The Trade Makers

BookThe Trade Makers

The Trade Makers

Elder Dempster in West Africa, 1852-1972, 1973-1989

Research in Maritime History, 19


January 2nd, 2000



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This journal reprints the history of the Elder Dempster company by Peter N. Davies, from 1852-1972, originally published in 1973. It includes an additional chapter, also by Peter Davies, on the history of the company from 1973-1989, covering its decline and final years. The purpose is to describe and analyse the economic history of the Elder Dempster shipping company and its predecessors, plus an account of West African and British economic backgrounds. The journal is divided into five parts, each concerning a different era in the company’s history. Part 1 covers the formation of the African Steam Ship Company (which would eventually merge and become Elder Dempster); Part 2 covers the expansion of Elder Dempster and the partnership with Alfred Lewis Jones; Part 3 explores major historical events and their impact on Elder Dempster, including the Great War, the transition from war to peace, and the end of the Royal Mail group; Part 4 concerns the establishment of Elder Dempster Lines Limited, the emergence of successful rival companies, the Second World War and post-war reconstruction, and prediction for the company for the 1970s and beyond, as this part concluded the first edition of the history; Part 5 is a retrospective look at the 1970s and 1980s, and tracks the decline of Elder Dempster.