- Voyage account books 1878-1922;
- Petrograd Steamers Ltd account book 1922-1939;
- Agreements and accounts of crew 1876-1913;
- Official log books 1904-1909;
- Photographs - ships, late 19th century- early 20th century;
- Embossing seal, early 20th century.
Records of The Petrograd Steamers Limited, shipping company, Edinburgh, Scotland
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
In Wm Thomson & Co 1878 entered into a partnership with James Jordan (Leith merchant and partner in James Miller & Co, merchants and millowners in Russia), to establish a Baltic trade route. The first ships purchased for this route were Petersburg I (in the fleet 1878-1891) and Stirling (1878-1881), followed by Czar (1879-1898) and Moscow I (1881-1890). In 1889 these ships were incorporated as The Leith and St Petersburg Shipping Company. Therafter the following ships were purchased: Moscow II (1891-1916), Petersburg II (1891-1924 but renamed Petrograd 1916), Reval (1898-1924), Cronstadt (1907-1923) and Ladoga (1914-1918). This company shared the same Leith offices as Wm Thomson & Co at 63 Constitution Street and 28 Bernard Street from about 1890, and the ships appear as owned and managed by Wm Thomson & Co in the records. Following the Russian revolution in 1917 and the death of James Jordan in 1918 it seems that Wm Thomson & Co took full control of the company. Thereafter ships purchased were Twilight (1918-1919, but renamed Onega I 1919), Cramond (1919-1921), Onega II (1920-1927), Kara (1921-1927) and Kotka (1925-1931, but renamed Benvrackie II in 1927). In 1921 the company was renamed The Petrograd Steamers Limited. Wm Thomson & Co continued to own and manage it until it was dissolved in 1941 , although in practice the Baltic business did not continue for much longer after 1918 and continued ownership appears to have been for financial reasons, with its finances being used to fund Ben Line ships. It is for this reason that Kotka was renamed as Benvrackie II in 1927, and the following ships were purchased by, and accounted for by, The Petrograd Steamers: Benmacdhui I (1923-1931), Bencruachan I (1928-1941, but sold to Ben Line 1941), Benlawers III (1930-1940), Benvannoch II (1931-1935), Bendoran II (1931-1944, but sold to Ben Line 1941) and Benrinnes II (1938-1949, but sold to Ben Line 1941). These ships, as evidenced in their naming and in the voyage account books as well as in written histories of the Thomson company, apparantly operated as part of the Ben Line fleet, and as such their records appear with the rest of the Ben Line records rather than with those of the Petrograd Steamers.
The description of the Records of the Ben Line Group Limited is divided into the following sections, each with its own separate description:
- UGC 199/1, Records of Wm Thomson & Co
- UGC 199/2, Records of The Petrograd Steamers Limited
- UGC 199/3, Records of The Ben Line Steamers Limited
- UGC 199/4, Records of Benmarine Limited
- UGC 199/5, Records of Ben Line Containers Limited
- UGC 199/6, Records of Ben Odeco Limited
- UGC 199/7, Records of Atlantic Drilling Company Limited
- UGC 199/8, Ben Line Group records
The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received
Conditions Governing Access
Gift : E G Thomson (Holdings) Ltd : June 2013 : ACCN 3773
Gift : E G Thomson (Holdings) Ltd : February 2013 : ACCN 3744
Transfer : Edinburgh University Library : June 2006 : ACCN 2949
Other Finding Aids
Digital file level list available in searchroom
Alternative Form Available
No known copies
Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements
None which affect the use of this material
Conditions Governing Use
Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.
Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents
This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 248 procedures
All Materials held by Ben Line Group Limited until it was wound down in 2000. Thereafter transfered to and held by E G Thomson (Holdings) Ltd until deposit at GUAS, with exception of ACCN 2949, containing voyage account books and voyage account boxes, which were held by Edinburgh University Library until transfer to GUAS in 2006.
Location of Originals
This material is original
Somner, G.Ben Line: Fleet List and Short History. Kendal, England: World Ship Society , 1st edition 1967 , 2nd edition 1980 .Blake, G.The Ben Line - The History of a Merchant Fleet, 1825-1955. Edinburgh: Wm Thomson & Co , 1970 .Strachan, M.The Ben Line 1825-1982. Norwich: Michael Russell , 1992 .Somner, G.Ben Line. Preston: Ships in Focus Publications , 2009 .
Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives, ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999and National Council on Archives, Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names
Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.
Fonds level description compiled by Neil Ogg, Ben Line Archive Cataloguer, 2015. Lower level description compiled by Neil Ogg, Ben Line Archive Cataloguer, 2015.