John Reeves Ellerman: entrepreneur or empire builder?

McCleave, Peter Richard (2003) John Reeves Ellerman: entrepreneur or empire builder? MLitt(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b2142255

Abstract

This work discusses Sir John Reeves Ellerman's career and shows how he translated inherent skills which were apparent at an early age into financial acumen. This resulted in his becoming not only a major shipowner, but a powerful figure in publishing, breweries and property. The genesis of Ellerman lies in his apprenticeship as an accountant, and a legacy firom his maternal grandfather, which gave him ready resources. This led swiftly to a period during which he was building up business as an accountant, an auditor and a company promoter. Over the next three or four years Ellerman made useful acquaintances in finance, breweries, commerce and industry; which developed into a network of colleagues and which formed the foundation of later successes in his eclectic spheres of operation. In 1891 Ellerman participated in the incorporation of the shipping company Frederick Leyland (1891) Ltd. Within a year he was chairman of the company, and took it firom strength to strength while acquiring two other shipping lines. In 1901 Ellerman sold all his ordinary shares—with which went control of Leyland Line—to J.P. Morgan and his embryo International Merchant Marine. Part of the agreement of sale was that Ellerman would not take any interest in the Atlantic trade for fourteen years; if he wished to continue in shipping he had to find other areas of opportunity. Ellerman bought back the Leyland Mediterranean steamers from IMM complete with managements, crews and trades. He then, in rapid succession, acquired two short-sea and two deep-sea companies—all with their own ancillary services. Ellerman formed Ellerman Lines Limited, which totally owned all the shipping subsidiaries. The majority of ordinary shares in the new company were owned by Ellerman and his immediate colleagues, with the result that three directors and one secretary effectively ran the whole group. Over the next decade, Ellerman built up and modernised his fleets. In 1913 he acquired Bucknall Lines as a wholly owned subsiduary and increased the nominal capital of Ellerman Lines Ltd to £3.500,000. His last purchase, of Wilson Line of Hull in 1916 brought total ownership of some 200 ships. Elleman died in 1933, leaving almost £40,000,000 and a memory which lasted among seafarers until the 1970s. It is believed that this work has contributed to the spread of knowledge by explaining those areas of his life hitherto considered as being most obscure.

Item Type: Thesis (MLitt(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Economic and Social History
Supervisor's Name: Munro, Prof. J. Forbes
Date of Award: 2003
Depositing User: Mrs Marie Cairney
Unique ID: glathesis:2003-81753
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2020 12:49
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2020 12:49
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/81753

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