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British shipping companies (H)

Last modified: 2021-05-29 by rob raeside
Keywords: shipping lines |
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Robert Hastie & Sons

[Robert Hastie & Sons houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 26 April 2021

Robert Hastie migrated to North Shields from Scotland some time between 1873 and 1875. He began his career there as a fisherman, with his elder brother, William, but by 1894 had established a business as a ships chandler at Dawson's Quay, North Shields, trading as Robert Hastie and Sons. His sons Alexander, William and Robert followed him in the business which had diversified to include engineering by 1915. By that date the business had moved to Union Quay, North Shields and the engineering was carried on at Low Lights.
The National Archives

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of Robert Hastie & Sons (#730, p. 71) as white with a red fish framed in a blue rectangle.
Ivan Sache, 26 April 2021

Hathor Steamship Company, Ltd.

(H.B. & A. Gourlay)

[Hathor Steamship Company, Ltd. houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 28 April 2021

Steamship "Hathor" used to sail between England and South America. Laden with coffee in Rio de Janeiro, the ship was caught during the night of 21 March 1909 in a violent storm that drive it again the rocky coast of Ilhabela. It took three days to the crew to leave the ship using a Tyrolan traverse; they were eventually rescued by local fishers.
Naufrágios do Brasil

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of Hathor Steamship Company, Ltd. (H.B. & A. Gourlay) (#915, p. 80), a London-based company, as white with a thin red horizontal stripe on top and bottom and a green triangle in the center.
Ivan Sache, 28 April 2021

John R. Haws & Co.

[John R. Haws & Co.houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 28 April 2021

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of John R. Haws & Co. (#936, p. 81), a Liverpool-based company, as blue with a white "H" inscribed in a blue diamond bordered in white.
Ivan Sache, 28 April 2021

Hay & Co.

[Hay & Co. houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 6 March 2004

British shipping companies (H). Hay & Co. This company no longer exists having been formed in 1844 In Lerwick, Shetland Islands and in its time involved in shipowning, boat building. Fishing and whaling, ship agency and sundry other things. In 1922 it changed its name to Hay & Co. (Lerwick) Ltd. [its old website ignores this and just claims to be Hay & Co.] and became part of John Fleming & Co. Ltd. before being sold in 1999 to OBC Group and becoming OBC Hay. The flag image is apparently based on the flag logo which can be seen at
Neale Rosanoski, 14 October 2013 

J. Hay & Sons

[J. Hay & Sons houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 4 May 2021

Based on Sampson (1957)
James Dignan, 12 October 2003

Based in Glasgow, Scotland
Phil Nelson, 12 October 2003

British shipping companies (H). J. Hay & Sons. Formed about 1862 as J. Hay & Sons and later becoming J. Hay & Sons Ltd., the company was taken over by F.T. Everard & Sons Ltd. in 1956 although it continued to be shown in Lloyds up until the start of the 1980s. I would imagine that use of its livery gradually ended. However the colour on its flag was blue for the bands and "H", not red. Blue is shown by all other sources [editions of Lloyds, Griffin, Brown, Talbot Booth and LJC] as I note in my comment of 15.6.2004 and since then I have acquired a copy of Sampson. In fairness to James there is no code given for the B&W hatchings but I have checked them against other flags shown and confirmed that unlike the only code shown, which is on p.273 which is for national ensigns, and which show a solid colour for blue, elsewhere horizontal lines equal blue whilst in all cases vertical lines equal red – and they are horizontal lines for this flag.
Neale Rosanoski, 14 October 2013 

J. Hay & Sons Ltd of Kirkintilloch were both boat builders and operators on the Forth and Clyde Canal which linked the rivers Clyde in the West and the Forth in the east. It wasn't too long before their operations extended out onto the Clyde and the west coast and Hebridean Islands.
Starting with a fleet of horse-drawn scows transporting coal, iron, timber and grain on the canal, in around 1857 Hay fitted some of his scows with simple non-condensing steam engines driving a single screw and also in 1857 took delivery of the first ever steam screw lighter to be built as such from scratch. This vessel, named "Glasgow", was built by David Swan at his Kelvin Dock yard on the canal.
In 1867 William's two sons, James and John, took over the floundering boatbuilding business of Crawfords in Kirkintilloch and put it to work maintaining the family's fleet of canal boats. In 1879 they went into the business of operating coastal steamers on their own account with James running that side of the business and John continuing to manage the yard. They soon turned to building their own vessels and the "Helena" was launched that same year. In the ensuing decade the yard launched eleven vessels, ten for themselves and one, "Aniline" for a Falkirk owner. New-builds were launched broadside into the canal.
In 1888 the firm of J Hay & Sons Ltd was formally constituted by John Hay to run the coasting business. Shortly afterwards he took over the shipbuilding side of the business and renamed it J & J Hay Ltd. In the period from then until the start of WW1, the company built 14 vessels for its own fleet. In 1917 the yard was awarded an Admiralty contract for some barges with tanks for the carriage of oil from Grangemouth on the Forth to Bowling on the Clyde. Just as the work was completed the admiralty decided to lay a pipeline instead.
In 1921 the two companies were merged into J. Hay & Sons Ltd and in the inter-war years the company became the principal operator on the canal. During WW2, only three vessels were built at Kirkintilloch: VIC18, the Kaffir and the Boer. Their final build was the 1946 Chindit, for their own fleet.
Hay's shipyard at Kirkintilloch was demolished in 1954 although the slipway remained in use for ship repairs until 1961. During this time Hay required a reputation for rebuilds of salvaged lighters. As a vessel-operating company only by now, J & J Hay merged with G&G Hamilton in 1963 to form Hay-Hamilton Ltd, who in turn amalgamated with Ross & Marshall in 1969 to form Glenlight Shipping.

Alasdair MacKenzie

Lloyd's Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of J. Hay & Sons (# 1887, p. 126) as swallow-tailed, white with a thin horizontal blue stripe at the top and bottom, charged in the center with a blue "H".
Ivan Sache, 4 May 2021

British Shipping lines: continued