Brocklebank Line.

28th April 2006, 08:01
Hi shipmates,
I was going through one of my books today and there was reference to the Cunard takeover of Brocklebanks during and just after.WW1,
The Company is referred to as --'Thos. & Jno. Brocllebank Ltd'.
What is the reason for this post is that.."Thos." I can understand is short for 'Thomas', but "Jno"!!! excuse me!!. I can't even get my tongue around that.!!
Anybody out there with a better command of the language, please help.
What does this word mean..?
Many thanks,
David D.

28th April 2006, 13:52
John I think.


28th April 2006, 14:10
Yes, it was John.


28th April 2006, 19:59
I always thought it was Jonathan


28th April 2006, 20:02
It was John

Tony Crompton
28th April 2006, 21:31
According to Volume 1 of the Brocklebank History the original partners were Thomas Brocklebank 1774-1845 and John Brocklebank 1779-1831. Apparentlyneither had any children, but their sister Anne (Fisher by Marriage) had a son,
Thomas Fisher who changed his name to Brocklebank in 1885.

He went on to have four children, two of whom were Thomas 1848 and John 1850
Tony C

Tony Crompton
28th April 2006, 21:33
Thomas Fisher who changed his name to Brocklebank in 1885.

Sorry, that should read 1845 before his sons were born.
Tony C

28th April 2006, 21:49
John, and I believe that it was a later Sir John Brocklebank that was CEO of Cunard.

29th April 2006, 03:39
Thanks guys, but I am still none the wiser!!
How can "JNO" be an abbreviation for 'JOHN'?? or stranger still for "JON"(athan)!!
Maybe it was a 19th century typo.
Regards..this is not over yet!!!!
David D.

29th April 2006, 15:59
Find below a potted history of Brock's, think this means it was John


Brocklebank is one of the oldest firms in the world of merchant shipping, dating back to 1801 when the two sons of the founder of the business took control following their father's death. The founder was Captain Daniel Brocklebank, a master mariner and shipbuilder, whose shipbuilding enterprise was first established at Sheepscutt (near Portland, Maine, North America) in 1770. Brocklebank was a Loyalist and when the Revolution took place in 1775 he sailed back to Whitehaven in his own ship, Castor. The Letter of Marque for the Castor, dated 1779, is the earliest document in the collection.

Captain Daniel Brocklebank restarted his shipbuilding business at Whitehaven in 1785 and the plans and specifications of his yard's products from 1792 are one of the most important sources for 18th and early 19th century merchant ships. By 1795 his fleet consisted of eleven vessels totalling 1,750 tons.

[U]In 1801 Daniel Brocklebank died and the firm became Thomas and John Brocklebank, later shortened to Thos. and Jno. Brocklebank. The firm suffered somewhat in the Napoleonic Wars but by 1809 it was sending ships as far as South America. By 1816 the fleet totalled seventeen ships.

In 1815 the new ship Princess Charlotte's maiden voyage to Calcutta was a successful venture following the end of the East India Company's monopoly. Her return freight was estimated to realise more than 10,000 in profits for her owners and other merchants. This trade was eventually to eclipse Brocklebank's South American and China trades.

In 1819 Thomas Brocklebank moved to Liverpool and an office was opened there in 1822. His brother John remained in Whitehaven to run the Bransty shipyard and the ropery. In 1829 Brocklebanks began trading to China but on an irregular basis.

In 1831 John Brocklebank was killed by a fall from his horse, while trying to avoid a small child who ran into his path. Daniel Bird became manager of the Whitehaven shipyard. In the same year Thomas Fisher Brocklebank moved to Liverpool to assist his uncle, Thomas Brocklebank, in the family business. In 1843 Thomas would make his nephew, Thomas and cousin, Ralph (later to become Chairman of the Mersey Docks & Harbour Board), partners in the firm. Thomas (Jnr.) was politically and socially active and became a Baronet in 1885.

By 1844 the fleet had reached its highest number, comprising fifty vessels. The Whitehaven shipyard was closed in 1865 and larger iron and later steel sailing ships were bought mainly from Harland & Wolff, Belfast. Their first steamer, Ameer, was not purchased until 1889.

In 1911 Brocklebanks ceased to be a family business. A substantial shareholding was sold to Sir Percy, Frederic and Denis Bates (grandsons of Sir Edward Bates) who had built up an Indian trading firm and were major Cunard shareholders. In the same year Cunard acquired the Anchor Line, which retained its independence and in turn gained a controlling interest in Brocklebanks in 1912. The Bates brothers, Sir Alfred Booth and Sir Thomas Royden, strengthened the business under the chairmanship of Sir Aubrey Brocklebank. In 1916 the Well Line was acquired and in 1919 Cunard bought out the Brocklebank and Bates shares and the final one-fifth shareholding held by Anchor Line was acquired in 1940.

The firm experimented with motor ships including, for a short time, the first all-welded vessel, the coaster Fullagar of 1920. The shipping depression of the 1930s saw a reduction in the size of four of its ships in 1935 - a unique operation at the time.

Sixteen out of twenty-six ships were lost in the Second World War including the Malakand, which blew up with an ammunition cargo in Liverpool in 1941. The fleet was rebuilt and services extended because of the decline of business at Calcutta after Indian Independence in 1948. In 1964 they bought H.E. Moss & Co., tanker owners, and in 1967 Cunard reorganised its business. Cunard Line became responsible for the passenger business and a new Cunard Brocklebank company took on all cargo services.

However, the 1970s witnessed further deterioration for the financial situation of the company. The last two Brocklebank liveried ships were sold in 1983.

The Brocklebank collection is varied and includes not only shipping business but also family papers and research notes on the history compiled by J.S. Rees which were used by J.F. Gibson for the company history. There are also excellent photographs and, under the care of the Merseyside Maritime Museum, Maritime History Department, paintings (especially extensive for the sailing ships 1815-1891) and models (1854-1946) which make the collection one of the most outstanding and of national importance.

Harry Nicholson
29th April 2006, 20:56
Thanks for that history Derek. Is that from a particular publication?
I joined Brocks in 57 and was told that the company was once the "Brocklebank and Well Line" and that the company's Red Sea ports were inherited from Well Line.
On the matter of Jno, it is short for John, as a genealogist I see the abbreviation commonly in the 19th C. and a bit earlier.

michael james
30th April 2006, 09:52
Brocklebanks Well Line

Harry, I too joined the company in `57, first ship ss "Mathura" (1920 version) every bit of cutlery, napkin rings, glasses etc was engraved "Thos. & Jno. Brocklebank & Well Line". I still have a tea spoon engraved thus, acquired from a friend (also ex Mathura who shall remain nameless) just before she was sold.

Regarding the acquisition of Red Sea ports from Well Line, in early cargo advertisements for Brocklebanks` Well Line there is no evidence of the interim ports, the likes of Port Sudan, Aquaba, Jeddah, Massawa, Djibouti being mentioned. But all state that cargo can be taken for Port Said and Aden en route to Ceylon and India.

As a post script to the above:A single "Thos & Jno Brocklebank Line" uniform button, in not prestine condition, was just sold on e.Bay for 2.80 plus pp,
maybe our old uniforms are worth more than we thought !!LOL

roy quirk
4th June 2006, 12:20
nobody seems to mention about Brocklebanks being the only company to fly the houseflag from the foremast. As an engineer on the Markhor (1958)this seemed to be a great source of pride of the "mates" and I was told it was because the company was the oldest in the U.K.(or perhaps the world).

Tony Crompton
12th September 2006, 18:18
nobody seems to mention about Brocklebanks being the only company to fly the houseflag from the foremast. As an engineer on the Markhor (1958)this seemed to be a great source of pride of the "mates" and I was told it was because the company was the oldest in the U.K.(or perhaps the world).

I always believed this to be the case but in a recent discussion about it I was proved wrong. It was actually a recognition signal for Brocklebank ships approaching Liverpool. In 1815 Thomas Brocklebank ordered his ships to
fly the flag on the foremast so that his ships were easily recognised from the shore,and they just kept on doing so. (History of Brocklebanks vol 1 )
Tony C

john g
13th September 2006, 13:15
Was the flag on the foremast not a sign they were allowed to operate as privateers in their very early years ........I'm sure I've read that somewhere...

Tony Crompton
14th September 2006, 13:45
Privateers or ships issued with a "Letter of Marque" which enabled them to stop an enemy ship flew a Pennant at the main mast. On two masted ships this only left the foremast to fly the houseflag. After the war with France ended there was no need to fly the pennant so other companies reverted to flying the houseflag on the mainmast. Brocklbanks continued to use the foremast as the recognition signal previously mentioned.
Tony C

Peter (Pat) Baker
16th September 2006, 13:33
Does anybody know of associations for Palm Line and T&J Harrisons of Liverpool?.
Peter Baker.