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British shipping companies (C)

Last modified: 2021-05-29 by rob raeside
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Cosens & Co. (Weymouth, Bournemouth & Swanage Steam Packets Ltd.)

[Cosens & Co. (Weymouth, Bournemouth & Swanage Steam Packets Ltd.)] image by Eugene Ipavec, 8 May 2009

The Simplon PC site presents Cosens & Co. also known as ‘Weymouth, Bournemouth & Swanage Steam Packets Ltd’ at We are offered a number of post card pictures, no history this time if you except the quote “later taken over by the Southampton, Isle of Wight & South of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. Ltd (Red Funnel Steamers)”. The vessels illustrated were operated between 1852 and 1967.

Quoting from a blurb (book by R. Clanmer):,
“The once familiar Buff Funnel paddle steamers of Cosens & Co Ltd were part of the scenery along the Wessex coast of the south of England. They crowded Bournemouth Pier and Weymouth, offering excursions to the Isle of Wight, Swanage and landings on the beach at Lulworth Cove. To the west the paddlers called at Lyme Regis, and visited the south Devon resorts of Seaton, Torquay, Paignton and as far as Plymouth. Closer to home they offered cruises to see the warships in Portland harbour whilst their fleet of speed boats offered trips in Weymouth Bay. This book tells the fascinating story of these services between 1918 and 1996.”

More history here (highlights taken over):
Founded 1852 by Capt. Joseph Cosens and newspaper owner J. Drew wishing to link Weymouth to Portland transporting goods, workers at Portland dockyard, and tourists. Later also Channel crossings. Takeover of competitors Dodson (1858) and Tizard (1860). Ltd in 1876; expansion of company to include repair, engineering, towage, and salvage. 1946 taken over by Southampton, Isle of Wight and S. of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Co./Red Funnels (separate flags).  Last sailing Sept. 1966; Cosens Engineering Ltd had to close down in 1999.

Some pennants and flags appear on the Simplon cards – some of them coloured in – but none so clear (excepting the Red Duster) as the house flag rendered in b/w.  A picture in colour is found in the on-line 1912 Lloyds Flags & Funnels:

No. 1384 ‘Cosens & Co. Ltd, Weymouth’: horizontally divided red-blue-white, the middle stripe appearing somewhat wider and in any case containing a white disk almost touching the red edges. The b/w renderings shown by Simplon have equal stripes and the disk touches the edges. Direct link:

Jan Mertens, 7 May 2009

John Coull

[John Coull houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 30 April 2021

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of John Coull (#1299, p. 98), a Newcastle-based company as white with a blue Magen David inscribing a white "S".
Ivan Sache, 30 April 2021

Coulouthros Ltd.

[Coulouthros Ltd. houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker, 15 January 2006

Coulouthros Ltd., London - horizontal blue-white-blue flag, in center blue cross.
Source: Loughran (1995)
Jarig Bakker, 15 January 2006

Counties Ship Management Co.

[Counties Ship Management Co. houseflag] image by James Dignan

Based on Sampson (1957)
James Dignan, 8 October 2003

Stewart & Styring (1963) lists a Counties Ship Management Co. Ltd. and London and Overseas Freighters Ltd. from London UK, but shows a different flag.

It's a little difficult to follow the history of the company, but Counties Ship Management was originally Rethymnis and Kulukundis, which set up different companies to manage each ship they owned - these each named after an English county.   Three companies merged in 1937, apparently Rethymnis and Kulukundis Limited (London) being the primary concern. By 1950 it became the largest tramp steamer company in London. Its affiliated company London and Overseas Freighters Ltd. was started as a "tramp tanker" company by Rethymnis and Kulukundis. Counties Ship Management appears to have gone out of business in 1968 and London and Overseas sold the last of its tankers in 1997 (actually the company being purchased by Frontline Ltd. a Swedish company flying under the Bermuda flag).
Phil Nelson, 9 October 2003

Brown 622: Counties Ship Management Co., Ltd., London
Funnel: Buff with a red C surrounded by a red circle, over this a black top.
Flag: Triangular 2:3; white with a red border, in its center a red C surrounded by a red circle. (The C in Brown's is about one-fourth of the flag in height; the circle is
pictured as a line, slightly thinner than the letter, and both considerably thinner than the border. C for County?)
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 20 October 2003

[Counties Ship Management Co. houseflag]image by Jarig Bakker, 27 December 2004

Counties Ship Management (Rethymnis & Kulukundis), London - burgee white over blue; in center red 5-pointed star.
Rethymnis & Kulukundis (Piraeus) have an identical tapered swallowtailed houseflag, according to Brown (1951).
From Scott, R.M., The Caltex book of Flags and Funnels, Capetown, Caltex Africa Ltd. (1959).
Jarig Bakker, 27 December 2004

Counties Ship Manaagement. The biband white-blue pennant with red star was apparently adopted post WW2 [Sampson being late picking up the change once again] as a group flag for Rethymnis & Kulukundis. I suspect that the swallowtailed tapered pennant shown by Brown 1951 referred to by Jarig is an error. Nobody else mentions it and Brown 1958 shows the pennant shown.
Neale Rosanoski, 14 April 2005

In the 1960’s I worked for Rethymnis and Kulukundis and the Counties ship were named after hills in London, e.g., Streatham Hill, Tulse Hill, etc., and were all WWII built Canadian Forts or Parks.
Colin Brown, 6 April 2006, Bob Boxer, 3 January 2008

J.B. Couper

[J.B. Couper houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 10 April 2008

Lloyds Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of "J.B. Couper" (#259, p. 49), a company based in Glasgow (Scotland), as blue with a red descending diagonal stripe charged with a white "C".
Ivan Sache
, 10 April 2008 

George Couper

[George Couper & Co. houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 22 April 2021

Lloyds Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of "George Couper & Co." (#261, p. 49), a company based in Helmsdale (Scotland), as red with a red rectangle bordered in white and charged with a white "C".
Ivan Sache
, 10 April 2008 

Court Line, Ltd.

Haldenstein & Co., Ltd.

[Court Line, Ltd. houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 30 April 2021

Court Line Ltd was first registered in 1905. It was founded by P.E. Haldenstein (later Haldin) as a small tramp steamer business. From around 1913 P.E. Haldin became involved in business dealings with the Philips family and by 1922 they were trading as Haldin & Phillips Ltd.

In 1929 this company took over Court Line Ltd, which consequently entered voluntary liquidation, its assets being sold to the United British Steamship Co Ltd, which had been registered in 1921. This company changed its name to Court Line Ltd in 1936 at which time it had a fleet of 19 steamers and 3 motor vessels. In 1943 the United British Steamship Co Ltd acquired Cory & Strick (Steamers) Ltd which had been incorporated in around 1928. It renamed its acquisition the British Steamship Co Ltd and three years later it was taken over by this new company, consequently entering voluntary liquidation in 1947.

In 1952 the British Steamship Co Ltd was renamed Court Line Ltd and the Court Line was born again. During the 1960s the new Court Line Ltd underwent a massive programme of modernisation and expansion. It replaced its old steamers with a fleet of oil tankers and rapidly expanded into the shipbuilding and leisure markets. In 1965 it acquired Appledore Shipbuilders Ltd and Autair International Airways (renamed Court Line Aviation in 1970). By the 1970s Court Line Ltd was only part of a large multinational group, which grew further through the acquisitions, in 1973, of Clarksons Holiday Holdings Ltd and Doxford & Sunderland Ltd, shipbuilders. It collapsed in 1974 at which time its shipbuilding assets were taken into public ownership.

Archives Hub

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of Court Line, Ltd. (Haldenstein & Co., Ltd.) (#1408, p. 104), as white with a black emblem in the center.
Ivan Sache, 30 April 2021

John Coverdale & Son

[John Coverdale & Son houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 30 April 2021

John Coverdale purchased shares in sailing vessels from about 1852 and by the 1860’s had become the sole owner of a fleet of sailing vessels.
John entered into partnership with Charles Scotson Todd under the company name of Coverdale, Todd & Co. On 30 June 1882 this partnership was dissolved and on the same day John went into business with his son, Robert Hauxwell Coverdale, as his partner. The company became Coverdale & Son with their business premises at Victoria Terrace, West Hartlepool.
Robert took over the company when his father died and it became R.H. Coverdale. When Robert died the company reverted back to John Coverdale & Son which eventually ceased trading in 1914. The company of Coverdale Bros. carried on until 1917.

John Coverdale was born in 1814 at Sneaton, near Whitby, in Yorkshire. John became a master mariner and in the early 1850's he moved to Hartlepool from Sneaton already part owner and master of the sailing vessel "Madonna" in which he had invested in October 1852. In 1854 he was part owner and master of the "Schofield". John had married Mary Hauxwell at Stockton-on-Tees in 1852 and by the 1860's the couple were living at Radcliffe Terrace with their two children Jane and Robert. He retired from the sea and became owner and manager of a fleet of sailing vessels. When iron constructed ships became the new revolution he sold his wooden vessels and went into steam shipping.
Hartlepool History Then and Now

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of John Coverdale & Son (#1332, p. 100), as red with the white letters "J.C. & SON".
Ivan Sache, 30 April 2021

Thomas Cowan

[Thomas Cowan houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 30 April 2021

Thomas Cowan operated a Leith-Dundee-Southampton-Le Tréport line, which was acquired by the Dundee, Perth & London Shipping Co.

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of Thomas Cowan (#1311, p. 99), as lozengy white and red with a blue "S" in the central, white lozenge. 
Ivan Sache, 30 April 2021

Cowasjee's Steamers

(Cowasjee Dinshaw & Bros.)

[Cowasjee's Steamers houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 30 April 2021

Cowasjee Dinshaw (1827-1900), principal partner of the firm Cowasjee Dinshaw & Bros., was at the forefront of the transformation of Aden from a sparsely populated settlement to the Empire’s busiest transit and commercial port.
Arriving in Aden from Bombay in 1845, Cowasjee initially worked at the firm of Muncherjee Eduljee Sopariwalla & Sons, at which his father Dinshaw was the manager. By 1850, Cowasjee had branched out on his own, providing supplies to the garrison and government from a thatched hut erected in the Crater area, commuting on a donkey and sometimes an Arab pony from his village to work.

Cowasjee Dinshaw & Bros. was constituted in 1854, with his brothers Dorabjee and Pestonjee as partners. The firm’s premises were located at Steamer Point, the new civic and commercial district developed along the harbour. By then Cowasjee Dinshaw & Bros. had become the leading military and naval suppliers in Aden, launching steam boat services for strengthening colonial communication networks, provision and live-stock supplies and transporting servicemen and civilians between Aden, Perim and the Somali Coast. Cowasjee received viceroys, nobility and the Prince of Wales (1875), when they landed in Aden en route to India. He was made a Companion of the Indian Empire (C.I.E.) in 1894.
Bombaywalla Historical Works

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of Cowasjee's Steamers (Cowasjee Dinshaw & Bros.) (#1385, p. 102) as horizontally divided red-white w a blue disc.
Ivan Sache, 30 April 2021

British Shipping lines: continued