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The Growth and Dissolution of a Large-Scale Business EnterpriseThe Furness Interest, 1892-1919$
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Gordon Boyce

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780986497391

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780986497391.001.0001

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Furness' Shipping Services: Growth by Organic Means in the 1880s

Furness' Shipping Services: Growth by Organic Means in the 1880s

(p.15) Chapter 1 Furness' Shipping Services: Growth by Organic Means in the 1880s
The Growth and Dissolution of a Large-Scale Business Enterprise

Gordon Boyce

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the growth of the Furness Group’s shipping services during the 1880s. It begins with an overview of British foreign trade between 1870 and 1901, citing population growth and rising incomes as reasons for the huge rise in imports. It explores the advantages of British shipping over international competitors, which included the trebling of the merchant fleet, activity in the well-established Baltic trade, and the capacity for steamship construction. It then considers Christopher Furness’ shipping activity from the 1891 establishment of the Furness Group and onwards. By studying the changing composition of Furness’ accessible resources and the economic conditions facing the shipping industry, it determines the specific routes chosen out of the multiple options developing in the expanding global trade. It concludes in the 1890s and states that unlike other shipowning companies in the era, which had begun consolidating ownership but not at a tremendous rate, Furness commanded eighty-four percent of the Furness Group which gave him a debt-free platform and the capacity to support further growth in shipping operations.

Keywords:   Nineteenth Century Shipowning, Nineteenth Century British Shipping, International Shipping, British Steamships

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