Lamport & Holt Line History and Ephemera
South America, between which and the United States ply many vessels of that famous line, Lamport & Holt, Ltd., presents many great features of enterprise and study for manufacturers and tourists alike. With the general conditions in Europe so hopelessly paralyzed attention has become focused on South America as a customer of this country's many and varied commodities and also as a new ground for the tourist or pleasure seeker.
- Steamship Line: Lamport & Holt Line
- Class of Passengers: First Class
- Date of Departure: 9 July 1914
- Route: Buenos Aires to New York via Montevideo, Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Bahia (Salvador), Trinidad (Port of Spain), and Barbados (Bridgetown)
- Commander: Captain A. Codogan.
Lamport & Holt Tour Brochure for a two-month cruise to South America onboard the SS Vandyck stopping at Barbados, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Santos, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, and Trinidad. Passengers would travel in their Tourist Third Cabin.
Coincident with the desire to become acquainted with that country is the desire to know about the transportation to it. In times past the general route was by way of Europe, rather a tedious journey.
However, today the elegant, large, commodious, up-to-date steamers of the Lamport & Holt Line have entirely eliminated all such inconveniences. These steamers are spacious and possess comforts superior to many of the regular transatlantic liners in addition to the most modern traveling conveniences for the tropics.
This line operates a direct service from New York to the principal ports of South America by the splendid I2,000-ton twin-screw steamers Vestris and Vauban, and the popular Vasari also 12,000 tons, Voltaire, 11,000 tons, Verdi, Byron, and Tennyson.
These steamers are luxuriously fitted and offer accommodations equal to those found in the best hotels. Ships regularly sail from New York and the approximate length of passage to various ports is as follows:
From New York to Barbados, six days; from Barbados to Bahia, eight days; from Bahia to Rio de Janeiro, three days; from Rio de Janeiro via Santos and Montevideo to Buenos Aires, five days; total, about twenty-two days, New York to Buenos Aires.
From Buenos Aires the passenger can proceed to the West Coast by the Transandine Railway and return to New York via the Panama Canal Route, having thereby practically encircled the entire South American continent.
The passenger, having been allowed the choice of landing for a few days in each port called at, will have seen much beautiful scenery and fantastic opportunities for commerce, and also acquired the knowledge that in the southern hemisphere there live people who are just as enterprising as those in the northern hemisphere.
Those who have not made this trip cannot appreciate all that may be said, as words fail to express the wonders of that beautiful country of palms, mountains, and natural wealth of variegated foliages.
For health-seekers or merchants on business trips, this furnishes a delightful and recuperative rest at sea, the voyage from New York to South America by the Lamport & Holt Line being a real holiday.
It not only provides a change of climate but a change of seasons, starting in the north temperate zone and steaming through the entire torrid area, with appropriate ceremonies while crossing the equator, and ending in the south temperate zone in a season the reverse of that left in the United States, it being mid-winter here when mid-summer in South America.
Health and vigor live in every breeze during this great Atlantic cruise, for a journey it really is, when the route, steamer, ports of call, and duration of stops are taken into consideration. No sea voyage is so highly beneficial to the traveler for pleasure, health, or business.
The distance from New York to Buenos Aires is nearly 7,000 miles. How few stop to think that this land of spacious prairies lies so far away. A line drawn through the map due south from New York would show almost the entire continent to be to the east of that line and Buenos Aires to be in the same latitude as the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa.
The English-speaking traveler will find that his native tongue will carry him comfortably about the coast ports, and in the inland parts, it is sufficiently understood to enable the tourist to “get through.”
Thus the language difficulty is practically non-existent, although a slight knowledge of Spanish will be found very useful. Throughout Brazil, it should be remembered, Portuguese is the language so that salesmen to be successful will have to speak it, and their literature will have to be printed in it. Spanish will not do for Brazil, although it is the language of all the rest of Latin America.
Tourists who speak Italian will find it easy to make themselves understood. About one-fourth of the people of Buenos Aires, the largest city in South America, use it. In most South American cities, there is a large percentage of Italians.
After leaving New York the first call is at Barbados, where the tourist may enjoy a run ashore for a few hours. After which the steamer sails for the real scenery of South America.
Bahia is the first port on the southward course. This quaint, old-fashioned Portuguese city was long the capital of Brazil and consisted of an upper town on the bluffs and a lower town on the narrow strip of land between the harbor and the cliffs. There are many picturesque buildings, streets, and plazas.
Rio de Janeiro is the next port. For five or six miles this most beautiful of cities runs along the irregular shore occupying all the space between the bay and the mountains behind and cut up into several sections by steep ridges which come down from the mountains and jut out into the sea. Rio de Janeiro is said to have, with one possible exception, the most beautiful harbor in the world.
Santos, the last stop in Brazil, and the principal exporting center for the vast coffee-producing country is picturesquely situated at the foot of an amphitheater of mountains and is embowered in palm groves to the white sands of the ocean beach.
The coffee exports amount to nearly a hundred million dollars a year. Its mainland traffic is with Sao Paulo, the briskest and most progressive place in all Brazil, and also the southern part of Brazil, the railroad to which leads through some most striking scenery.
Montevideo is the charming port of Uruguay, its capital and the chief seat of the republic's commerce. In this city of handsome plazas, there are no signs of poverty. The people seem thriving, and money is plentiful. All the buildings are modern, the Town Hall being the only relic of colonial times. The view of the sea and the surrounding country is unprecedented.
Buenos Aires is the journey's end. This smiling city seems a combination of Paris and New York, having the pleasure-loving propensities of the former and the business rush and luxury of the latter. It is a place to wonder at.
Nowhere in the world can be seen such sights of abundant wealth and extravagance. It is the continent's largest city and contains one-fifth of the inhabitants of the great Argentine Republic, the United States of the Southern Hemisphere.
This city is the terminal of the Transandine Railroad, which carries the tourists to heights that afford the world's most breathtaking views, scenes too immense to be pictured by mere words. If there is a more picturesque railroad, it has never been described.
This new short cut to Valparaíso, Chile, saves about ten days in travel. The railroad enters the tunnel 12,800 feet above sea level. At this point, there is a grim desolation in the scenery, which is stern, black, and wild.
Among other cities and towns served by the Lamport & Holt Line, and its connections, are Trinidad and Barbados, in the West Indies: Taranagua, Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, and Pernambuco, in Brazil; Bahia Blanca: Cordoba, La Plata, Rosario, and Iguazu Falls, in the Argentine; Punta Arenas, Santiago, Valparaiso, Los Andes, Antofagasta, and Arica, in Chile; Arequipa, Cuzco, Lima, Mollendo, and Pacasmayo, in Peru, La Paz, in Bolivia; Guayaquil, in Ecuador.
In fact, every critical point in South America can be reached from the ports called at by the steamers of the Lamport & Holt Line. So reliable has been the service of this old-established line to South American interests that mention of the name commands respect and may be said to be a family by-word among the traders and shippers of South America.
The line of Lamport & Holt was inaugurated in 1845 by the late Mr. William James Lamport and the late Mr. George Holt, both of whom were men of extensive experience in shipping.
At first, the business comprised a fleet of wooden clipper sailing vessels, iron not then having come into use. These vessels traded to South Africa, Mauritius and Port Natal for which latter a particular light draft class of small ships had to be employed in the regular trade as the bar was then too shallow.
Besides, the daily business was carried on with the River plate and West Coast of South America. One of the then remarkable events was the run from Liverpool to the River Plate in forty days by the brigantine Balkan.
The service to South America commenced in 1863 during the Crimean War, by the sailing of the steamer Kepler to the River Plate from Liverpool, calling at Lisbon and at Brazilian ports, followed in 1864 by the ships Galileo, Herschel, Newton, Ptolemy, Tycho Brahe, Hipparchus, and other steamers at regular intervals.
In those days use of sails still formed an essential element in the equipment of the vessels, they being heavily brig-rigged. On account of the ships being named after men eminent in science, the fleet has been referred to as the “Astronomer's Line” thereby giving the line a well-known identity.
In the year 1865 the different steamers were formed into a company called the Liverpool, Brazil and River Plate Navigation Co., Ltd. Messrs. Lamport & Holt, as managers, and the business was significantly increased by the establishment of lines from London, Antwerp, Glasgow, Manchester, New York, and elsewhere to South America.
Mail postal contracts were entered into with the British and Belgian Governments whereby passenger services were inaugurated from Liverpool and Antwerp, the latter being subsidized.
Agreements were also entered into with the Brazilian Government for a coastwise passenger service for which several light draft fast steamers were specially constructed to run from Rio de Janeiro calling at the smaller ports, and this was carried on for years until the Brazilian Government elected to subsidize a national line.
The passenger service from Liverpool was principally carried on directly with the River Plate and the vessels Leibnitz and Maskelyne were noted for making record passages in this service.
In the year 1869 the steamer Halley, which was the first steamer to carry coffee to New York was dispatched from Rio de Janeiro. So great was the outcry against shipment of coffee in an iron vessel at that time that less than 10,000 bags could be secured and in this incident was the commencement of a trade which has been excellently developed by the company's steamers for so many years to New York, New Orleans, and elsewhere in United States.
For many years a regular passenger service has been established to and from New York, the ports in Brazil, and the River Plate, being carried on as previously stated by the steamers Vestris, Vauban, Vasari, Verdi, Voltaire, Byron, and Tennyson.
Notable Steamers - The Lamport & Holt Liner "Verdi." Photos (top to bottom): First Class Smoking Room; SS Verdi; The Main Staircase; Social Hall; and, The Dining Saloon. Syren & Shipping Illustrated, 3 June 1908. GGA Image ID # 1473109f8c
The different services are now being maintained by a fleet of about forty-five ships of a total tonnage of approximately 250,000 gross tons.
The company from first to last has built or owned upwards of 110 steamers, and it speaks well for the management of the line that during the period of its existence of over fifty years the losses have been few and far between in a fleet so large in number.
During 1912 the firm of Lamport & Holt was converted into a limited liability company under the title of Lamport & Holt, Ltd. The chairman of the company is Sir Owen Philipps, K. C. M. G., and the managing directors are Mr. George H. Melly and Mr. Arthur Cook. The New York offices are located at 42 Broadway.
The rates for the various trips will be found in another column of this paper under Steamship Lines Sailing from the United States. Ports and tickets and reservations can be made at the New York office of the company or at any tourist agency in this country.
"Lamport and Hold Line to South America: Luxurious Travelling Conditions Par Excellence on Modern and Palatial Steamers Throughout the Changing Temperatures of the Tropics," in The Nautical Gazette: A Journal of Navigation, Shipbuilding, Marine Engineering, Naval Architecture, and Commerce, Vol. 90, No. 7, Whole No. 2443, Thursday, 12 October 1916 p. 5-8.