Balfour Williamson

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Balfour, Williamson & Co Limited

Balfour Williamson & Co was a shipping company based in Liverpool, England, and later an export confirming house and freight forwarding company. Latterly a subsidiary of Lonmin (formerly Lonrho).[1] In October 2016 the company returned to family ownership when acquired by Guthrie Williamson, the great-great-great grandson of the founder Stephen Williamson.

The company was founded in 1851 by two young men from Fife, Scotland, Alexander Balfour and Stephen Williamson. They were joined for a time by a third partner, David Duncan. The company traded with South America, and had offices in Valparaiso, Chile and San Francisco.[2]

Williamson and Duncan were responsible for the company's operations in Chile, which thrived. A subsidiary was set up in Chile, the Williamson-Balfour Company, which was involved in many activities, most notably in sheep farming on Easter Island between 1897 and 1953.[3]

The company's first ship was the Gardner, soon replaced by the Santiago, a 455-ton barque. The Santiago was sold in 1888, and later the hulk was used as a coal store in Adelaide, Australia, where it still lies.[4]