visit the Ship Descriptions (onsite) or Immigrant Ship web site.

  • Routes:
    • Antwerp-New Orleans-Galveston-Vera Cruz (Gulf of Mexico service)
    • Gulf of Mexico- New York- Round the World service of the Barber Line
    • Far East-New York (Dodwell Castle Line)

Funnels & Flag:
Red with black top.
Round the World service. Barber Line - Black with blue and white bands containing red star with white B.

Fleet:

Funnel Funnel Flag
    Sailing Ships  
Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Greystoke Castle (1) 1886 built by Williamson at Workington | three masted ship. 10 June 1896 wrecked on Cape Agulhas. 1,878
Hornby Castle (1) 1877 built by T.B. Royden and Son at Liverpool as DUNCAN COUPLAND for Lancaster Shipowners | three masted ship. 1881 renamed Hornby Castle by James Chambers & Co., 1905 sold to Aas & Cappelen renamed HARALD, 15 August 1909 wrecked in the Mull of Oa, Islay. 1,495
Lancaster Castle (1) 1884 built by Williamson at Workington | three masted ship. 1898 sold to H.H. Schmidt, Germany renamed MARGARETHA, 13 March 1909 sunk in collision. 2,155
Lowther Castle (1) 1886 built by Williamson at Workington | three masted ship. 1889 sold to H.H. Schmidt, Germany renamed MARIE, 1909 broken up at Harburg. 1,868
Muncaster Castle (1) 1882 built by Williamson at Workington | four masted barque. 29 May 189? sold not renamed, 1901 wrecked at Staten Island, Patagonia. 2,044
Pendragon Castle (1) 1891 built by Williamson at Workington | four masted barque. 1898 sold to H.H. Schmidt, Germany renamed LISBETH, 1927 scrapped. 2,510
Thurland Castle (1) 1876 built by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Belfast for James Chambers & Co. | three masted ship. 1895 sold to C. Brewer & Co. renamed IOLANI, 03 May 1900 sunk in collision off Astoria, Oregon. 1,301
Warwick Castle 1863 built by Robert Napier & Sons at Glasgow for Castle Mail Packet Co. | three masted ship. 1870 purchased by James Chambers & Co. for the Liverpool - Calcutta service not renamed, 1890 sold to A/S Cimbria, S. W. Brunn, Kolding, Denmark renamed CIMBRIA, by 1905 she was owned by P. L. V. Schiaffino of Genoa with the same name and was broken up in Italy during 1911. 1,171
Wray Castle (1) 1889 built by Williamson at Workington | three masted ship. 1901 sold not renamed, 1921 sold to Garthwaite renamed GARTHWRAY, 23 April 1923 wrecked off Santa Maria Island. 1,891
    Steam and Motorships  
Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Bolton Castle (1) 1912 built by Wm Hamilton & Co. Ltd, Port Glasgow | completed as Dryden for Lamport & Holt, 1932 sold to Coumantaros Bros, Greece renamed Panagiotis Th. Coumantaros, 1939 sold to S.S. Niarchos renamed Evgenia, 18 May 1940 sunk by air attack off Dover. 5,300
Bolton Castle (2) 1914 built by Wm Hamilton & Co. Ltd, Port Glasgow | 1937 sold not renamed, 1939 sold to A. Ravano, Greece renamed Fidelitas, 1940 seized by the Germans, 27 November 1944 bombed and sunk in Sula Fjord near Aalesund. 5,826
Bolton Castle (3) 1939 built by J. Laing & Sons Ltd, Sunderland | 05 July 1942 bombed and sunk. 5,203
Bowes Castle (1) 1913 built by J. Laing & Sons Ltd, Sunderland | 18 August 1914 captured by German cruiser KARLSRUHE off Barbados and scuttled. 4,650
Bowes Castle (2) 1913 built by J. C. Tecklenborg A.G., Geestemünde | ex- Solfels built for DDG Hansa, Bremen, 1919 surrendered to Britain, 1920 sold to Lancashire Shipping Co., renamed Bowes Castle, 1931 sold to A. Lauro, Naples, Italy renamed Angelina Lauro, 1940 interned at Liverpool, 1940 seized by Britain, 1941 renamed Empire Advocate, 1945 scrapped. 5,821
Corby Castle (1) 1898 built by Wm Pickersgill & Sons, Sunderland | 1908 sold to Braemount S.S. Co. Ltd (Sloan & Jackson), Glasgow renamed Braemount, 1912 sold to Furness, Withy & Co. Ltd for the Chesapeake & Ohio Co. renamed Albiana, 1913 sold to Sale & Co., London name unchanged, 1919 sold to Union Chartering Co. renamed Berriedale, 1921 sold to I.C. Ozanne renamed Brockdale, 1924 sold to F.J. Mundy renamed Cardiff, 1927 sold to G. Bozzo, Italy renamed Pellegro, 1934 scrapped. 3,607
Corby Castle (2) 1918 built by Russell & Co., Port Glasgow | ex- Virgilia, 1925 purchased from Cunard renamed Corby Castle, 1927 sold to Tatsuuma Kisen , Japan renamed Tatsuha Maru, 1938 renamed Tatuha Maru, 17 February 1944 bombed and sunk at Truk. 5,697
Dacre Castle (1) 1908 built by R. Craggs & Sons Ltd., Middlesborough | 17th September 1912, while on a voyage from Yokohama to New York with a general cargo, was wrecked at Keelung harbour 4,261
Dacre Castle (2) 1919 built by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd., Newcastle | launched as War Lynx for the Shipping Controller and completed as Dacre Castle for Lancashire Shipping Co., 1937 sold to Brynymor SS Co. (Ambrose, Davies & Matthews), Swansea renamed Cefn Y Bryn, 1938 sold to Jugoslavenska Ploviba d.d, Susak, Yugoslavia renamed Kobac, 1938 sold to Prekomorska Plovidba, Susak renamed Lika, 1939 sold to Crest Shipping Co, London renamed Milcrest, 07 October 1942 sunk in collision with EMPIRE LIGHTNING. 5,278
Egremont Castle (1) 1890 built by Palmers & Co. Shipbuilding & Iron Company, Jarrow | built for James Chambers & Co., 1896 transferred to Lancashire Shipping Co. Ltd, 1902 sold to Macbeth & Co., Sidney, NSW not renamed, 1907 sold to Wilh. Wilhelmsen, Norway renamed Heimdal, 20 June 1910 wrecked Sable Island, N.S. 2,877
Egremont Castle (2) 1911 built by Craig, Taylor & Co., Stockton on Tees | 19 July 1925 wrecked Tuba Bataha Reef, Philippines. 5,294
Greystoke Castle (2) 1906 built by Wm Pickersgill & Sons, Sunderland | 1927 sold to Xilas Bros, Greece renamed Michalios Xilas, 1936 scrapped at Savona. 3,828
Greystoke Castle (3) 1928 built by Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 1943 sold to Elder Dempster & Co. not renamed, 1946 renamed Freetown, 1958 scrapped at Hamburg. 5,853
Greystoke Castle (4) 1944 built by Seattle Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation, Tacoma | ex- HMS TROUNCER, 1947 purchased from USMC by Moller & Co. renamed Greystoke Castle, 1954 chartered to Shaw Savill & Albion renamed Gallic, 1957 sold to Ben Line, 1959 renamed Benrinnes, 1973 scrapped at Kaohsiung. 8,028
Hornby Castle (2) 1899 built by Wm Pickersgill & Sons, Sunderland | 1914 sold to A. Lederer, Austria renamed Libusse, 1915 seized by the British to A.D. Axarlis renamed Warren, 01 January 1917 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine. 3,712
Hornby Castle (3) 1914 built by Sunderland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Sunderland | ex- Pacific, 1916 purchased from W.H. Cockerline renamed Hornby Castle, 1929 sold to J.T. Galakis, Greece renamed Theodoros Galakis, 1930 renamed Aspasia, 15 August 1940 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine UA with the loss of 30 lives. 4,211
Kendal Castle (1) 1896 built by Wm Pickersgill & Sons, Sunderland | 1901 sold to Yandiola & Solano, Spain renamed Rosario, 1920 sold to Ballesteros renamed Ceferino Ballesteros, 1930 sold to Fabrica de Mieres renamed Mieres, 1955 sold to A. Garcia Munte Nuno renamed Garcia Munte, 1959 scrapped at Barcelona. 2,885
Kendal Castle (2) 1910 built by Short Brothers Ltd., Sunderland | 15 September 1918 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine near Berry Head. 3,855
Kendal Castle (3) 1919 built by Norddeutsche Werft, Wesermunde, Bremerhaven | launched as Mai Rickmers for Rickmers ceded to Great Britain and completed as Ultor, 1921 purchased from British Government renamed Kendal Castle, 1932 sold to Belgian National Shipping Line (A. Deppe), Belgium renamed Louis Sheid, 07 December 1939 stranded by Start Point and lost. 6,057
Lancaster Castle (2) 1919 built by Northumberland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Howden on Tyne | launched as War Terrace for the Shipping Controller and completed as Lancaster Castle for Lancashire Shipping Co., 1936 sold to Stathatos & Co., Greece renamed Seapharer, 1938 sold to D.D. Stathatos, Greece renamed Eleni Stathatos, 28 January 1940 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U.34. 5,625
Lancaster Castle (3) 1937 built by J. Laing & Sons Ltd, Sunderland | 14 April 1942 bombed and sunk in Murmansk roads with the loss of 9 lives. 5,172
Lowther Castle (2) 1900 built by A. MacMillan & Sons Ltd., Dumbarton | 1912 sold to P. Regier & Son, Russia renamed Rossia, 1922 purchased by Essex Steam Ship Co. (Meldrum & Swinson) from Sefton SS Co. Ltd renamed Essex Baron, 1928 sold to Lyn Shipping Co. not renamed, 1930 scrapped at Queenstown. 4,599
Lowther Castle (3) 1914 built by Antwerp Engineering, Antwerp | 1933 sold to G.N. Condylis, Greece renamed Condylis, 10 August 1942 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U.660. 4,439
Lowther Castle (4) 1937 built by J. Laing & Sons Ltd, Sunderland | 27 May 1942 bombed and sunk in convoy PQ16 with the loss of 1 life. 5,171
Middleham Castle (1) 1897 built by Wm Pickersgill & Sons, Sunderland | 1904 sold to Heyne Hessenmuller, Germany renamed Hermine Hessenmuller, 1908 sold to August Bolten W. Miller’s Nachfolger, Hamburg, renamed Harz, 1914 seized by Russia to Imperial Russian Navy renamed Dobro, 1919 reverted to Germany, 1923 sold to Emil R.Retzlaff, Stettin renamed Fafner, 1931 sold to E. Bergmann, Estonia renamed Stella, 25 March 1934 sunk in collision. 3,062
Middleham Castle (2) 1910 built by Wm Hamilton & Co. Ltd, Port Glasgow | 06 December 1917 heavily damaged in explosion at Halifax, repaired at New York, 1932 sold to Vogemann's Transport, Panama renamed Delia, 1934 sold to Wing Line renamed Bright Wings, 1939 sold to F. Grauds, Latvia renamed Everoja, 03 November 1941 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U.203 near Belle Ile, Nfl. 4,534
Muncaster Castle (2) 1906 built by Wm Hamilton & Co. Ltd, Port Glasgow | 1925 sold to W.S. Miller & Co. renamed Elsiston, 1935 scrapped at Rosyth. 4,757
Muncaster Castle (3) 1928 built by Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 30 March 1942 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U.68 with the loss of 24 lives. 5,853
Muncaster Castle (4) 1944 built by Seattle Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation, Tacoma | ex- HMS PUNCHER, 1947 purchased from USMC by Moller & Co. renamed Muncaster Castle, 1954 chartered to Shaw Savill & Albion renamed Bardic, 1957 sold to Ben Line, 1959 renamed Bennevis, 1973 scrapped at Kaohsiung. 8,014
Pendragon Castle (2) 1908 built by Russell & Co., Port Glasgow | ex- Inverkip, 1917 purchased from R.J. Rowat & Co. renamed Pendragon Castle, 1922 sold to Chofuku Kisen, Japan renamed Chofuku Maru, 06 February 1931 wrecked near Point Cloates, West Australia. 4,353
Penrith Castle (1) 1900 built by Wm Pickersgill & Sons, Sunderland | 1916 sold to Atlantic and Eastern S. S. Co. Ltd. (J. Glynn and Son managers), Liverpool and renamed Alaveno, 1922 sold to Kaye, Son and Co. Ltd. and renamed Kayak, 1926 sold to Anglo Maritime Shipping Ltd. (F. S. Edwards manager), London and renamed City of Patras, 1927 sold to Pandeli Bros. S.S. Co., Greece and renamed Zannis Pandelis, 13 March 1928 wrecked in English Roads, Bonavista Islands whilst on a voyage from Barry to Rio de Janeiro with a cargo of coal. 3,663
Penrith Castle (2) 1922 built by Ardrossan Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Ardrossan | 1927 sold to Les Cargos Algeriens, France renamed Djurdjura, 1940 seized by the British at Falmouth, 13 June 1941 torpedoed and sunk by Italian submarine Brin. 3,460
Penrith Castle (3) 1928 built by Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 1943 sold to Elder Dempster & Co. not renamed, 1946 renamed Fantee, 06 October 1949 wrecked in fog on Scilly Islands, no loss of life. 5,369
Penrith Castle (4) 1949 built by Blyth Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co. Ltd, Blyth | 1951 sold to Ben Line renamed Benmhor, 1973 scrapped at Kaohsiung. 7,731
Raby Castle 1925 built by Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd, Dundee | 1943 sold to J.A. Billmeir (Stanhope SS Co.) not renamed, 1945 renamed Stanhall, 1951 sold to Wallem & Co., Hong Kong renamed Ami, 1956 sold to Kawasaki Kisen K.K., Japan renamed Hisakawa Maru, 1962 scrapped. 4,996
Richmond Castle 1898 built by Wm Pickersgill & Sons, Sunderland | 1906 sold to Deutsche Levante Linie, Hamburg, Germany renamed Paros, 1914 seized by the British at Alexandria not renamed, 17 August 1915 sunk by German submarine U.38 west of Bardsey Island. 3,605
Rose Castle (1) 1895 built by Wm Pickersgill & Sons, Sunderland | built for James Chambers & Co., 1896 transferred to Lancashire Shipping Co. Ltd, 1899 sold to F. de Abasolo, Spain renamed Arraiz, 1931 sold to Duro Felguera renamed Ciano, 1934 sold to Amaya renamed Axpe, 1936 scrapped at Bilbao. 2,816
Rose Castle (2) 1915 built by Short Brothers Ltd., Sunderland | 1917 sold to T. Lewis not renamed, 1920 sold to Dominion Shipping of Canada not renamed, 20 October 1942 damaged by German submarine U. 69, 02 November 1942 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U.518 with the loss of 24 lives. 7,546
Sizergh Castle 1903 built by Wm Pickersgill & Sons, Sunderland | ex- Sirocco, 1913 purchased from W.& R. Thomson renamed Sizergh Castle, 1919 sold not renamed, 07 October 1919 abandoned and foundered in North Atlantic. 3,747
Skipton Castle 1907 built by Wm Pickersgill & Sons, Sunderland | 1928 sold to Kassos SN Co., Greece renamed Prionas, 1932 scrapped at Port Glasgow. 3,823
Thurland Castle (2) 1901 built by Bartram & Sons Ltd., Sunderland | 1913 sold to Becchi & Calcagno, Savona, Italy renamed Fede, 1935 scrapped at La Spezia. 3,819
Thurland Castle (3) 1914 built by Irvine's Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. Ltd., West Hartlepool | ex- Corinthic, 1916 purchased from W.H. Cockerline renamed Thurland Castle, 1923 sold to H.W. Dillon & Sons renamed Hemisphere, 1926 sold to Kohun Kisen, Japan renamed Kohki Maru, 1930 sold to Ishihara GK renamed Nanshin Maru, 31 March 1943 wrecked. 4,736
Thurland Castle (4) 1929 built by Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 1943 sold to Elder Dempster & Co. not renamed, 1946 renamed Fulani, 1958 scrapped at Odense. 6,372
Thurland Castle (5) 1951 built by Blyth Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co. Ltd, Blyth | laid down as Thurland Castle for Moller & Co. but completed as Cuzco for Pacific Steam Navigation Co., Liverpool, 1965 sold to the Ben Line renamed Benattow, 1977 scrapped at Kaohsiung. 8,038
Wray Castle (2) 1904 built by Wm Pickersgill & Sons, Sunderland | 1915 sold to Sale & Co. not renamed, 1915 sold to Houlder Middleton renamed Wisley, 1925 sold to Canada SS Lines renamed Welland County, 1925 sold to Essex Steam Ship Co. renamed Essex Isles, 13 January 1927 burned and sunk at Tampico. 4,399
Wray Castle (3) 1919 built by Rickmers Werft, Geestemunde | launched as Rickmer Rickmers , 1919 ceded to Great Britain and completed as Paria, 1920 purchased from British Government renamed Kendal Castle, 1932 sold to A. Lauro, Naples, Italy renamed Olimpia, 1943 seized by the Germans, 16 March 1943 sunk by British warships off Lissa, in Bocche di Cattaro. 6,025
Wray Castle (4) 1938 built by Wm Hamilton & Co. Ltd, Port Glasgow | 03 May 1941 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine with the loss of 1 life. 4,253
Wulsty Castle 1918 built by J. Blumer & Co., Sunderland | 1921 laid up, 1925 re-engined, 1929 laid up, 1936 sold to Rethymnis Kulukundis renamed Craggan Hill, 1938 sold to Cie. France Navigation renamed Bonifacio, 1939 sold to Compagnie Generale Transatlantique not renamed, 1942 seized by the Germans and passed to Italy renamed Campobasso, 1943 shelled and sunk by HMS Nubian east of Keliba Island. 3,566

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