House flag, Charente Steamship Co. Ltd

House flag of the Charente Steamship Co. Ltd, Liverpool (Thos. & Jas. Harrison). A white rectangular flag with a red Maltese cross placed across it. The flag is made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. It has a cotton hoist and is machine sewn. A rope and toggle is attached.

The company founder Thomas Harrison began work as an employee of a Liverpool company of shipping agents, in 1839 becoming a full partner in the firm, which became known as George Brown and Harrison. Thomas's brother James joined the partnership in 1849. The company's main trade was the import of brandy and wines from the Charente area around Cognac. In 1853 after the death of George Brown the Harrisons took over the business then called Thos. & Jas. Harrison. From 1857 they began to name their vessels after trades and professions.

The company decided to ship spirits directly to London in 1861, this involved them in a price war with the GSNC who reacted to the competition by undercutting Harrison's rates and sending ships to northern ports. This competition was removed by mutual arrangement in 1863. In the same year, Harrison's started scheduled services to India. During the American Civil War the company started a route to New Orleans carrying mostly cement on the outward run and returning with cotton. The Charente Steamship Company was founded in 1871 still with the capital in family hands and with Thos. & Jas. Harrison as managers.

John T. Rennie, Son & Co.'s Aberdeen Direct Line was purchased in 1911. Their fleet continued to sail to South Africa as the Harrison-Rennie Line, retaining vessel names beginning 'In' - a tradition retained for Harrison's passenger vessels. The early 20th century saw the loss of 27 ships during the World War I and three very bad trading years during 1930-33.

In the 1970's Harrison's diversified into bulk cargos and container ships. The company was acquired by P&O Nedlloyd in 2000.

Object Details

ID: AAA0249
Collection: Textiles; Flags
Type: House flag
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Unknown
Date made: 1955-1967; 1955-67
People: Thos. & Jas. Harrison; Pope, Charles Meredyth Charente Steamship Co Ltd
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Pope Collection. We regret that Museum enquiries have not been able to identify the copyright owner of the flag's emblem and would welcome any information that would help us update our records. Please contact the Picture Library.
Measurements: flag: 914.4 x 1244.6 mm

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