The Donaldson Shipping Line

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Donaldson Shipping Line

Recently catalogued is material which The Ballast Trust had received from William Lind in connection with the Donaldson Shipping Line. It contains private papers, legal documents and private and company photographs, many of which were used in the centenary history The Donaldson Line by Alastair M. Dunnett (Glasgow: 1960). It will be given to the Glasgow City Archives at the Mitchell Library in due course and added to their Donaldson Line archive (Pressmarks TD49/127-TD49/294).

The Donaldson Line
The Donaldson brothers, John and William, began working together in the 1850s as ship-brokers and eventually turned to ship owners with their first ship the wooden sailing barque Joan Taylor, named after the Captain’s niece, in 1858. The brothers were to become very successful and wealthy as they exploited the new South American trade markets. As the company expanded they moved into providing both passenger and cargo shipping, such as opening major routes to Canada. 
Logging and paper making Newfoundland, Canada. The lower right
photo shows rolls of paper being loaded onto the SS Tritonia.
Photograph Album TD49/262. 
The company acquired other lines and developed subsidiary companies. Though after the Second World War they continued their passenger and cargo lines, decline was beginning to set in due to the increased passenger air transport and the containerisation of cargo. Ultimately the Line went into liquidation in 1967. 

This additional material contains many documents related to the forming and merging of the various Donaldson companies between 1920 and 1949, including the various proposals, financial summaries and share allocations.

TSS Saturnia postcard
Photograph Album TD49/263
Of course there is a good deal of ship information. Original documents are present giving costs and specifications of various vessels between 1860 and 1870; and ship records and log books between 1885 and 1918. There are also specific logs for the Donaldson’s first vessel, Joan Taylor (1858-59), the Astarte (1870-71), and the Colorado (1872-79). There are over 50 photographs of various vessels, two photograph albums, and over 30 photographs of events and people. There are also plans with specifications of a selection of vessels, including a line drawing of the steamship Colina (I) built in 1872.

Menu from the TSS Saturnia 1913
Photograph Album TD49/263
Ship events, newspaper cuttings and other ephemera are also in the collection, including postcards that passengers could send during their voyages. The example is from the steamship Saturnia built in 1910. It sailed between the Clyde and  Canada - Portland, Me., or Saint John, N.B., and Halifax, N.S. in the winter. It carried 250 cabin passengers and 950 emigrants. It hit an iceberg in 1921 homeward bound off the Newfoundland Coast but was able to complete the voyage. It was sold as a whale factory ship in 1928.

Additionally there are notes and proof copies of the centenary history, including examples of the coloured photoengraved plates from Gilchrist Brothers Ltd., printers in Leeds. 
Stephen Hall
Maranon c1868: Photoengraved image
Photograph Album TD49/263

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  3. Nice post! Impressive entrepreneurial journey! The Donaldson brothers' transition from ship-brokers to successful ship owners highlights their astute business acumen. Their venture into new trade markets and expansion into passenger and cargo shipping showcases their pioneering spirit and lasting impact on the maritime industry.
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