Archive centreWhitehaven
ReferenceYDB 41
TitleJ G Oldfield and Company, shipping and travel agents, Whitehaven
DescriptionBusiness records including material relating to Dutch and Danish Vice-Consulate, circa 1925-1980.
Access conditionsPermanent loan
ContextJ G Oldfield and Company was a family firm founded by John Gaythorp Oldfield [Mayor of Whitehaven 1911-1913] on New Lowther Street, Whitehaven. It operated with his brother Tom (born 1881), Tom's son John Ralph, known as Robin, and daughter Dorothy.

The business of the company was extremely varied. The core business was as a ship broker and coal exporter. Its transactions involved Mo-i-Rana in northern Norway, serving iron works A/S Norsk Jernverk, Oristano in Sardinia, Varburg in Sweden, and Nantes and Bayonne in France.

The company, which also had offices in Workington, was an agent for a variety of shipping lines including Canadian Pacific, Cunard, White star, Orient Line, P&O, and New Zealand Shipping. During World War II, Dorothy and Tom were responsible for confidential daily reporting of movements including Danish boats to Ministry of War.

Staff of the company also had consular duties: amongst them Robin Oldfield served as Danish Vice Consul 1958-1980, and he also held the position of honorary vice-consul to the Netherlands. When the Oldfield's premises changed from Whitehaven to Workington in the early 1990s when Whitehaven ceased to be a commercial port the Danish Vice Consulate transferred to the J G Oldfield & Co office at The Port of Workington where it is still open as the only resident shipping agent.

For more information: Whitehaven News 12 May 1932 contains an obituary of J G Oldfield which describes his career and wide range of civic duties; DH 448/3 is an order of service commemorating J G Oldfield; County Annual 1929 p221 portrait Alderman and Mrs, 1920 p206 portrait of J G as a Justice of the Peace; describes the existence of the Danish Fishing Fleet in Cumbria during World War II.
Catalogue levelFonds
Subject termsHarbours
Insurance Companies
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