City of Cork Steampacket Company Archive Descriptive List


City of Cork Steam Packet Co Ltd

[Sources: Smyth, Hazel P, The B & I Line: A History of the British and Irish Steam Packet Company, Dublin, 1984; Kennedy, John, The History of Steam Navigation, Liverpool, 1903; Pouchin Mould, Daphne DC, Captain Roberts of the Sirius, Cork, 1988.]


The surviving records of the City of Cork Steam Packet Company Limited provide a wealth of information on the Company's management, ownership, administration, operations, staff, and vessels, particularly for the period from its creation in 1871 to its takeover in 1918, and through its existence as part of the British & Irish Steam Packet Company and the Coast Lines group of companies up to 1965. A few records of its predecessor, the City of Cork Steam Ship Company (1843- 71) also occur in the collection. These include an important set of Company letters to ships' captains [U370/F/247], some files on the Company's London and other agencies [U370/C/035] and receipts for shipment of goods on vessels including the Cormorant and the Halcyon [U370/D/020]. Also present are photographs of two vessels from that time, the Cormorant (built 1853) and the Dodo (built 1855) [U370/H/044-045]. Appendix 1 to the descriptive list outlines pre-1871 records, while Appendix 2 is a calendar of the letters to ships’ captains 1844 – 1871 in U370/F/247. These earlier records have not been separated from later Company records, but rather have been placed with similar material within relevant series, apart from one 1836 item, given a distinct series, U370/S. U370/A 'Corporate Governance' consists of records of the overall management of the Company, including articles of association from its founding, minutes and reports of its directors, and minutes, reports, and accounts from meetings of members (shareholders). This system of governing the Company was not continued after 1918, when instead the new owners placed a managing director in charge. U370/B 'Shares and Investments' documents ownership of share in the Company from 1871 to 1918, and changes in ownership, including its takeover in 1918. Files relating to shares and investments also document later share transfers, dividends, share calls, and investments. U370/C 'Administrative Files' relate primarily to the period as part of British & Irish Steam Packet Company and the Coast Lines Group, reflecting the changed recordkeeping resulting from new management structures. Within this series are files on property, financial matters, and operational issues, illustrating a wide range of Company activities, particularly in the 1920s-30s. Of particular importance are files of trade returns from the 1960s, and files relating to vessels, including files on war loss during the First and Second World Wars [U370/C/027-029]. U370/D 'Promotions and Company History' documents special promotional cruises, Company promotional literature and advertising, and notes and cuttings on Company history, largely assembled for promotional and commemorative purposes, which add much colour to the collection. U370/E 'Other Organisations' is a small but key series containing minutes and files of dealings with the Ireland and England Traffic Conference, the Great Western Railway Company, and Cork Harbour Commissioners, on the movement of goods between Britain and Ireland, c1860s to 1930s.

©Cork City and County Archives 2014

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