The Anchor Line of Steamships

The Anchor Line of Steamships, Messrs. Henderson Brothers, Owners, 47, Union Street, and London, Liverpool, New York, and Boston.—

    The actual existence of the extensive and most successful service of ocean steamships now so widely and favourably known as the Anchor Line, may be traced back as far as 1852, in which year the firm of Messrs. Handy side & Co., of Glasgow, owned and controlled a few vessels of moderate tonnage, engaged, chiefly in the Mediterranean fruit trade. This small mercantile service of cargo vessels was the nucleus around which has grown up one of the most notable of the great British passenger and freight steamship lines of the present day. In 1853 Mr. Thomas Henderson, now principal of the firm of Anchor Line owners, accepted a partnership in the house of Handyside & Co., and undertook the special charge of the shipping department.

    The first service started was between Glasgow and New York direct, and this line has been carried on ever since with marked and constantly growing success. Messrs. Handyside & Henderson soon established a special system of steamship accommodation designed to meet in the most effectual manner the requirements of emigrants from all parts of Europe; and this was speedily followed by the institution of a line from Glasgow to the Mediterranean. In 1886 Mr. R. B. Handyside retired from the business, and in 1873 the style of the firm was altered to Henderson Brothers. They wisely recognised the splendid possibilities of their Mediterranean, enterprise, and developed their service in that branch so that it now provides an unsurpassed medium of cargo and passenger communication between Glasgow and the ports of Lisbon, Gibraltar, Leghorn, Genoa, Naples, Messina, Palermo, Trieste, Venice, and Marseilles. Direct departures at stated intervals are also now in operation between the principal Mediterranean ports and New York by means of the Anchor Line steamers.

    Messrs. Henderson Brothers, in 1875, established a series of regular bi-monthly sailings between Glasgow and Bombay and Calcutta, via the Suez Canal. The success of this undertaking has been assured from the first. The Anchor Line fleet now consists of upwards of forty first-class steamships of a gross tonnage of close upon 125,000, a gross horsepower of 60,000, and a total crew-complement of 3,500 men. Most of these steamers are Clyde-built and engined ; many are of exceptional size and capacity, and all are magnificent specimens of modem high-class naval architecture. The monarch of the fleet is the mighty City of Rome, of 8,144 gross tonnage and 12,000 horse-power. This giant among modem passenger vessels is in every respect a triumph of nineteenth-century ship structure, and is the largest and one of the most magnificently appointed steamships at present crossing the Atlantic. Another fine steamer, selected from the many appertaining to this admirably organized fleet, is the Furnessia, of 5,495 gross tonnage, a vessel of unsurpassed elegance of equipment and high capacities in speed and accommodation.

    The cuisine of the Anchor Line is famous for its excellence, liberality, and variety ; and in the matter of passage rates the line compares favourably with any other first-class organization of its kind. The ships of the Anchor Line are officered by men of high trustworthiness and sound experience, and their careful consideration of passengers’ comfort and convenience is one of the most creditable features noticeable in connection with this excellent organization. The administration of all the affairs of the several important and far-reaching services they control is nothing short of perfection as carried out by Messrs. Henderson Brothers ; and under the capable and skilful guidance of this experienced and always progressive firm the eminent prosperity and popularity of the Anchor Line to-day are but the natural outcome of energies well-directed, reputation worthily sustained, and all possibilities honourably accomplished.

Back to Index of Firms (1888)