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Guthe & Co.

Details about Guthe & Co.

The following appeared in an issue of the Tees Packet, Journal of the Teesside Branch of the World Ship Society:

Julius Ernst Guthe was born at Leipzig, Saxony, in 1856. He came to West Hartlepool in 1875 and joined the local shipping and coal exporting firm of Cory, Lohden & Co., where he gained invaluable experience.

In 1889 he formed, with Mr. Murdoch, Guthe, Murdoch & Co., shipowners, agents and coal exporters. They purchased the steamships Brunswick, 1389 gross tons, built by W. Pickersgill in 1881, from C. Furness, and the Sara, 1642 gross tons, built by E. Withy in 1883, from W. Hamilton of Glasgow. However, this venture did not last very long, for the company was disbanded and the ships sold the following year.

At this time Mr. Guthe left the country, rumour has it to South America, but he returned in 1892 and formed J.E. Guthe & Co., purchasing the steamship Belair from Cardiff owners. In 1894 he acquired the May, also from Cardiff owners, the Croesus and Cyrus from owners in Sunderland. Christopher Furness sold him the Inchulva in the same year and also held shares in Mr. Guthe’s ships. By the end of 1895 Mr. Guthe had acquired the Agenoria from local owners Rickinsons, and the Harlyn, from London owners. In 1896 he acquired the Heighington, Ashlands and Kirkstall, all from local owners, and had also acquired shares in the Killingworth, owned by J. Sinclair of Church Street, West Hartlepool. 

From 1897 until the Guthe fleet was amalgamated with the West Hartlepool Steam Navigation Co. to form the West Hartlepool Steam Navigation Co. Ltd., a succession of newbuildings were added to the fleet. Miss Barbara Guthe launched the Barbara from Furness Withy’s yard and later Miss Annie Guthe launched the Annie from the same shipyard, both girls being daughters of Mr. Guthe. The Edenhall was built by Irvines Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. in 1898, the first ship to be launched after the yard had been extended and modernised. At this time there were two ships building on the Tyne for owners in Spain. Through the intervention and brokerage of of Christopher Furness they were acquired by Mr. Guthe and named Guildhall and Haddonhall. Again, C. Furness took a number of shares in each ship. The Whitehall had been delivered in 1897 by Craig Taylor as a further unit of the fleet.

In 1899 Mr. Guthe’s fleet was amalgamated with that of the West Hartlepool Steam Navigation Co. Ltd., with Christopher Furness as Chairman of the new company and Mr. Guthe as Managing Director.


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