Scope and Content

The Coast Boats Ownery records listed below chiefly concern the individual steamers of the fleet and in particular the documents resulting from accidents in which they were involved. The full accounts of 1875-1884 are especially valuable showing the earnings from freight and passage money and disbursements for the steamers

Administrative / Biographical History

The Coast Boats Ownery [CBO] was established in 1874 on the initiative of John Samuel Swire with capital supplied jointly by John Scott and H J Butterfield and Butterfield & Swire [B&S] appointed as agents. Initially two steamers, the FOOCHOW and SWATOW (built as the WILLIAM and THERESA BATTERS) were purchased for the China coast trade, as complements to the Yangtze River trade of the China Navigation Company [CNCo]. In 1876 the TIENTSIN and CHEFOO were completed and by 1879 the NEWCHWANG and WENCHOW had been added to the fleet. The main trade of the CBO was in beans and beancake from Newchwang [Yingkou] to Swatow [Shantou] and Amoy [Xiamen], although the trade expanded to include a wider range of cargo and the firm proved financially successful up to 1883. Then the CBO was absorbed into China Navigation Company [CNCo], continuing as the Coastal Steamers section of CNCo with an increased fleet and in 1884 expanding into the Australian line

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Paper handlist available

Archivist's Note


Conditions Governing Use

Copying for personal research purposes is permitted. Please contact the archivist for all publication requests.

Copyright is owned by John Swire & Sons, Ltd, 59 Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6AJ

Related Material

Related MaterialThe formation of the company, policies and management, and the amalgamation with CNCo are covered from the London side in JSSI 1/2-6 and, rather less extensively, from the East in JSSI 2/2 & 3; 15 & 16. Correspondence concerning the purchase of the first two CBO ships can be found in JSSI 4/2