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Details about Ford

Charles Ford was a shipbroker, merchant and shipowner. He was in partnership with William Thompson under the name Thompson, Ford & Co., until the company was dissolved in January 1896. They owned the steamers Conniscliffe and Sandal which were both built at Hartlepool.

Having offices at 68 Church Street, West Hartlepool, besides larger steamships C.H. Ford owned and managed steam trawlers all built by Edward Bros, North Shields. Four of these were the Annie, Marion, Calabria and Catania. The two former were sold in 1899 and the two latter were sold to Dutch owners in 1903 and registry was transferred to Holland. In 1896 Ford purchased a one third share in the barque Mathilda which had been built in Sundsvall in 1873. The other two thirds were owned by the skipper Johan Peter Lundgren. In 1889 Charles purchased the 269g wood brig Lizzie & Edith which had been built in Italy in 1872. On a voyage from Sunderland for Southampton with a cargo of coal & a crew of eight she stranded off Eccles, Palling, Norfolk in a force 9 ENE gale on 13 February 1900. Four lives were lost.

Janne Svensson of Sweden became acquainted with the shipbroker Ford and they went into business together. Starting in 1898 they had nine steamers in their fleet. To reduce operating costs the ships were ‘flagged’ out to Landskrona, Sweden where J.P. Jönsson officially stood as the owner. This explains why the ship’s flag used by Ford and Jönsson are the same. Names used by the company included Rederi A/B Lizzie, Rederi A/B Groveland and Rederi A/B Grovehurst. The company's board included, amongst others; Janne’s brothers Nils Petter and Janne Lundh, and Christian Larsson from Arild.

The company’s first ship was the Hartlepool built Lizzie. She was sold in 1901 and replaced by a steamer of the same name. The second Lizzie was built in Norway in 1901. She was sold in 1915 and was wrecked in 1933.

The company also had two ships named Arthur both built at Hartlepool. The first Arthur was owned between 1899 and 1906. The second was purchased in 1908.

In 1905 they purchased the steamer Arab which had been built at Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1901. she was sold in 1914 and was lost to a torpedo in 1917. In 1913 the steamer Tudhoe was purchased from Furness, Withy & Co. She had been built at Sunderland in 1906. She was sold in 1915 and was eventually broken up in 1957.

When WW1 breaks out in the summer of 1914, because the company’s ships routes were mainly between England and Sweden, Ford decided there would be difficulties maintaining trade so decided to sell the vessels. This was done by the following year.

Family History:

Charles Henry Ford was born at Hartlepool in July 1862 to parents Peter and Mary Ann (nee Curbut) Ford. When he was 18 he was living at Stranton with his widowed mother and was working as a clerk. He married Elizabeth Roberts at Stockton in 1890. In 1891 they had a son, Reginald, who, sadly, only lived for 3 months. In June 1893 their son Arthur Llewelyn Ford was born. Charles became Vice-Consul for the Netherlands. In 1911 the family were living at Wooler Road, West Hartlepool. In about 1919 Charles purchased the 216 bedroom Grand Hotel in Harrogate from Lord Furness.

Arthur L. Ford, Charles’s son, joined the King’s Liverpool Regiment and was killed in action on 27th September 1915 in France at the age of 22.

Charles died aged 59 at the Imperial Nursing Home, Harrogate on 29th September 1921 leaving effects of £174,259. He was interred at Harlow Cemetery, Harrogate.


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