Andrew Weir Trading

Alistair Macnab
10th June 2009, 17:13
Several references have been made in other threads mentioning Weir's trading activities and when I joined the company, it was officially called Andrew Weir Shipping AND TRADING Company.

We all recall the phosphate business from Nauru, Ocean Island and Makatea. Weir's had a "special relationship" with the British Phosphate Commissioners to trade phosphate worldwide and even managed the BPC-owned ships at one period. This lead but not directly to Weir's interest in Florida(US) phosphate through Loncala Phosphate Company that lasted into the 1980s.

Then there was the Iraq Dates Concession. Weir's had a marketing agreement with Iraq date growers to distribute their dates in Europe. They also had a string of shops in Iraq as well as an airline: Bank Line Airways that ran from Basra to Kirkuk. This came to an end during one of Iraq's revolutions in the early 1950s. Roger Loads, whose father was in charge of the Bank Line compound at the Shat (and later became Superintendent in Glasgow) knows much more of this venture. Some of you will know Roger or his brother Brian - both Bank Line men.

The River Plate grain trade was also a Bank Line speciality. Chadwick Weir's (our B.A. agents and also our official broker on the Baltic) were close to Bunge, the well-known grain traders which could get us a grain cargo from the Plate any time we wanted it.

Finally, just for this entry, Lord Inverforth bought Lord Leverhume's house in Hampstead in London which indicated a relationship with Lever Brothers and coconut oil (the copra trade) and Lord Inverforth was Lord Pirie's estate executor which indicated a closeness with Harland and Wolff (shipbuilding)!

Not for nothing was Weir's Bury Street office next door to the Baltic Exchange. They even had a connecting door from "21" to the exchange trading floor.

How many other stories can be attached to this site? Contributions welcome, even if apochriphal! Weir's oil ventures in Lake Maracaibo in Mexico, Ireland and the UK. and Lord Inverforth's interest in Marconi, the BBC-TV, Cable & Wireless and RKO Radio movies have been quite well documented but any personal insights will be welcomed.

The first Andrew Weir was undoubtedly "a lad o' pairts" as we say in Scotland!

pete
10th June 2009, 18:10
Alistair...........Many thanks for that Info. Was there any truth in the rumour that Lord Inverforth had anything to do with Greyhound Buses??? I have, in my files, a photo. of my father surrounded with sharks whilst drifting off Nauru in 1935 or there abouts on "Elmbank". To think about the fact I was doing the same thing in the Mid to Late 60's. Will publish Photo. as soon as I a get a decent Scanner.................pete

jimthehat
10th June 2009, 18:19
Alistar,,,,a very interesting tale.I was second mate on the Ettrickbank ,one of two ships belonging to the "Inver Tradingand transport co.It was said and we on board believed that we got special attention re food and ships stores.JR Lynch was the master ,one of lifes gentlemen.
JIM

MikeK
10th June 2009, 19:50
Nothing to do with ships, but we were led to believe that his (Lord Inverforth) brother was into saving the badgers etc and was great friends with David Attenborough, to the extent of giving him the use of an office at Bury Street

Mike

Duncan112
10th June 2009, 20:40
Nothing to do with ships, but we were led to believe that his (Lord Inverforth) brother was into saving the badgers etc and was great friends with David Attenborough, to the extent of giving him the use of an office at Bury Street

Mike

Maybe it is to do with ships, I was lead to believe that The hon. Vincent Weir commissioned Keith Shackleton to paint the pictures that hung in the Officers' bars on the Fish Class vessels and influenced the choice of names for this class of ship.

Anyone know what happened to the paintings - they were packaged up and returned to London when the ships were sold.

Duncan

Alistair Macnab
10th June 2009, 21:08
I heard the Greyhound Bus Line story too but have seen no confirmation. Anyhow, Greyhound is now owned by Stagecoach of Perth, Scotland. So it ended up in the appropriate direction after all!

The badgers story is probably the otters story and sea otters were a favourite study of the Hon. Vincent Weir, the brother of the third Lord Inverforth (Roy Weir). I believe he is/was friends of David Attenborough.
As far as the "Fish" Class names were concerned, this was conceived by the Hon. Vincent and the six painting by Keith Shackleton commissioned by him.
I don't know where the paintings ended up; they were certainly removed from each ship when sold.

The "Ettrickbank" and her two sisters, "Eskbank" and "Teesbank" were the extent of the Inver Transport and Trading Company's ship holdings. The "Teesbank" was a war loss but the "Laganbank" (Harlands 1955) was assigned to the Inver Company. I sailed on the maiden voyage of the "Laganbank" and transfered to the "Ettrickbank" in Durban in 1956 so actually sailed on two-thirds of the Inver Coimpany's fleet! The company was said to be an investment for the outer reaches of the Weir and Morton family members which would be a source of income for them separate from Bank Line shares. As far as I know, they had no special favours re: food and maintenance etc. but it says a lot for Captain Lynch that you thought your ship was especially endowed. I think there was also a special Inver connection with the Findlays Group in Darjeeling and Ceylon and with Graham's Trading Co. in Calcutta.

Alistair Macnab
13th June 2009, 23:55
Andrew Weir Trading....
I always wondered why Weir's had a marine superintendent in San Francisco in the years leading up to WWII until I came across an article referring to the loss of the Bank Line steam tanker "Desabla" in 1915. She is described as a former " Pacific coastal" tanker and operated by the General Petroleum Company of San Francisco, a company financed by Andrew Weir.
A Captain Gay was superintendent in San Francisco between the wars and it can be surmised that he was involved with Andrew Weir's oil interests in that location in a way similar to Captain Andoe's job description in West Africa where he looked after the Weir oil interests of Venture Weir S.A.
For those of you with long memories, Captain Andoe eventually became marine superintendent in New York in more recent times before Captain Bob Broadley and Captain Hamish Macnab.

ken dag
14th June 2009, 20:04
Andrew Weir Trading....
I always wondered why Weir's had a marine superintendent in San Francisco in the years leading up to WWII until I came across an article referring to the loss of the Bank Line steam tanker "Desabla" in 1915. She is described as a former " Pacific coastal" tanker and operated by the General Petroleum Company of San Francisco, a company financed by Andrew Weir.
A Captain Gay was superintendent in San Francisco between the wars and it can be surmised that he was involved with Andrew Weir's oil interests in that location in a way similar to Captain Andoe's job description in West Africa where he looked after the Weir oil interests of Venture Weir S.A.
For those of you with long memories, Captain Andoe eventually became marine superintendent in New York in more recent times before Captain Bob Broadley and Captain Hamish Macnab.

I believe that the "Desabla" and sister ship "Barneson" were built in 1913 in the UK when Andrew Weir was trying to control Union Oil Co. of California but with outbreak of WWI this was shelved and British Union Oil Co was formed instead. I have no clues as to origins of names however "Desabla" was torpedoed in 1915 near May Island, near Firth of Forth.

NicGilbertson
20th August 2009, 04:35
I don't know exactly what interest Bankline had in Greyhound, but when I was on leave while an apprentice, Bank Line phoned me up offering to fly me out 1 month early to New York, with a 30 day unlimited Greyhound Pass for a holiday before joining the Meadowbank in Houston. I was told at 21 Bury St that Greyhound was part of Andrew Wier. I travelled all over the eastern and southern states, taking overnight buses to avoid hotel bills. The Meadowbank turned up 11 days late and I ended up running out of money, staying at the seamans mission and queuing up for work with the Mexican illegal immigrants each morning. I was also given a strange task which involved going to a little office in an out of the way place in New York, getting some "charts", sending them home to my Mum, who the forwarded them on to one of the Lords at Bank Line. Good times, strange goings-ons.

Alistair Macnab
28th August 2009, 16:16
I have done a spot of investigating on the topic of the Weir interest in U.S. Greyhound Bus Lines and have not come up with any business connection or investment clues. BUT, Lord and Lady Inverforth (the original Andrew Weir and his wife) were good friends of the Laidlaw family (Scottish, don't you know!) owners of the Greyhound Group in the USA and Canada. One time when the Inverforths were staying at the Laidlaws in New York, Lady Inverforth's jewels were stolen from the Laidlaw house. Now that's not anything to hang your hat on, but it does show a friendship, so maybe that's the connection: Bank Line were instructed to always do favours for a friendly association?
Informatively, The Laidlaw Company have just (2008) sold their bus group to First Group which will introduce Greyhound into the UK for long distance bus services in competition with Stagecoach (also Scottish!) Let the Battle of the Busses Begin!