House flag, Shaw Savill and Albion Co. Ltd

The house flag of Shaw Savill and Albion Co. Ltd, London.

A rectangular white flag with a red cross. In the canton, there is a red cross on a blue background with a six-pointed white star in each quarter. The flag is made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. It has a cotton hoist and is machine sewn. A rope and clip is attached. The design is similar to the national flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand used from 1834 to 1840.

Robert Shaw and Walter Savill set up office in London in 1858 as Shaw Savill & Company to participate in the New Zealand trade, primarily as cargo brokers. However within a year they were carrying their first passengers and became known as 'The Passengers' Line of Packets'. The discovery of gold in New Zealand in the 1850s led to an increase in passenger numbers. In 1862 the company sent forty-five sailing ships, and in 1863 sixty nine. In 1873, the 'Mongol', an iron screw steamer owned by the company, made the first commercial voyage by a full powered steamer from London to Otago, in only 58 days (sailing took from 74 - 100 days).

Shaw and Savill had been in competition with Albion of Glasgow since they set up business, and the two companies had a virtual monopoly on the New Zealand trade. With the creation of the competitive NZ Shipping Company, and the incentive of a subsidy from the colonial government for a direct steam service connecting New Zealand to Britain, the two companies merged to form Shaw Savill and Albion in 1883. In 1884 the White Star line joined forces with SS&A to run a combined service. White Star ships wore both house flags. By the time the Panama Canal was fully operational in 1918, passage time had dropped to 30 days. By 1908 all SS&A sailing ships had been disposed of. SS&A joined the Australia trade from 1905 when they acquired the Aberdeen Line, and in 1934 purchased White Star interests in the Australia line.

In the World War II, over half the fleet was sunk. New ships were built with the post war compensation so that by 1967 the fleet was at it's largest in the company's history. However, by the 1970s the world economic climate was changing and the company fortune's waned. The last ship was sold in 1986. The company was eventually taken over by Hamburg Sud, and the UK holding company name is Shaw Savill Holdings Ltd.

Object Details

ID: AAA0359
Collection: Textiles; Flags
Type: House flag
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Unknown
Date made: circa 1951
People: Shaw Savill & Albion Company Limited; Pope, Charles Meredyth
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: 1143 x 1778 mm

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