Papers of Jeffrey Robert Fewlass

Scope and Content

This collection contains both personal and business papers predominantly relating to Jeffrey Robert Fewlass, with some papers relating to his father, James Robert Fewlass.

The business papers include items relating to Ellerman's Wilson Line (EWL), Ellerman's Lines Ltd. and Humber Airways Ltd. (HAL). The papers relating to EWL and Ellerman's Lines Ltd. contain correspondence and circulars relating to ship launches, work invitations, cargo and docking instructions, staff salaries and appointments, EWL hosting the Hull Area Final of the Miss Anglia Contest (1968), EWL agents in Spain and Jeffrey Fewlass' involvement in the war game Exercise Breakthrough (1967-1973). There are also items relating to ship launches, running costs and particulars of vessels as well as Visitors Books for various EWL ships; items relating to staff organisation, appointments, salaries and insurance schemes; an almost complete run of the EWL journal The Green Hull (1965-1975); copies of Ellermans: On Shore and Afloat, journal of Ellerman Lines (1971-1973); timetables and other promotional leaflets for particular shipping lines; various newspaper cuttings relating to the companies; EWL branded personal work diaries (1965-1974); promotional products including leaflets and calendars; examples of onboard ship passenger information leaflets, passenger tickets, boarding passes and baggage labels as well as an incomplete set of Secretarial and other reports (1948-1968) for the Wilson Line Athletic Club with related items.

The papers relating to HAL include general correspondence and circulars; minutes of the meetings of directors (1969); various operational papers; two small work diaries; black and white photographs of the HAL offices (1970); flight timetables, passenger tickets and baggage labels; advertising leaflets and other promotional material as well as newspaper cuttings relating to the company.

Jeffrey Fewlass' personal papers include correspondence with his wife, Christmas cards and invitations; items relating to formal dinners hosted by the Hull Incorporated Chamber of Commerce & Shipping and the Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom, as well as copies of Jeffrey Fewlass' school reports (1939-1943).

There is also a substantial amount of correspondence, handwritten research and lecture notes and other items relating to Jeffrey Fewlass' degree in Regional and Local History taken at the University of Hull. The majority of the material relates to the Second World War blockade runners between Britain and Sweden. There is also a copy of his coursework essay entitled 'The History of Airfields and Aviation in the East Riding of Yorkshire 1910-1993'.

The material relating to James Fewlass includes business papers relating to his employment at EWL as well as general personal correspondence, personal insurance policies and items relating to his children's schooling.

Administrative / Biographical History

Jeffrey Robert Fewlass was born in Hull on 21 March 1927 and was educated at Hymers College. He joined Ellerman's Wilson Line (EWL) in 1944, where his father James Robert Fewlass was Chairman and Managing Director. He then completed a short six month university course in Edinburgh before serving two and half years with the Royal Artillery, returning to the firm in 1948. Through the course of his career at EWL he held many different positions including Manager of Mediterranean Trades, Divisional Director of Marketing and Sales, Director of Humber Airways Ltd (HAL) in 1968, Deputy General Manager of EWL in 1968 and General Manager in 1969. During his time at EWL, Jeffrey Fewlass also acted as a Vice-President of the Wilson Line Athletic Club. He married June Patricia Tong on 30 June 1953 and they had two daughters. He died in 2000.

James Robert Fewlass was born in 1892 in Hull and was educated at Westbourne Street School. He initially joined Hodgson and Harris accountants in 1907 before joining EWL as Assistant Chief Accountant in 1931. Promotions followed in quick succession with appointments to Secretary (1933), Assistant General Manager (1934), General Manager (1946) and finally Managing Director and Chairman in 1950. During World War I he served four years with the Royal Artillery and during World War II he acted as Deputy Shipping Representative of the Ministry of Transport for the Humber and Wash Ports. At the time of his death, on 14 February 1959, he was chairman of eight companies and a director of several others. He married Minnie Strodder in 1916 and had two sons, James William Barwick (1919-2002) and Jeffrey Robert (1927-2000) both of whom worked for EWL.

Founded in the late 19th century, Ellerman Lines was a cargo and passenger shipping company. Operating from various ports around the UK, with the purchase of the Wilson Line of Hull in 1916, the name was changed to Ellerman's Wilson Line and a particular focus was placed on shipping from Hull. The company endured major setbacks and losses during the two world wars but managed to regain its strength in numbers soon after. From the 1960s onwards EWL began to suffer from increasing competition and modernisation and eventually the company was sold in 1983, swapping hands several times until the name was finally dropped in 2004. Please see the catalogue for the Archives of Ellerman's Wilson Line (U DEW) for further information about the history of Ellerman's Wilson Line.

Hull Airways Ltd. was formed by EWL after the purchase of a Grimsby based air-taxi service in 1968. Jeffrey Robert Fewlass became director of the new company and by 1970 a Hull-London service had been established. The company flew Britten Norman Islanders from a small airfield at Brough to Leavesden. Further expansion of the service was halted, however, by the construction of a 600ft chimney at the Capper Pass works near Brough.


U DJF/1 Business Papers - EWL

U DJF/1/1 Correspondence

U DJF/1/2 Ships and Shipping

U DJF/1/3 Staff Records

U DJF/1/4 Published Material

U DJF/1/5 Diaries

U DJF/1/6 Photographs, promotional and passenger information material

U DJF/1/8 Wilson Line Athletic Club

U DJF/2 Business Papers - HAL

U DJF/2/1 Correspondence, diaries and related business papers

U DJF/2/2 Photographs, promotional and passenger information material

U DJF/3 Personal Papers of Jeffrey Robert Fewlass

U DJF/4 Research Papers of Jeffrey Robert Fewlass

U DJF/5 Papers of James Robert Fewlass (father of Jeffrey Robert Fewlass)

Access Information

Some of the records in this collection contain sensitive personal information. Those records containing the sensitive personal data information of adults are not available for public inspection for 75 years. Those records containing the sensitive personal data information of children are not available for public inspection for 100 years. This is in accordance with Section 41 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Closed items are identified at item level.

Access to all other items will be granted to any accredited reader.

Other Finding Aids

A copy of this catalogue can also be found via the Hull History Centre's online catalogue.

Custodial History

Donated by Mrs June Fewlass, Welton, widow of Jeffrey Fewlass, 15 Nov 2000

Related Material

Other collections containing items relating to Ellerman's Wilson Line are held at the Hull History Centre:

Archives of Ellerman's Wilson Line [U DEW]

Material relating to the Ellerman Wilson line and company [U DX368]

'The Green Hull' [L.387.2]

Other repositories:

Artefacts, photographs and other Wilson Line ephemera, Hull Maritime Museum [GB 0323]