H Hogarth & Sons Ltd - The Baron Line.

Hugh Hogarth (1840-1904)

S Crawford Hogarth (1874-1950) Hugh Hogarth (1909-1973)

Goodwin & Hogarth, Ship Chandlers and Sailmakers
Winton Buildings, Dock Road, Ardrossan (about 1870)

Detail from 'Above Greenwich' by Charles Dixon, 1909.

An especially notable family of Hogarths is that of Hugh Hogarth of Ardrossan in Ayrshire, on the west coast of Scotland.  He became a shipping magnate, after founding in 1870, a tramp ship company, Hugh Hogarth & Sons Limited.  Later becoming 'The Baron Line', it would still be trading more than a century later.

The ships, registered in Ardrossan and recognizable by their buff and black funnels, were at the height of their success in the age when sail met steam.

South Crescent, the promenade at Ardrossan, is graced by several large mansions of the early 1800's, built for the businessmen and merchants of that era.  The house at No. 8 was originally the home of Hugh Hogarth.

I'm told that, at one time, the owners of the Baron Line had something of a reputation for being overly economical when feeding their crews.  As a result, the line was nicknamed the 'Hungry Hogarths'.  Although it's quite possible that this may have come about through the company's insignia:

The following message comes from Stuart Robertson.

"However, having sailed as apprentice, third and second mate, from 1951 to 1963, I would like to point out that not only was the company known as "Hungry Hogarth" but also as "Health and Happiness".  Not forgetting, "Baron by name and Baron by nature".  Funny?  Well maybe not, but the tough life stood us all in good stead for the future!"

Hugh Hogarth was born at Stevenston, Ayrshire in 1840 and died on Sunday, 24th April 1904.  Click here to read an obituary which appeared the following Friday, in the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald.

Hugh was the youngest child of six - five sons and one daughter - of Robert & Ann Hogarth of that town.  Robert was born on 22nd November, 1794, the son of John Hogarth, a sailor of Stevenston.

The Chandlery business, in the picture above, was started in 1862 by HH and a Captain James Goodwin.  The partnership dissolved circa 1878.

Hugh continued to live in Ardrossan, at 8 South Crescent, but moved his business to Glasgow circa 1880, opening an office at 70 Great Clyde Street.  His sons were Samuel Crawford Hogarth (1874-1950), Hugh Hogarth Jr. (1876-1954) and Barclay Hogarth (1878-1951).

The eldest brother of HH (18 years his senior) was John Hogarth.  Born in Stevenston, 1822, John founded and owned a large ironmongery business.  Most of the major contracts for plumbing and slating work in the Ardrossan district were apparently done by J Hogarth & Company.  Entering the Ardrossan Town Council in 1851, John continued in office until 1893, when he retired after 42 years service - a number of those years being spent as Burgh Treasurer and eleven years as Chief Magistrate.  He died on 29th May 1898.


In July 2005, I received an enquiry from Mike Drayton in Bournemouth as to whether I had information to support his theory that Hugh Hogarth was a Freemason.  Hugh's brother, John, is known to have been, but I was unable to help other than provide copies of what genealogical data I had.  If you are able to shed any light on the matter, I'd be delighted to pass your message to Mike.

Mike's interest in Hugh Hogarth stems from his acquisition of the ship's bell from the brigantine Mystic Tie which was built in 1875 and thought to be the first of Hogarth's own fleet.  Although the vessel was wrecked off the Pembrokeshire coast in 1877, the bell was recovered and by a remarkable coincidence now graces the bar of the Freemason's Hall, here in Bournemouth, to which I was invited and permitted to take this photo.

The bell from the Mystic Tie


What were the chances of survival for the crew of a steel-laden tramp pushing its way across the North Atlantic from the US to Britain, if it was torpedoed?

No fewer than 17 steamers of the tramp fleet of the Baron line were lost in the Atlantic - the majority with loss of the entire crew - because these ships sank instantly with their deadweight cargoes.  Some were never seen again after leaving an American port and it was assumed they had been torpedoed.


I'm grateful for the help of Les Hogarth, a Podiatrist, of Fife in Scotland.  As well as providing some of the info for this page, Les also scanned the Charles Dixon picture, above, from a print which hangs in his surgery.  Apparently it had been there for years before he was informed by one his patients that the vessel in the picture was actually a Hungry Hogarth!

Thanks are also due to Mike Drayton for, not only permitting me to take the photo above, but also for a photocopy of Hugh Hogarth's obit, which is now featured both on this page and in the 'Wills & Obits' corner of our Reference Section.

Several other photographs included in this page were reproduced from a booklet entitled 'H Hogarth & Sons Limited - Baron Line' published in 1976, by The World Ship Society. (ISBN 0 905617 002).