This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

British shipping companies (H)

Last modified: 2021-05-29 by rob raeside
Keywords: shipping lines |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors

See also:

Hadjilias & Co.

[Hadjilias & Co. houseflag] by Jarig Bakker

From Scott, R.M., The Caltex book of Flags and Funnels, Cape Town, Caltex Africa Ltd. (1959).

Hadjilias & Co., London - red swallowtail, white disk, blue "R".
Jarig Bakker, 2 January 2005

[Hadjilias & Co. houseflag] by Jarig Bakker

However, Brown's Flags and Funnels (1951) [Wedge (1951)] shows for the same firm a completely different flag: blue flag with a coat of arms (argent bend azure bordered red) in the center.
Jarig Bakker, 2 January 2005

Hadley Shipping Co. Ltd.

[Ben Line houseflag] by Jarig Bakker, based on the website of the National Maritime Museum.

From the website of the National Maritime Museum, "the house flag of the Hadley Shipping Co. Ltd, London. A yellow rectangular flag with a white diamond bearing the black letters 'HSC'. The flag is made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. It has a cotton hoist and is machine sewn. A rope and two Inglefield clips is attached.

The company was incorporated in 1926 to buy and charter one of the tankers built for the Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co. during the First World War and continued to trade as tramp tanker owners. In the 1930s it entered the coastal tanker trade and also began shipping bananas. After the Second World War the company owned tankers and then bulk carriers. It continues in business and is still under the control of the Warwick family."
Jarig Bakker, 14 August 2004

Hain Nourse Management Ltd.

[Hain Nourse Management houseflag] by Jarig Bakker, based on the website of the National Maritime Museum.

From the website of the National Maritime Museum, "the house flag of Hain Nourse Management Ltd., London. A rectangular blue flag with a white rectangle in the centre, bearing the conjoined letters 'HN' in red. 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."
Jarig Bakker, 13 August 2004

Hain Steamship Co. Ltd.

[Hain Steamship Co. Ltd. houseflag] by Phil Nelson, 10 April 2000

from Stewart and Styring's Flags, Funnels and Hull Colors 1963

Hain new houseflag: red with in the center a standing black rectangular block, charged with white "H". Source: All about Ships & Shipping, 1959; Lloyd's Calendar 1959.
Jarig Bakker, 17 October 2003

[Hain Steamship Co. Ltd. houseflag] by Jarig Bakker

Hain old houseflag: white H on red field; source: All about Ships & Shipping, 1936
Jarig Bakker, 17 October 2003

Founded 1901 in Cardiff although the company had roots back to 1881. Purchased 1917 by P&O. In 1972 the company was merged into P&O's General Cargo Divison. The company ships started with the Cornish title Tre.
Phil Nelson, 18 October 2003

[Hain Steamship Co. Ltd. houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, based on Wedge 1926

Larousse Commercial Illustré (1930) shows Hain Steamship Co. Ltd., Cardiff: red, white letters (without serifs) EH in the middle, the letters' height being about one third of flag's. Compare with version shown above, 'Hain Steamship Co. Ltd' the older version of which (source: 1936) has a single letter 'H', white on red. 'EH' I take to mean Edward Haines, the firm's founder (back then: E. Hain & Co, St Ives, Cornwall, est. 1878). In any case, on this page: the 'EH' flag is shown on a book cover and in the on-line 1912 Lloyd's Flags & Funnels it's on p. 16 under No. 282 as 'Hain Steamship Co. Ltd. (E. Hain & Son), St Ives' but with the letters much bolder than Larousse has them: This particular house flag clearly precedes those above, but then the firm went through a number of changes in the course of the years.
Jan Mertens, 28 May 2004

Hain Steamship Co. Ltd. According to Loughran (1979) the company was founded in 1878 by Edward Hain being originally based St. Ives (I presume the Cornwall one) and presumably they began trading through Cardiff in 1901. The original flag was red with the white letters "EH" and this was used until 1938 when the "E" was dropped and then post WW2 the black panel was added. The fleet commodore used a swallowtailed version of this latter flag according to Loughran with no mention being made of a similar provision through the previous flags. The company head office shifted to London in 1917 when P&O took over and the company itself was merged into Hain-Nourse Ltd. in 1964/5.
Neale Rosanoski, 15 June 2004

Formally incorporated as a public company in 1901, the Hain Steamship Company can trace its roots back to 1816 when the Hain family of St Ives, Cornwall, acquired a part share in the fishing lugger "Dasher". She proved so successful that the family purchased the schooner "Camilla" in 1838 and began trading with Mediterranean ports delivering cargoes of cured fish and returning with Greek and Turkish dried fruit. At the time of the "Camilla"’s purchase, the business of Edward Hain & Son was established. The subsequent acquisition of the "Mystery" schooner in 1850 meant Hain and his grandson (also Edward) could now trade in West Indian sugar and Brazilian coffee.

In December 1851, Edward Hain IV was born, followed shortly after by the death of his great grandfather. Initially, young Edward did not share his predecessors’ enthusiasm for the sea; instead choosing to move away to take up employment first with a bank and then with a London tea merchant. It was the tea trade that alerted Edward to the importance of making the switch from sail to steam and upon his return to St Ives in 1878, he convinced his father, although the elder was initially reluctant to make the transition. Armed with finance provided by Bolitho’s bank (the forerunner of Barclays) the youngest Edward visited the shipyard of John Readhead & Co at South Shields where Hain placed the first of many orders for the company. Readhead’s delivered the first steamer named "Trewidden" in honour of the Bolitho estate outside Penzance. The relationship between Hain and Readhead ultimately produced a total of 87 ships for the company, all with the prefix ‘Tre’ a Cornish word for ‘farmstead’.

In September 1901, the Hain Steamship Company was incorporated as a public company in Cardiff under the direction of Edward Hain III and Edward Hain IV. By 1913, the number of ships in their service reached 36 with another five on order with Readheads. At the outbreak of war, two of Hain’s ships were docked in German ports and were immediately detained while another ship in the Black Sea was requisitioned by Russian forces. By the end of the war, the Hain Steamship Company lost a total of 18 ships to enemy action and three by other causes.

A few months after the death of Sir Edward Hain in 1917 at the age of 65, the Hain Steamship Company was purchased by the P&O Steam Navigation Company. s with a number of other P&O holdings, the Hain Steamship Company continued as a separate entity under the management of the Hain directors and operated with a significant level of autonomy. The 1930s proved a very slow time for Hain and its ships were often laid up in the River Fal. Hain supplemented their income by managing and crewing a number of ships on permanent charter to P&O for their Eastern services. With the advent of World War II, Hain suffered considerably, losing a total of 28 ships including all of those on charter to P&O.

In the early 1960s P&O elected to rationalise the tramp shipping operations of its subsidiaries Hain Steamship Company, James Nourse Ltd and Asiatic Steam Navigation Company Ltd. Hain had always been a tramp operator, but the Nourse and Asiatic companies were new to the business, having lost their traditional liner routes in the post-colonial 1950s. Hain Nourse Management Ltd was established in 1964 to operate and manage the three companies’ ships, and in 1965 Hain Steamship Company was renamed Hain-Nourse Ltd which took over ownership of James Nourse vessels as well. It also took on responsibility for the management of the P&O Group’s bulk carriers, the first of which was delivered in the same year and traded through the Associated Bulk Carriers joint venture. When the P&O Group was reorganised into operating divisions in 1971, the Hain-Nourse bulk carriers were transferred to the Bulk Shipping Division and the remaining tramps to the General Cargo Division. At that time they all ceased to carry Hain-Nourse livery and to fly its flag. Hain-Nourse-owned ships were re-registered under the P&O name in 1972, and the company was ultimately renamed P&O Ferries Ltd in 1978.
P&O Heritage

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of Hain Steamship Co., Ltd. (E. Hain & Son) (#282, p. 50) as red with the white letters "EH".
Ivan Sache, 23 April 2021

Hall Brothers Steam Ship Co., Ltd.

[Hall Brothers Steam Ship Co. houseflag] by Phil Nelson, 10 April 2000

from Stewart and Styring's Flags, Funnels and Hull Colors 1963

Founded in Newcastle in 1864 by the brothers John and James Hall. James was a forward looking shipowner and was the first to set up a Merchant Navy training establishment with the ship Wellesley moored at North Shields. He was also instrumental in instigating load lines in ships. By 1867 the brothers owned 16 sailing ships and 3 steamers. The last sailing ship was sold in 1886 and the company then traded worldwide with steamships. Six ships were lost to enemy action during the Great War and four in WWII. In 1968 the company entered short sea trading with the delivery of 1,400 ton coasters but in 1979 the company went into voluntary liquidation and the short sea traders were sold off.

Mariners L

The same flag is shown (#1631, p. 114) in Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) for Hall Bros. (Hall Bros. Steamship Co. Ltd.), a Newcastle-based company.
Ivan Sache, 3 May 2021

John Hall, Junr. & Co.

[John Hall, Junr. & Co. houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 26 April 2021

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of John Hall, Junr. & Co. (#698, p. 70), a London-based company, as square, red with a white border and a blue cross superimposed.
Ivan Sache, 26 April 2021

Geo. R. Haller, Ltd.

[Geo. R. Haller, Ltd. houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 1 May 2021

The Geo.(rge) R. Haller company was liquidated on 27 October 1925 (as announced in The London Gazette, 18 September 1925).

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of Geo. R. Haller, Ltd. (#1593, p. 112), a Hull-based shipping company, as red, in the center, a white rectangle charged with a blue "H".
Ivan Sache, 1 May 2021

Hall, Russell and Co.

[Hall Brothers Steam Ship Co. houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker, 6 December 2008

Hall Russell and Company shipbuilders house flag. Description: blue field, white saltire, white diamond, red connected "HR". This illustration comes from a 1931 draughtsman sketchbook of flags and funnels produced in the Hall Russell shipyard - so this is the original document.
John Edwards, 26 November 2008

Hall, Letman & Co., Ltd.

[Hall, Letman & Co., Ltd. houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 30 April 2021

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of Hall, Letman & Co., Ltd. (#1329, p. 100), as yellow with a thick red cross patty charged with the white letters "H" (left), "L" (right), "&" (top), and "C°. (bottom).
Ivan Sache, 30 April 2021

Hall Line Ltd.

[Hall Line houseflag] by Jarig Bakker, based on the website of the National Maritime Museum.

From the website of the National Maritime Museum, "the house flag of Hall Line Ltd., Liverpool. A rectangular flag quartered diagonally into white quarters at the top and bottom, blue quarters at the sides and 'HALL LINE' in blue letters on the white quarters. Ellerman Group's blue pennant is hoisted above and bears the white letters 'JRE'. The flag and pennant are made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. They have cotton hoists and are machine sewn. The letters on the items are printed. The pennant and flag are on a single rope with a toggle attached."
Jarig Bakker, 13 August 2004

Robert Alexander of Liverpool was the son of a successful Belfast merchant with shipping interests. The Alexander family had originally owned sailing vessels, some built in North America. One was named ‘Annie Hall’. By 1850 their larger vessels were engaged in taking troops and supplies to the Crimea, while others were plying routes to India, China and the USA until the Civil War brought a halt to the cotton trade. In 1868, Robert Alexander founded the Sun Shipping Company using his new company Robert Alexander and Company as managers. Sun Shipping became a limited liability company in 1874 by which time it operated some forty ships, mostly steamers, of which the Haddon Hall was the first. Routes expanded world wide with outward cargoes of manufactured goods and bunkering coal. Return cargoes comprised cotton, jute and spices from India and grain from Australia. In 1889 the Sun Shipping Company Limited went into liquidation, emerging as the Hall Line, before becoming part of Ellerman Lines Limited in 1901. [...] After 1901 Ellerman’s Hall Line owned or operated upwards of one hundred and fifty vessels retaining its India trade as well as developing South and East African services. All Ellerman shipping companies were merged into one division of the group.

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the same house flag (#1494, p. 108).
Ivan Sache, 1 May 2021

James Hall Line

[James Hall Line houseflag]

Though I don't know the flag's age, there exists an old flag, that is a black-blue-black horizontal tricolour. It is the house flag of James Hall in Sunderland. In Lloyds Houseflags and Funnels (Version 1902) it is flag no.925, depicted on p.81.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 19 August 2008

James Hall (1861-1944)
Sunderland fish salesman who had three of his trawlers sunk by U-boats

At the beginning of the war Sunderland had a small fleet of nine steam trawlers. Five were owned by two small companies: The Wear Steam Fishing Company Limited and the Vedra Steaming Fishing Company Limited. Three Sunderland businessmen were the principle shareholders: W. S. Dawson of Dawson and Usher, rope makers; Paul Wayman, a coal merchant; and James Hall, a fish salesman. Hall owned the other four trawlers and a motor fishing boat.
Determined and ambitious, Hall was the driving force behind this fleet of modern steam trawlers, which replaced the old paddle trawlers that had supplied Sunderland with most of its fish until the late 1890s. Born in South Shields in 1861, the son of a grocer, Hall’s early working life was spent as a clerk. He came to Sunderland in 1887 and married Eleanor Lindsay, the daughter of Robert Lindsay, a pilot and fish salesman. He began trading on the fish jetty at Sunderland as a fish salesman in 1887, in partnership with his father-in-law. By 1892 Hall was the owner of the ageing paddle trawler "Cambria" which he sold five years later.

Hall believed that modern steam fishing boats properly managed and landing their catches at Sunderland could give a good return to investors. In partnership with Sanderson and Wayman he formed the Wear Steam Fishing Co. Limited in 1898 and by the summer of 1899 the company had three new steam trawlers fishing from Sunderland. Later the same year he established the Vedra Steam Trawling Co. Limited, which had two new steam trawlers built. These were state of the art vessels, with electric lighting throughout and modern double barrelled steam winches. Hall claimed to have £35,000 invested in the two companies.
In 1900 he founded a third company, North Steam Herring Fisheries Limited, probably in partnership with J.S Doeg, a trawler owner based at North Shields and Aberdeen. They had six steam herring drifters built by the summer of 1901, which were designed to catch herring in the spring and summer and fish with long lines in the winter. They were not successful and were sold between 1904 and 1906.
In 1906 Hall established The Sunderland Ice Company Limited to import and store natural ice from Norway for use on the fish market and by his trawlers at sea. He also bought and sold second hand steam trawlers on his own account, keeping them fishing until a buyer could be found. Thus, by 1914 his fleet was a mix of modern trawlers of different designs and ages.

At first, the war probably went well for Hall and his partners, as the reduction in the quantity of fish landed, coupled with general food shortages forced fish prices up. Quayside prices rose steeply throughout the war and by 1918 a five-fold increase had taken place compared with prices in 1914. The Food Controller didn’t introduce price controls for fish until 1918. In 1914 it was clearly in Hall’s interest to keep his trawlers fishing despite the increased risk. 1915 began badly and, in January, his steam trawler "Gloria" was captured and sunk by U-17 55 miles east of Aberdeen, fortunately all the crew survived. In June, "Gazehound" and "Curlew" were sunk by gunfire from U-19 off Peterhead on the same day with both crews surviving. U-19 went on to sink another three trawlers that day and two more the following day.
These losses probably led Hall and his partners to re-think their position and they sold three of their surviving six trawlers to Grimsby owners that year: "Minerva", "Petrel" and Lord "Chancellor". Only "Minerva" survived the war and eventually returned to Sunderland. "Petrel" was captured by U-77 in March 1917 and sunk 120 miles east of Aberdeen and "Lord Chancellor" was sunk off Holy Island by another U-boat. Finally, Hall sold "Pioneer", the 42-foot motor fishing boat which he’d bought in 1913, to a Grimsby owner. It is reasonable to speculate that as trawler losses mounted – 156 trawlers were lost nationally to submarines alone in 1916 – second-hand trawlers held their value.

In 1916 and 1917 Hall’s remaining three trawlers: "Pauline", "Doreen" and "Andromeda" were requisitioned by the Admiralty, fortunately all three survived the war and were returned in 1919 and 1920. The little evidence we have suggests that their charter income from the Admiralty would have compared favourably with their pre-war income from fishing. This much-reduced fleet resumed fishing operations at Sunderland. In peace, as in war, fishing remained a very dangerous job and in August 1921 "Doreen" was lost. She was cut in two by the SS "Wyncote" in fog a few miles east of Sunderland. Five of her crew of eight were lost, either killed by the collision or drowned, and the survivors were put ashore at South Shields.

Post war-trading conditions were difficult for companies like Halls’ whose trawlers were limited to the North Sea where catches were falling. The 1920s and 1930s were not a good time to raise capital in Sunderland to buy new trawlers, forcing him to replace wartime losses with second hand boats. By 1931 he had six trawlers fishing from Sunderland employing 50 men and had his own ice plant producing 30 tons a day.
Durham at War

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of James Hall (#925, p. 81), a Sunderland-based company, as horizontally divided blue-black-blue.
Ivan Sache, 28 April 2021

George Hallett

[George Hallett houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 30 April 2021

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of George Hallett (#1224, p. 95), a Cardiff-based company, as swallow-tailed, blue with a red diamond.
Ivan Sache, 30 April 2021

British Shipping lines: continued