The Growth and Dissolution of a Large- Scale Business Enterprise

BookThe Growth and Dissolution of a Large- Scale Business Enterprise

The Growth and Dissolution of a Large- Scale Business Enterprise

The Furness Interest, 1892-1919

Research in Maritime History, 49


January 1st, 2012



Other Formats



This book is an in-depth case study of the Furness Withy and Co Shipping Group, which operated both tramp and liner services and was one of the five major British shipping groups of the early twentieth century. It demonstrates how British shipowners of this period generated success by exploring Christopher Furness’ career in relation to the social, political, and cultural currents during a time of tremendous shipping growth in Britain and the establishment of some of the largest shipping firms in the world. It approaches the study from three angles. The first analyses how the Furness Group expanded its shipping activities and became involved with the industrial sector. The second illustrates the organisational and financial structure of the enterprise. Finally, the Group’s leadership and entrepreneurship is scrutinised and placed within the wider context of twentieth century British business. The case study begins in 1870, with an introduction explaining how Christopher Furness came to join the family company, Thomas Furness and Co. in order develop services, expand, and instigate the changes and mergers that brought the Furness Group into existence. There are thirteen chronologically presented chapters, a bibliography, and seven appendices of data including an ownership timeline, tonnage statistics, acquisitions, a list of maritime associates, and a timeline of Christopher Furness’ life. The book concludes in 1919 with the de-merging of the Furness Group’s shipping and industrial holdings, the resignation of the Furness family from the company’s board, the sale of their shares, and the move into managing the firm’s industrial interests.