The history of the great shipping groups of the nineteenth century is about family dynasties, business acumen, investment, risk taking and entrepreneurial skills. It is about everything that epitomises the Victorian age. Men of vision identified market trends and gaps in the provision of shipping services throughout the world. They were responsible for initiating routes that were that were to develop and blossom providing them with excellent returns on their original investment. The main British shipping lines in this book, including among others Brocklebank, Cunard, Blue Funnel, Booth, Elder Dempster, Ellerman, Hall Lines, Lamport Holt and Cayzer, Irvine had their origins in Liverpool, once the premier port in the United Kingdom. Head offices were located in Merseyside as were many ancillary departments. Over the past four decades the shape of British Shipping has changed and some of the established shipping lines that had been in business since Victorian times did not survive and many of the names in this book are now a memory of a different age.
Others have been taken over by larger groups and their names have gradually vanished from the shipping records as their ships have been replaced or renamed. It was difficult to imagine in the 1960s that the shipping scene would change so dramatically in such a relatively period. Liverpool's Shipping Groups is a celebration of a period that will not be forgotten by anyone with an interest in ships and the sea.