Scottish Shire Line


Turnbull, Martin & Company / Scottish Shire Line


Turnbull, Martin and Co was set up in Glasgow by James Turnbull. He transferred his ship Sandringham into the new company

The first 2 ships built for the company were Ayrshire and Buteshire.


The partners in Turnbull, Martin joined with other Glasgow investors to set up the Elderslie Steam Ship Co Ltd to enter the New Zealand trade, managed by Turnbull and Martin


The name Shire Line was first used on sailings on the Glasgow/Liverpool/Manchester/London – Cape Town – Australia – New Zealand route.


Turnbull and Martin had phased out their 6 tramp steamers and ceased to own vessels directly.


The joint Federal-Houlder-Shire Line was formed.


The combined fleet consisted of 7 Shire, 4 Houlder and 11 Federal ships plus 2 ships chartered from British India.


Clan Line acquired a controlling interest in Shire Line.  

Elderslie was taken over by a new company, Scottish Shire Line Ltd. Cayzer, Irvine and Co Ltd acquired a controlling interest in the new company, the balance of the shares being held by ex-Elderslie shareholders. Turnbull, Martin became the managers.



General trading.


Glasgow / Manchester / Liverpool / London - Las Palmas - Dakar - Cape Town - Adelaide - Melbourne - Sydney - Auckland - Wellington - Lyttelton - Port Chalmers - Cape Town - London - Continent - Glasgow / Liverpool / Manchester.

British India Line routes:

UK - Suez - Cairns - Townsville - Gladstone - Brisbane.


Clan Line routes: East and South African services.


1877-1930 Yellow

1930- Black with two red bands

divided by narrow black band.

(as Clan Line)


Federal was taken over by New Zealand Shipping Co. Houlder withdrew from the combined group; the service became Federal & Shire Line, until it was cancelled on the outbreak of WW1.


Cayzer, Irvine and Co purchased Turnbull, Martin and the balance of the shares in Shire.

By 1918

The Shire Line was operating as part of the Clan Line, although their ships retained their own naming system and livery.

Transfers between the companies were common and in 1956. the British & Commonwealth Shipping Co. was formed by the merger of the Clan and Union-Castle groups (see Clan Line history).

By 1967 the company had disappeared as a separate entity.



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