Stephenson Clarke Shipping

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Stephenson Clarke Shipping Limited
Type Private company limited by shares
Industry Ship transport
Fate in liquidation
Founded 1730[1]
Headquarters Newcastle Upon Tyne, England[2]
Website Stephenson Clarke Shipping Limited[1]

Stephenson Clarke Shipping Limited, established in 1730, in liquidation 26 July 2012,[3] was Great Britain's oldest shipping company.[1] The company had specialized in short sea bulk cargo such as aggregates, alumina, grain, coal, fertilizers and steel.[1][4]

History[edit]

Reverend Ralph Clarke, a vicar of Long Benton, Tyneside had two sons, Ralph and Robert Clarke.[4] The boys went to sea, working their way up to being master mariners.[4]

During their career at sea, they began to buy shares in ships, gradually making the transition from captain to owner.[4] The company that would become Stephenson Clarke was formed when the brothers bought shares in a 300-ton sailing vessel.[4] Thus the business was established in 1730, in the early years of the reign of King George II.[4]

Stephenson Clarke had managed other owners' ships as well as its own. For several decades it managed the collier fleets of the Gas Light and Coke Company and other gas and electricity utility companies.

Notable former ships[edit]

SS Wandle was a 932 GRT flatiron coastal collier launched by the Burntisland Shipbuilding Company of Burntisland, Fife, Scotland in 1924 for the Wandsworth, Wimbledon, Epsom and District Gas Company.[5] Stephenson Clarke bought her in 1932 and renamed her Pitwines.[5] On 11 January 1940 she survived being bombed and machine-gunned by enemy aircraft in the North Sea about 25 miles (40 km) off Flamborough Head.[6] On 11 November 1941 she survived an attack by enemy aircraft off Yarmouth.[6] On 19 November 1941 she was involved in a collision off West Hartlepool with the 744 GRT coaster SS Gateshead[5] and sank about 7 miles (11 km) northeast of Heugh.[6]

SS Pulborough was a 960 GRT coaster launched by Burntisland Shipbuilding Co. in 1933.[5] On 29 July 1940 she was caught in an air raid off the Kent coast in the Straits of Dover.[7][8] A bomb exploded close to her in the sea, opening up several plates in her hull.[8] Her crew managed to launch a lifeboat and abandon ship as she sank.[9]

SS Petworth was a 972 GRT coaster launched by Burntisland Shipbuilding Co. in 1934.[5] She was sold to new owners in 1957 who renamed her Belvedere.[5] She was broken up in 1960.[5]

SS Woodcote was a 1,527 GRT flatiron coastal collier launched by Burntisland Shipbuilding Co. in 1924 for the Wandsworth, Wimbledon, Epsom and District Gas Company.[5] Stephenson Clarke bought her in 1934 and renamed her Cerne.[5] She was broken up at Dunston-on-Tyne in 1955.[5]

SS Horsted was a 1,670 GRT coaster launched by Burntisland Shipbuilding Co. in 1936.[5] On 4 December 1939 she was in an east coast convoy in the North Sea when she suffered an explosion caused by either a torpedo or a mine.[10] She sank with the loss of five of her crew.[10]

SS Portslade was a GRT coaster built by William Pickersgill & Sons Ltd of Sunderland in 1936.[11] On 25 July 1940 while sailing in a convoy in the English Channel she was bombed by enemy aircraft and sunk east of Dungeness.[11]

SS Burstow was a 927 GRT coaster launched by John Lewis & Co of Aberdeen in 1927.[12] She was sold in 1931 to new owners who named her Nephrite.[12] Stephenson Clarke bought her in 1946 and renamed her Portslade to replace the vessel sunk in 1940.[12] In 1954 Stephenson Clarke sold her to new owners who renamed her Rosefleet. She foundered in a gale at Mardyck in northern France in 1956.[12]

MV Minster was a 3,194 GRT coaster launched by Burntisland Shipbuilding Co. in March 1950.[5] She was lengthened from 335 feet (102 m) to 375 feet (114 m) in 1964, which increased her to 3,647 GRT. She was sold to Cypriot owners in 1971 who renamed her Elandi.[5] She was renamed three more times in the next five years and was still trading in 1976.[5]

MV Emsworth was a 1,784 GRT coaster launched by Burntisland Shipbuilding Co. in September 1950.[5] She was sold to Cypriot owners in 1971 who renamed her Andora.[5] She was broken up in 1976.[5]

MV Ardingly was a 1,436 GRT coaster launched by SP Austin & Son Ltd of Southwick, Sunderland in 1951.[13] She was sold to new owners in 1971 who renamed her Ballyrobert.[14] She was sold again in 1977 to Cypriot owners who renamed her Lucky Trader.[14] She was scrapped in 1982.[14]

MV Storrington was a 3,809 GRT coaster launched by Burntisland Shipbuilding Co. in 1959.[5] She was sold to Cypriot owners in 1978 who renamed her Milos II.[5]

MV Gilsland was a 7,242 GRT cargo ship launched by Burntisland Shipbuilding Co. in 1961.[5] She was sold to Argentinian owners in 1968 who renamed her Mardulce.[5] She was sold again in 1975 to Bangladeshi owners who renamed her Banglar Joy.[5]

Recent fleet developments[edit]

MV Cowdray at Belfast

As of 2008, the Stephenson Clarke fleet consisted of 10 bulk carriers with a combined capacity of 68,238 metric tons deadweight (DWT).[2] The ships had an average age of 21 years, with the oldest built in 1975, and the newest built in 2001.[2] The ships were small, having between one and four holds apiece.[2] They ranged in size from the Ardent with a capacity of only 1,180 DWT to the Dallington of 12,138 DWT.[2]

All of the ships were single deck bulk carriers with open hatches and open holds.[4] Several are small self load/unloading vessels of between 1,180 DWT and 2,800 DWT.[4] These smaller vessels were fully self-unloading and equipped with excavators and small tractors.[4]

While the fleet was capable of worldwide operations, it was focused on operations in Northern Europe, including the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, West Africa, Macaronesia, Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea.[4] The company stated that keeping the ships in this area increased operational flexibility and efficiency.[4]

In 25 November 2011 the fleet consisted of two ships, Durrington and Newcastle. A month later the company sold Durrington and by 26 July 2012 it had sold Newcastle. The company is now in liquidation, bringing an end to Britain's oldest shipowner.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Stephenson Clarke 2006, Home Page.
  2. ^ a b c d e Stephenson Clarke 2006, Fleet List.
  3. ^ "Notice: 1638739". London Gazette (60221). 27 July 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Stephenson Clarke 2006, About Us.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Anderson, James B (2008). "Ships built by the Burntisland Shipbuilding Company Ltd: arranged by date of launch". In Sommerville, Iain. Welcome to Burntisland. Iain Sommerville. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c Lettens, Jan; Racey, Carl (26 February 2011). "SS Pitwines ? [+1941]". The Wreck Site. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Lettens, Jan; Allen, Tony (19 July 2009). "SS Pulborough [+1940]". The Wreck Site. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Central Office of Information, 1947, page 50
  9. ^ Central Office of Information, 1947, pages 50–51
  10. ^ a b Lettens, Jan; Racey, Carl (6 September 2010). "SS Horsted [+1939]". The Wreck Site. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Lettens, Jan; Allen, Tony (24 July 2009). "SS Portslade [+1940]". The Wreck Site. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Sunfleet". Ouse Steam Ship Company. Shipping of Goole. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  13. ^ Johnson, Paul (1998–2010). "Stephenson Clarke Shipping Co.". British Coastal and Short Sea Shipping Companies. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  14. ^ a b c Landymore, B.E.; Gibbs, Ken (Summer 2010). "And then, Ardingly gave its name to...". Old Ardinian (Old Ardinians Society) (30): 6. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]