Wilson's & North Eastern Railway Shipping Co. Ltd
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At the beginning of the 20th century Wilson's were rapidly becoming one of the largest private shipping operations in the World and had further expanded by taking over the 23 ship fleet of another U.K. owner with similar North Sea operations. Through that takeover they had also acquired the agency for DFDS the leading Danish owner who also had services which either directly or indirectly competed with their own operation. At the same time the Wilson family were conscious of the need to maintain their relationship with the North Eastern Railway (N.E.R.) who were essential for the satisfactory movement of goods to and from the ports that Wilson's served, road haulage still being in its infancy, and who held operating rights over some of the same routes as themselves although they hadn't exercised those rights. The joint venture rationalised the Wilson services from the port of Hull and shipping interests of the N.E.R. whilst securing the vital rail access that the N.E.R. could provide.
Wilson's initially transferred five ships into the new operation in March 1906 : "Cito", "Dynamo", "Juno", "Bruno" and "Hero". Two further vessels "Otto" and "Truro" were added later.
The joint operation was further rationalised when it merged with three other operators to form the Associated Humber Lines in 1935 which brought together the services being operated by the railway companies through the ports of Hull, Grimsby and Goole in the River Humber.
1903 - Thos. Wilson had taken over the 23 ship fleet of Bailey & Leetham which brought with it the agency for the United Steamship Company (DFDS) of Denmark. This agency presented problems for Wilson's as it overlapped some of their own activities and brought them into competition with railway shipping interests which were so vital in the operation of their existing business.
1905 - Wilsons sought a solution to the Hull services problem and a joint venture was proposed. The negotiations were led by Charles Wilson (Lord Nunburnholme) and his brother Arthur Wilson who was also a Director of the N.E.R.
1923 - January - The company came under control of the London and North Eastern Railway.
1935 - May - the company was merged with other interests to form the Associated Humber Lines.
1957 - Final two ships "Selby" and "Harrogate" (1925) were sold and the company ceased to trade.
Hull to Hamburg ; Antwerp / Ghent ; and Dunkirk.
Funnel : Red with black top with thin white dividing line.
Hull : Wilson dark green with red boot topping.
Passenger / cargo vessels operated
|Notes and references|
|Dynamo||1884||594||Built by Earle's Shipbuilding for Thos. Wilson. Re-boilered in 1903.
Scrapped in 1926.
|Bruno||1892||841||Built by Earle's for Thos. Wilson.
Sold in 1910 to Grand Trunk Pacific Development Company in Prince Rupert, British Columbia was renamed Prince Albert and operated from Prince Rupert - Vancouver - Victoria.
The Grand Trunk became part of Canadian National Railways in 1920.
|Hero||1895||775||Built by Earle's for Thos. Wilson. During World War I in 1916 she was transferred to the General Steam Navigation Co. (G.S.N.) in London. Chartered out to Ellerman Lines in 1923 but operated by Ellerman's Wilson Line.
Reverted to G.S.N. in 1926 and finally scrapped in 1933.
|Otto||1898||836||Built by Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Company in Dundee for Thos. Wilson.
Broken up in Scotland in August 1935.
|Truro||1898||836||Sister of Otto built for Thos. Wilson. Captured and then torpedoed in June 1915 whilst on passage from Cristiania (Oslo) to Grimsby carrying timber.|
|Cito||1899||819||Built by Earle's for Thos. Wilson.
Intercepted and sunk by gunfire from a German torpedo boat on 17 May 1917 with the loss of 11 lives.
|Juno||1900||905||A sister of Cito, again built by Earle's.
|SS Hull||1907||1,132||Built by Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Company at Dundee.
The first ship built for the new entity; her name was railway rather than Wilson and set a trend for the future.
|SS York||1907||1,132||A sister of Hull with similar history being renamed Ville de Bougie when also sold in 1937 with her sister.
Withdrawn in 1956 when owners replaced her with a new ship of the same name.
|SS Darlington||1910||1,076||Built by Earle's and launched the Hull - Antwerp route. Was in collision with Antwerp of the LNER in the River Scheldt and both vessel had to be beached to avoid sinking.
Was surplus to requirements when AHL formed in 1935 and returned to Ellerman's Wilson Line as the Castro.
|SS Harrogate||1911||1,168||A sister to Darlington and entered service alongside her sister. However, on 20 February 1918, whilst on passage from Hull to Bergen with a cargo of coke, she foundered and sank in a storm, off the Norwegian coast.|
|SS Selby||1922||1,039||Built by J. Duthie Torry SB Co., of Aberdeen. Transferred to LNER in 1923 and joined AHL. in 1935.
|SS Harrogate||1925||1,029||A sister of Selby except built at Leith by Ramage & Ferguson Ltd.
Delivered for Hull-Hamburg route but also served Rotterdam and Antwerp when traffic required.