In addition to the export trade, the local Bristol Channel carrier and packet services continued during these years, initially being run mainly by the Bristol Steam Navigation Co and the Cardiff Steam Navigation Co., which amalgamated in 1869 to form The Steamship Company, operating a daily service between Bristol and Cardiff. In addition Danks, Venn and Sanders were operating a water carrier service between Cardiff and the ports along the South Wales and West of England coasts and up river to Gloucester, Worcester, Bewdley and Stourport. By arrangements with canal companies they maintained connections with Shropshire, Herefordshire, Staffordshire and Birmingham, and overland with London and the South of England. Around this time, too, the Burnham Tidal Harbour Co. was running a boat between Bridgewater and Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset and Cardiff.
Longer distance passenger and carrier services were opened up in the 1860s with the Cork Steamship Co. operating to Southern Ireland, and the Glasgow and Belfast Steam Packet Co. to Glasgow and Northern Ireland. The Dublin General Steamship Co was running boats from Cardiff to Dublin and Liverpool on a regular basis. In 1870 the Dutch firm, Van Ess & Co was operating a service to Rotterdam and about 1890 the Cardiff Steamship Co. started a weekly service to Bordeaux. In 1873 the Atlantic Steamship Co of Cardiff commenced a passenger-cargo service direct from Cardiff to New York.
In 1866 the traders of the town had set up the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce; in 1880 the ship owners set up the Shipowners Association and in 1886 the Cardiff Exchange was set up for stock- broking.
A list of seamen, master mariners, fishermen, shipowners, shipbrokers, shipping agents, bargemen etc isAppended
A brief history of some Cardiff Shipping Companies is Appended
A list of ships owned by Cardiff companies or companies that used Cardiff on a regular basis is in course of preparation
Go to my index to Master Mariners in Cardiff Crew Agreements 1863-1913
Go to my index to ships named in Cardiff Shipping Registers, Transactions, Board of Trade Enquiries and Crew and Fishing Agreements
Richard Tredwin has been mentioned above in connection with the opening of Cardiff's first dry dock in 1829 and built a number of vessels from 1830 onwards. In the 1850s his company was still building small boats. Tredwin's yard was taken over in 1857, when Tredwin died, by his nephews John & Thomas Hodges
In 1843, John Batchelor came to Cardiff from Newport and set up in business, with his brother Sidney, as Batchelor Bros. Taking over the William Jones yard on the bank of the River Taff at the lower end of St.Mary Street (as mentioned above) Around 1849 Batchelor Bros moved to a new yard near the West Dock. This company operated very successfully for a number of years and subsequently opened the Mount Stuart Graving Dock and a timber yard in Cardiff. It has been suggested that the downfall of John Batchelor was that he was a strong Liberal reformer and very much anti Bute Estate. As a result the Bute Estate was loathe to allow the Batchelors to expand their business and in 1873 the company went into liquidation. The Mount Stuart Graving Dock was sold by the bankers (as mortgagees) to J Laughlandand who sold it on to Sir John Gunn. The other Batchelor Yard was taken over by Charles Hill & Sons..
In the late 1850s a number of other boatbuilders were in existence in Cardiff, notably Davies & Plain on the East Dock were responsible for constructing many of the pilot cutters used in the Bristol Channel, and the Bute Docks Steam Shipbuilding Co. which launched the first Cardiff built steamship, The Lady Bute, in 1863. By the 1860s Rogers Bros., Barrett & Hill, G.Davies, G.Down, William Rees, William Thomas, Wm.Luxton, Cowell & Robinson, Gullivor & Brown and others were all building small ships at the Docks, and Charles Hill of Bristol (mentioned above as taking over the Batchelor Bros. Yard) had also set up their Cardiff branch launching ships of up to 1000 tons. In addition, on the river estuary the Bute Shipyard was established in 1865 by Maudsley, then taken over by Scott Russell, becoming in 1885 the Bute Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co.Ltd. In the 1870s further companies became established, eg Harvey & Son, Langmaid & Co., W.F.Pile & Co., Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Co., the Penarth Shipbuilding and Repair Co., and, perhaps most importantly in the long run, R.H.Mitchell's Bute Docks Steam Shipbuilding Co. (mentioned above) was taken over by Sir John Gunn to become the Mountstuart Shipbuilding, Graving Dock and Engineering Co. Other long lived ship repair companies were also set up in the early 1880s, the Bute Dry Dock and the Cardiff Junction Dry Dock, Cardiff Ship Repair Co., Bute Commercial Dry Dock Co., South Wales Engineering Works and Ship Repair Co., the Channel Dry Docks and Engineering Co., Barry Graving Dock (at Barry), Windsor Slipways Dry Dock and Engineering Co. (later taken over by Mordey, Carney & Co), the Central Engineering and Ship Repairing Works (owned by Mordey, Carney & Co) and Hills Dry Dock and Engineering Co. With the establishment of so many new companies, added to the older established ones, Cardiff became a major World Centre for ship repair, although it never became important in ship building, perhaps as a result of the difficulties of the narrow channel approach to the Docks.
Many of the companies listed above remained in existence up to and after the First World War, when they contributed immensely to the war effort, keeping British shipping afloat at a time of National need.
With the rise of the boatbuilding and ship repairing industries there was an ever growing need for the various ancillary industries and occupations. Anchors, chains, blocks, masts and spars, ballast winches, rivets and nails, were all needed by the industry, as well as, in the earlier years sailmaking and wood turning. Rope-making, too, became important, with Morgan & Sanders and Verity & Coward setting up ropeworks in the 1850s and 1860s. Wire-rope making was also established, by George Elliott & Co. of London.
Shipwrights, and later boilermakers were also required in numbers by the ship repair industry. My own great grandfather, Robert Sanders, being one of those who came to Cardiff from Devon in the 1860s (following his brother, William, who had arrived in the 1850s) initially as a seagoing ship carpenter but settling down to married life ashore as a shipwright working in the shipyards.
A list of many of the vessels known to have been built at Cardiff is in preparation.
A list of shipwrights, boilermakers, sailmakers etc identified in Cardiff & Vale of Glamorgan Parish Registers is Appended
In 1888 the Dowlais Iron, Steeel and Coal Co. obtained a lease of land at East Moors from the Bute Estate on which to site a new iron and steel works. The company had already switched from the use of local ores to Spanish ore and there was, therefore, little need for their steelworks to continue to be sited at Merthyr. Moving to Cardiff, near the docks where the ore was imported and the steel exported was seen as a cost saving exercise, cutting out as it did the need to transport its raw materials and its products long distances by rail. In 1900 the company amalgamated with Keen's of Birmingham to form Guest. Keen & Co. and in 1902 with Nettlefolds Ltd to form Guest, Keen & Nettlefolds Ltd., a name well known in Cardiff and elsewhere for iron and steel production. Subsequently. An additional amalgamation of part of this company in 1930 resulted in the formation of Guest, Keen & Baldwins Iron & Steel Co. These companies were major employers in Cardiff for many years afterward.
Ships which carried coal out of Cardiff often returned with timber from the Baltic, Scandinavia, Russia
and Canada for use in the construction industry, whilst pitwood was imported from France, Spain and Portugal.
Linked to the timber trade was the establishment of the paper mills. In 1867, Brown & Evans established the Ely Paper Co., taken over ten years later by Thomas Owen & Co. and continuing in operation until fairly recently (as Wiggins, Teape & Co.).
Spillers was not the only company involved in grain milling in Cardiff in the 19th century. There were several others eg Lancashire Flour Mills, Liverpool Flour Mills, Rice Mill Co., Wood Bros., Glyn Mill Corn Co. and Weston, Hewlett & Co., and along the coast at Barry, was Spillers main competitor Joseph Rank.
Along with milling came the increase in the linked trades of malting, brewing and biscuit making, but these are outside the scope of this work as they were not directly related to the Port of Cardiff.
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