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British shipping companies (C)

Last modified: 2010-12-03 by rob raeside
Keywords: cl | cs | tc&co | cscs | dragon | bucket | crescent: white |
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Coast Lines

Version 1

Based in London, ran UK-Ireland ferries and London - Falmouth, Liverpool, and numerous other coastal services.
Jarig Bakker, 11 October 2003

[Coast Lines houseflag] image by James Dignan

Based on Sampson (1957)
James Dignan, 11 October 2003

Version 2

[Coast Lines houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker

In "All about Ships and Shipping", 1959 is another flag: blue, white, red, white and blue horizontal stripes (International "C" flag), with CL in Blue.
Jarig Bakker, 11 October 2003

"Flags and Funnels of the British and Commonwealth Merchant Fleets" also shows this flag.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 16 June 2006

Version 3

[Coast Lines houseflag] image by Rob Raeside

Coast Lines Ltd. The white flag with red saltire and black "C" was adopted in 1917 when the company changed names from Powell, Bacon & Hough Lines being replaced by the striped flag, which incorporated the colours of the original three founders, in 1937 so Sampson (1957) is rather behind the times. Talbot-Booth (1938) noted the change and then for some reason proceeded to show in his WW2 books a version with a black "C" overall though again in 1944 he notes that the single "C" being replaced by "C.L." in black which is incorrect both for the colour and the dots. The company itself was taken over by P&O in 1970/1 and became their Short Sea Shipping Division.
Neale Rosanoski, 14 April 2005

Coastal Bulk Shipping

[River Bulk Shipping / Coastal Bulk Shipping houseflag] image by Eugene Ipavec, 6 March 2009

A member - as is River Bulk Shipping Ltd. - of Fourwind Holdings, Coastal Bulk Shipping is established at Rochester, Kent. Website: (jump over the regrettable insolvency notice): The house flag we know from River Bulk Shipping appears here as well.

Twelve ships, all but one British registered (the one exception being the Bahamas) carry all sorts of goods. “Delivering for Britain & Europe” - see the impressive list: The Photo Gallery has a few pictures showing the house flag in action. On that matter, see the history page
“Founded in November 1951 by Tony Lapthorn with the acquisition of the 110 tonne barge "Nellie" the Company owned the biggest coastal and short sea cargo fleet flying the British Flag trading in North West Europe. Since the Company's foundation the size and type of vessel has constantly evolved to meet the changing demands of the competitive coastal and short sea trades.”

We also note that the firm operates a little port of its own on the River Medway since 1954. As to the family business, in 2003 a new investor and major shareholder caused a change of name to ‘Fourwind Holding Ltd (formerly Lapthorn Holdings Ltd)’ whereas the ‘R Lapthorn & Co. Ltd.’ became ‘Lapthorn Shipping Ltd’. The present name was adopted on 1 Nov 2006, the ships were renamed and “the house flag colours were changed from red to green to reflect the environmentally friendly service offered by the Company in promoting the water option as an alternative to road transport”.

The former house flag (R Lapthorn & Co. Ltd.) was horizontally divided red-black-red with the yellow star in the centre stripe. The characteristic star was retained but now appears on a much less contrastive background.

This Shipspotting photo by Robert J. Smith (uploaded on 22 Jun 2008) shows ‘Hoo Swan’ (currently ‘Swallow’) “seen at Ipswich on the 17/06/06”: shows the former flag (and probably England’s). Shipspotting photo of ‘Curlew’ (made by Ian G. Hardie on 2 Aug 2008) flying the flag:

Jan Mertens, 6 March 2009

W. H. Cockerline & Co. Ltd.

[W. H. Cockerline & Co. Ltd. houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 8 March 2004

Trapezoidal flag with six white and red vertical stripes.

Coe Metcalfe Shipping Ltd.

[Coe Metcalfe Shipping Ltd. houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker, 30 November 2005

Coe Metcalfe Shipping Ltd. (Dry Cargo Vessels), Liverpool - horizontal blue-white-blue flag, in center red "C".
Source: Loughran (1995)
Jarig Bakker, 30 November 2005

Colne Shipping Co., Ltd.

[Colne Shipping Co. Ltd. houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker, 20 November 2005

Colne Shipping Co., Ltd., Lowestoft - white flag, blue "C".
Source: Loughran (1995)
Jarig Bakker, 20 November 2005

Comben Longstaff & Co. Ltd.

[Comben Longstaff & Co. Ltd. houseflag] image by Eugene Ipavec, 16 April 2009

A note on London-based British shipping company Comben Longstaff & Co. Ltd is found at Most of the comments are in fact the blurb for a book to be mentioned further on but the links are helpful: they lead us to b/w ship’s photos – the ‘Warwickbrook’ seems to fly the house flag: The same design is on the funnel of ‘Leicesterbroo[k]’:, that is to say, red field with white lozenge (touching the flag’s edges) bearing large red initials ‘CL’.

At company dates are given as 1933-1980 in book description (author K.S. Garrett), about 1/5 down on this page (url followed by quote):
“The company was notable for building some of the last steamers for the coal trade, and followed these with an attractive series of motorships (…) 180 photographs plus illustrations of flags and funnels used by the company's 136 ships.”
Jan Mertens, 13 April 2009

Joseph Constantine Steamship Line

[Joseph Constantine Steamship Line houseflag] image by James Dignan

Based on Sampson (1957)
James Dignan, 14 October 2003

Notable in that the company was involved in a lawsuit with the Imperial Smelting Corp. Ltd in which an the company was the plaintiff. The case is cited as an example of meeting the burden of proof.
Phil Nelson, 14 October 2003

[Joseph Constantine Steamship Line houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker

Although similar to the flag of Constantine Lines, Montreal (Canada), Brown (1951) has this flag with a blue C for Joseph Constantine Steamship Line, Ltd., London.
Jarig Bakker, 9 August 2004

[Joseph Constantine Steamship Line houseflag] image by Rob Raeside

Joseph Constantine Steamship Line. The version showing the blue "C" from Brown 1951 is incorrect this being the only edition from this series and the only source to so show. The correct version is that with the black "C". The company was previously known as Constantine & Pickering Steamship Co. with Lloyds 1904 showing a white flag having a white canton defined red and bearing a red cross and saltire design with in the lower field the red letters "C.&P.S.S.Co." with the "o" enhanced with Talbot-Booth in 1942 describing the cross being surmounted by a red circle as well. Constantine Lines (Canada) Ltd. was a subsidiary which became Quebec Steamship Lines Ltd. in 1948.
Neale Rosanoski, 14 April 2005

Constants Ltd.

[Constants Ltd. houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker, based on the website of the National Maritime Museum.

From the website of the National Maritime Museum, "the house flag of Constants Ltd., London. A red rectangular flag bearing a white disc in the centre with a black letter 'C' on it. The flag is made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. It has a cotton hoist and is machine sewn. A rope and toggle is attached. The hoist is inscribed 'Constants Cardiff'.

The Constant family had been Thames ship owners since the 18th century with a head office in London during the 20th century. Constants (South Wales Ltd) was formed in 1929 with an office in Cardiff. Its fleet of tramps exported coal from South Wales and imported iron ore from Northern Spain, cork, pyrites and timber from Portugal and other cargoes from the Mediterranean. The company was wound up after the war and its ships registered under the London office. During the 1950s and 1960s, a small modern fleet tramped worldwide. In 1973 the family sold the company to Dovey Shipping and Industrial Holdings Ltd, Cardiff who closed the business down in 1976.
Jarig Bakker, 5 August 2004

[Constants Ltd. houseflag] image by Rob Raeside

[Constants Ltd. houseflag] image by Rob Raeside

[Constants Ltd. houseflag] image by Rob Raeside

Constants Ltd. Lloyds 1904 shows for Joseph Constant of London a blue flag with a white design of a 2 "C"s, one being backward with Brown 1943 showing a version for the subsidiary Constants (South Wales) Ltd. with the emblem in white being displayed on a black panel edged white from a red field which was subsequently altered according to Brown 1951 to show a single "C" with subsequent sources showing the red flag with white circle and black "C".
Neale Rosanoski, 14 April 2005

Contship Containerlines

[Contship Containerlines houseflag] image by Jorge Candeias, 10 January 1998

I'm happy to confirm that the rectangle or company logo on that page is indeed a flag, as I saw it flying in front of the firm's Antwerp branch yesterday. Of course, a real maritime sighting would have been the real thing.
Jan Mertens, 19 December 2003

Thomas Coppack & Co.

(a) [Thomas Coppack & Co.] image by Joe McMillan

Thomas Coppack & Co.
Flag: Company initials in white on blue.
Source: Lloyds 1912
Joe McMillan
, 20 September 2001

This was a British family firm located in Connah's Quay in Wales originated by Captain John Coppack in 1860 and lasting until the early 1970s. Between 1910 and 1926 it went under the name of Thomas Coppack & Co. using the flag shown.
Neale Rosanoski, 1 February 2004

(b) [Thomas Coppack & Co.] image by Rob Raeside

(c) [Thomas Coppack & Co.] image by Rob Raeside

(d) [Thomas Coppack & Co.] image by Rob Raeside

Thomas Coppack & Co. This was a family firm which became Coppack Bros. & Co. in 1898 with Lloyds 1904 showing a blue pennant with the white letters (b, above). By 1910 Thomas Coppack had bought out the last of his 3 brothers becoming Thomas Coppack & Co. with the letters becoming "T.C.&Co." (c, above) which in turn apparently became the rectangular version which is shown by Lloyds 1912. In 1926 the sons of Thomas took over and the company again became Coppack Bros. & Co. changing to a blue swallowtail with white letters "C.B.&Co." (d, above) although the LJC chart of 1930 shows it as a tapered swallowtail in contrast to all other sources.
Neale Rosanoski, 14 April 2005

British Shipping lines: continued