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British shipping companies (P)

Last modified: 2023-07-03 by rob raeside
Keywords: peninsular & occidental | p&o | port line | purvis | peninsular and oriental |
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Pacific Steam Navigation Co.

[Pacific Steam Navigation Co. 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 Pacific Steam Navigation Co. Ltd., Liverpool. A flag comprising a white field and a blue cross with a king's crown in the centre. The initials 'PSNC' are in the quarters. The flag is made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. It has a cotton hoist and is machine sewn with the crown printed. A rope and toggle is attached."
Jarig Bakker, 24 August 2004

Pacific Steam Navigation, founded 1938 in London with routes to South America at first. The first house flag was similar to that shown in Brown, but with a Chilean style star where the crown in. The company was granted a Royal Charter and the star eventually replaced by the crown. In the early 1840's the company headquarters was moved to Liverpool. With Anderson, Anderson & Co., and F. Green & Co. co-founded the Orient Steam Navigation Co. to compete with Peninsular and Oriental (P&O) in offering service to Australia (1877). During the Boer War one of their ships was used as a hospital ship and four others as troop carriers. In 1902 their royal charter was extended for another 21 years and in 1905 Pacific Steam Navigation sold their share of Oriental Steam Navigation to Royal Mail Lines, the service being discontinued in 1909. In 1910, Pacific Steam Navigation was purchased by Royal Mail. In 1922, the royal charter was extended in perpetuity. After the Royal Mail scandal (referred to earlier in this thread), the company was operated independently for a while before being repurchased by the newly reorganized Royal Mail in 1938. In 1952 the crown on the flag was replaced by the Edwardian style crown. After Royal Mail was purchased by Furness Withy in 1965, the company continued to operate a limited number of ships under the Pacific Steam Navigation flag until operations for PSNC were ceased in 1985.
Phil Nelson, 18 October 2003

The flag for Pacific Steam Navigation Co. is that described by Peter of white, a blue cross surmounted with a Royal Crown and the red letters "PSNC" in the respective quarters. To add to Phil's summary, according to Loughran (1979) the originally proposed flag was a tapered swallowtail with a star instead of a crown as a courtesy to Chile with whom they planned to trade but by the time the first voyage was ready to be undertaken, which was not until 6/1840, with the Royal Charter having been granted in the February of that year the flag was changed to a rectangle and the star was replaced by a St. Edward Crown. This crown was replaced by another version after the accession of Edward VII but reverted on the instructions of Elizabeth II following her coronation.
Neale Rosanoski, 24 May 2004

Pacific Steam Navigation Co., Liverpool: Larousse Commercial Illustr (1930) shows this flag as white, a blue St George's cross with red letters (without serifs) in the corners: `P' in upper hoist, `S' in upper fly, `N' in lower hoist and `Co' in lower fly, the `o' raised (no dot). In the centre of the blue cross, a yellow-and-red royal crown. A picture (with `C' rather than `Co') is at the head of this page.
Jan Mertens, 4 June 2004

Palm Line

[Palm 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 Palm Line Ltd, London. A rectangular green flag with a white saltire. In the centre there is a white disc with a green palm tree. The flag is made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. The hoist and palm tree are cotton. The flag is machine sewn. A rope and toggle is attached.

The company was the major ship-owning subsidiary of Lever Brothers who used coconut oil as a basis for many of their products. The flag is based on the winning entry of a competition organised through the company magazine 'Progress' in the 1930s."
Jarig Bakker
, 24 August 2004

Loughran (1979), in "A survey of mercantile houseflags and funnels", wrote:

"The humblest craft may bear markings of great interest. Even steam or motor lighters may have funnel marks which lead to a story. Until 1974, the small harbour craft employed by Lever Brothers Ltd., of Port Sunlight, to transport vegetable oils from the deep sea vessels in the Mersey ports to their factories at Bromborough, had red funnels with black tops. These markings were all that remained of a competition held within the firm to design a houseflag and funnel mark for their shipping fleet. This took place about 1930 and the winning entry was featured in "Progress", the house magazine of the Unilever group, of which Lever Brothers forms a part. The houseflag was a colorful one, with a palm tree as its main device:

[Palm Line houseflag] by Jarig Bakker, 14 June 2004

 It does not seem to have been adopted and actually flown, but the funnel mark found its way on to these small lighters. Some years later, the houseflag-design, its format and coloring tidied up, was adopted for the Palm Line Ltd., of London, which is the major ship-owning subsidiary of the group. The palm tree, symbol of the coconut oil which is the basis of so many of the group's products, was also used on the very handsome funnel marking."

Jarig Bakker, 14 June 2004

Peninsular and Oriental (P&O)

[Peninsular and Oriental houseflag]
by Jorge Candeias, 23 Feb 1999

Quartered per saltire in white, red, yellow and blue.
Jorge Candeias, 23 Feb 1999

Throughout its 150 years P&O has been a premier British shipowner, and in its time the largest in the world. [About the flag:] It has flown the same quartered flag, embodying the royal colours of Portugal and Spain, from its very beginnings.
Jarig Bakker, 22 Jan 1999, quoting from the P&O website.

R.H. Penney & Sons

[R.H. Penney & Sons houseflag] by Jarig Bakker

Source: Brown's Flags and Funnels [Wedge 1926]

R.H. Penney & Sons, Brighton - white flag bordered blue; red 5-pointed star.
Jarig Bakker
, 5 February 2005

Port Line Ltd

[Port Line Ltd houseflag]
by Ivan Sache, 30 December 2001

This image is redrawn from one provided by Ted Harrison, based on a menu card from the shipping line.

[Port Line Ltd houseflag] by Phil Nelson, 9 April 2000

from Stewart and Styring's Flags, Funnels and Hull Colors 1963: note the narrower crosses.

The Port Line was in operation from about 1923 to 1980.

Prince Line

[Port Line Ltd houseflag] located by Jan Mertens

Red swallowtailed pennon with the Prince of Wales' ostrich feathers in white.
James Dignan, 17 October 2003

Founded 1884. The first ships were Saxon Prince and Highland Prince. Incorporated 1885 as Prince Lines out of Newcastle. Sold to Furness, Withy & Co in 1916 after Sir James Knott, the owner, had his three sons killed during World War I. In 1917, Furness, Withy created a subsidiary to the company, Rio-Cape Line Ltd. Rio-Cape was merged back into Prince Line in 1954. By the 1960s the company was leasing ships on an as needed basis, although it would venture into container ships in the 1970s before the company was amalgamated with Manchester Lines. Furness, Withy was sold to C.Y. Tung and later to Hamburg Sud. Today it exists in name only as part of Hamburg Sud's entity Shaw Savill Holdings Ltd.
Phil Nelson, 18 October 2003

Posted as insolvent on 19 May 2004 (The Times).
Ron Lahav, 20 May 2004

The ostrich feathers are the main element on the house flag, and they issue from a coronet.

Purvis Shipping Co., Ltd

[Purvis Shipping Co., Ltd houseflag] by Phil Nelson, 7 April 2000

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

[Purvis Shipping Co., Ltd houseflag] Neale Rosanoski

Purvis Shipping Co. Ltd. According to Brown 1951 there was an earlier flag being a pennant of 6 black and red vertical bands with the black bearing the white letters "PSC" in descending scale.
Neale Rosanoski, 24 May 2004

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