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The Fleets

West India & Pacific Steamship Company Ltd., Liverpool

West India & Pacific SS Co. was formed in 1863 by Liverpool merchants Arthur and William Forwood to operate passenger and cargo services to the West Indies in competition with Alfred Holt, who later formed Blue Funnel Line. Arthur and William were the sons of Thomas B. Forwood , a partner in the company Leech, Harrison & Forwood. It was on the retirement of Thomas B. Forwood that control of the company passed to his two sons and it was the brothers who then founded the Liverpool, West India & Pacific Steamship Co. in 1862. The Liverpool part was dropped the following year with the formation of West India & Pacific SS Co. Ltd.
The company was now in competition with, not only Royal Mail Steam Packet Co., but also Alfred Holt and the Liverpool, Western & Spanish American Steam Packet Co. owned by Imrie, Tomlinson & Co. & Alexander Duranty & Co. of Liverpool. This latter company was formed in 1863. Within weeks, the company had taken over the Liverpool, Western & Spanish American Steam Packet Co. and also, soon after, in January 1864, the West Indies fleet of Alfred Holt who had decided to concentrate efforts on the Far East trades.
The board of the West India & Pacific SS Co. Ltd consisted of many well known Liverpool shipping names of the time – James Anderson, Arthur B. Forwood, Thomas M. Blythe, P.N. Bernard, Francis A. Clint, John Fleming, Thomas Harrison (the T in T&J Harrison) George Kendall, George B. Kerford, Frederic Lyon, John Ravenscroft, Joshua Radcliffe and Samuel Kitt. Leech, Harrison & Forwood were appointed managers of the concern with Arthur B. Forwood as managing director.
Services were operated to Belize, Tampico, Santa Marta and Trinidad, Colon, Barbados and Demerara returning to Liverpool via Kingston, Jamaica and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. In 1865, a Royal Mail contract was awarded to carry mails to Honduras and Mexico.
In 1893, John Reeves Ellerman joined a consortium formed to take over the shipping business of the late Frederick Leyland and he, in due time, became Chairman of that company. During 1899, he opened negotiations with West India & Pacific SS Co. with view to a merger with Frederick Leyland & Co. The merger went ahead and in 1900 a new company, Frederick Leyland & Co. (1900) Ltd was formed to run the combined fleets and West India & Pacific SS Co.'s 19 remaining ships were transferred to the new concern. During their 36 years of independent operation, the company owned 58 ships.

Many thanks to Ted Finch, Bill Laxton and Ted Nutt for their 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:
    • 1864 - 1899 Liverpool - Barbados - Colombia - Curacao - Colon.
    • 1866 - 1882 Liverpool - St. Thomas - Colombia - Colon.
    • 1866 - 1882 Liverpool - Haiti - Jamaica - Mexico - Colon.
    • 1881 - 1899 Liverpool - West Indies - Colon - Mexico - New Orleans.
    • 1864 -          Inter island service St. Thomas - La Guaira - Puerto Cabello - Curacao.

 

Fleet:
Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
American (1) 1865 1892 scrapped. 1,839
American (2) 1895 1900 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1904 sold to White Star Line renamed Cufic, 1924 sold Italy renamed Antartico, 1927 renamed Maria Giulia, 1932 scrapped. 8,196
Andean 1872 1893 scrapped at Garston. 2,147
Antillean 1898 1900 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1930 scrapped. 5,608
Askalon 1857 1864 purchased from Alfred Holt, 1865 abandoned and sank in North Atlantic on voyage Liverpool to Port-au-Prince. 875
Atlantian 1899 1900 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1918 torpedoed and sunk by U.86 off Ireland. 9,355
Australian 1867 1893 scrapped at Amsterdam. 2,492
Barbadian (1) 1856 built as Boeotia for J. Dudgeon, London, 1858 sold to Papayanni Line, 1859 sold to Bibby & Co., Liverpool, 1863 purchased by W.I. & P SS Co. renamed Barbadian, 1865 wrecked off Wexford, Ireland. 951
Barbadian (2) 1893 1900 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1913 sold Italy renamed Tirreno, 1919 renamed Alessandro A. 1924 scrapped. 4,502
Bernard Hall 1880 1900 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1903 scrapped at Rotterdam. 2,678
Bolivar 1863 1865 purchased from Liverpool, Western & Spanish American S.P. Co., 1882 wrecked Barbados. 1,180
Californian 1865 1891 wrecked Aruba. 1,832
Caribbean 1865 1,853 tons, 1892 scrapped. 1,853
Charlotte 1872 inter island service, 1886 sold to Haiti. 114
Chilian (1) 1864 1870 wrecked in River Mersey, salvaged and repaired, 1871 sold to Serra y Font, Barcelona renamed Jorge, 1874 went missing on voyage Havana to the Clyde. 1,341
Chilian (2) 1865 1865 sold to National Line renamed Denmark, 1895 scrapped at Livorno. 2,870
Chilian (3) 1871 ex- Rydal Hall, 1874 purchased from Robert Alexander, Liverpool renamed Chilian, 1886 sold to Carlisle & Co., Belfast, 1889 sold Macbeth & Gray, Glasgow, 1894 abandoned in North Atlantic. 2,154
Colombian (1) 1864 1865 wrecked off Ushant on maiden voyage from Liverpool for St. Thomas ; loss of 31 lives. 1,057
Colombian (2) 1866 1867 driven ashore in hurricane at St. Thomas, 1873 salvaged, repaired and sold to N.V. Stoomvaart Maats Java, Amsterdam renamed Celebes, 1882 renamed Soenda, 1887 sold to N.V. stoom Maats Nederland, Amsterdam, 1900 scrapped. 1,991
Columbian (3) 1898 1901 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1903 renamed Asian, 1924 wrecked Kinsale. 5,614
Connecticut 1849 wooden ship, 1862 first entered in British Register at Singapore. 1864 noted as owned by Globe Navigation Co., Liverpool. 1871 sold. In 1877 Register as owned by W.I. & P. SS Co., but no longer in the Register in 1880.  
Costa Rican 1885 1900 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1904 stranded Jamaica, subsequently refloated and scrapped. 3,251
Cristobal Colon 1854 built for South American & General S.N. Co. as Bahaiana, 1863 sold to Liverpool, Western & Spanish American S.P. Co., Liverpool renamed Cristobal Colon, 1865 purchased by W.I. & P. SS Co., 1867 sold to Soc. Generale de Transports Maritimes a Vapeur, Marseilles renamed Savoie, 1891 sold Italy renamed Savoia, 1892 scrapped. 1,598
Crusader 1857 1864 purchased from Alfred Holt, 1871 wrecked near Cartagena. 901
Cuban (1) 1865 1872 sank at Barbados, refloated and repaired, 1891 sold Portugal renamed Africano, 1895 transferred to Brazil, 1896 scrapped. 1,334
Cuban (2) 1891 1900 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1913 sold Italy renamed Generale Salsa, 1918 wrecked Laguna. 4,302
Darien (1) 1863 1865 purchased from A.B. Forwood, 1871 sold to James Mansergh, Liverpool, 1879 sold to E. F. Cohen, Liverpool, 1880 sold to Legust & Co., Toulon, 1881 sold to L. Nicholas, Paris, 1885 wrecked in Reposto Roads. 1,182
Darien (2) 1888 1900 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1907 wrecked at Barranquilla. 3,362
European (1) 1865 1866 exploded and sank at Colon. 1,685
European (2) 1896 1900 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1904 sold to White Star Line renamed Tropic, 1923 sold Italy renamed Artico, 1927 renamed Transilvania, 1933 scrapped. 8,194
Floridian 1884 1900 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1908 scrapped. 3,257
Granadian 1863 1866 abandoned and sank off Island of Pico. 1,718
Haitien 1872 ex- St. Ninian, 1873 purchased from Wigtonshire & Cumberland Steamboat Co., Withorn renamed Haitien, 1874 sold to Government of Haiti. 263
Hayti 1854 built for Bibby Sons & Co., Liverpool as Euphrates, 1863 sold to Liverpool, Western & Spanish American S.P. Co., renamed Hayti, 1864 purchased by W.I. & P SS Co., 1868 sold to Bailey & Leetham, Hull, 1870 renamed Bengo, 1888 sold to G. Coudert & Fils, Bordeaux renamed Gedeon Coudert, 1897 scrapped at Antwerp. 1,122
Haytian 1875 1894 sold to Royal Navy and hulked at Portland, 1941 sunk by German air attack. 2,336
Indian 1900 ordered by W.I. & P SS Co., completed for Frederick Leyland & Co., 1923 scrapped. 9,121
Jamaican (1) 1871 1892 scrapped at Hartlepool. 2,010
Jamaican (2) 1893 1900 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1914 scrapped. 4,502
Kingstonian 1901 ordered by W.I. & P SS Co., completed for Frederick Leyland & Co.,1918 torpedoed in Mediterranean. 6,564
Louisianian 1891 1900 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1913 sold Italy renamed Vittorio, 1923 renamed Congo, 1924 scrapped. 3,643
Mexican (1) 1863 1877 went missing at sea on voyage Port Royal to Liverpool. 1,315
Mexican (2) 1891 1900 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1913 sold Italy renamed Messicano, 1916 torpedoed and sunk by UB.39 in English Channel. 4,202
Montezuma 1853 completed as La Montesa, owner not known. 1858 rebuilt by Smith & Rodger, Glasgow. 1859 sold to R.M. Sloman, Hamburg ; sold to G. Gessler, Santander ; 1863 sold to H.J. Perlbach, Hamburg, name unchanged. April 1863 reacquired by R.M. Sloman, renamed Asteroid. September 1863 sold to Liverpool, Western & Spanish American Steam Packet Co., renamed Montezuma. Puchased January 1864 by W.I. & P SS Co. but swiftly resold to Malcolmson Bros., Waterford, same name, 1869 resold to Quesnel & Co., Le Havre. 9th January 1875 wrecked off Inagua, Bahamas whilst on passage from Haiti for Le Havre. 837
Nicaraguan 1891 1900 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1907 went missing on voyage Norfolk, Va. to Dublin. 3,643
Plantagenet 1857 1864 purchased from Alfred Holt, 14th September 1869 wrecked near Brest. 695
Robert Todd 1864 inter island service, 1867 wrecked in hurricane at St. Thomas. 314
Saladin 1856 1864 purchased from Alfred Holt, 1865 sold to Lamport & Holt Line. 1872 sold to J. Martin & Co. Liverpool, same name. 1882 scrapped. 510
Sir William Peel 1855 1864 purchased from Liverpool, Western & Spanish American S.P. Co., 1865 sold to E. Bates, Liverpool, 1866 sold to S. B. Guion, Liverpool renamed Crescent City, 1868 converted to sail, 1869 abandoned at sea. 1,855
St. Thomas 1863 1865 purchased from Liverpool, Western & Spanish American S.P. Co., 1873 transferred to Atlas SS Co., Liverpool renamed Etna, 1883 sold, 1897 scrapped. 1,246
Talisman 1857 1864 purchased from Alfred Holt, 1875 sold to Lamport & Holt Line, 1873 sank off Portugal. 738
Tampican 1889 ex- Runic, 1895 purchased from Oceanic S.N. Co. (White Star Line) renamed Tampican, 1900 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1912 sold to H.E. Moss & Co., Liverpool, 1912 sold to South Pacific Whaling Co., Norway renamed Imo, 1920 sold to Chr. Christensen, Sandefjord renamed Guvernoren, 1921 wrecked Falkland Islands. 4,833
Texan 1884 1900 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1909 scrapped. 3,257
Venezuelan (1) 1859 built as Normanby for West Hartlepool S.N. Co., 1863 sold to A.N.W. Ludders, Germany renamed Venezuelan, 1864 purchased by W. I. & P. SS Co., 1864 chartered back to West Hartlepool S.N..Co. renamed Sea Queen, 1866 sold back to West Hartlepool S.N. Co., 1869 sold to Seymour & Co., Liverpool, 1870 wrecked on Scroby Sands with loss of all hands, on passage from the Tyne for Malaga. 457
Venezuelan (2) 1865 1891 sold Turkey renamed Sahadet, 1911 sunk as blockship at Yenikale. 1,682
West Indian (1) 1865 1890 sold to J. H. Bowman, Liverpool, 1892 wrecked Acajutla. 1,805
West Indian (2) 1891 1899 sold to Red Cross Line, Liverpool renamed Cearense, 1901 sold to Booth Line, Liverpool, 1911 sold W. H. A. Walker, Liverpool, 1913 wrecked Hudson Bay. 2,704
William Cliff 1888 1900 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1914 sold to Chile and used as hulk, 1917 resumed trading renamed Aviles, 1918 sold Spain, 1923 scrapped. 3,352
Yucatan 1882 1900 transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co., 1912 scrapped. 2,816

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