House flag, Rowland & Marwoods Steam Ship Co.

The house flag of Rowland & Marwoods Steam Ship Co., Whitby. A square white flag with a blue border bearing a red cross in the centre. The flag is made of wool bunting with a linen hoist and is machine sewn. A rope and toggle is attached. The design dates from before 1934 when the company were asked to alter their colours by the War Office and changed them to a blue cross with a red border.

Rowland and Marwood was created in 1890 by six steamship owners, each ship owned by shareholders, to form a larger and mutually beneficial concern. Rowland died in 1899, and Marwood in 1914, and from 1914 W. A. Headlam and his family became the driving force of the company. The tramp fleet carried mainly coal out, and then grain, timber, and many other cargoes back to the UK or European ports. They traded worldwide to ports in Australia, South America, Cuba, Canada and elsewhere on the globe. The company lost six ships in the First World War, but acquired 13 new ones in the period 1922 to 1940.

The depression in the 1930s caused great difficulties, but with government subsidies in both 1935 and 1936 the company managed to keep going. After the First World War the ships were always named after local Yorkshire villages. During the first two years of the Second World War the Battle of the Atlantic took almost all of the company's fleet. The company continued trading in the post-war period, but, despite new vessels of larger size being bought in 1956 and 1962, the 'Runswick' and the 'Egton', the world economic climate proved unfavourable to small-scale cargo enterprises and in 1985 the company went into voluntary liquidation.

Object Details

ID: AAA0435
Collection: Textiles; Flags
Type: House flag
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Unknown
Date made: Before 1934
People: Rowland and Marwoods Steam Ship Co Ltd
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. We regret that Museum enquiries have not been able to identify the 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: 1752.6 x 1955.8 mm

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