William Thompson and Company was formed in 1847. The company specialised in carrying cargo from the Far East, Canada and the Baltic. The company changed its name to Ben Line Steamers Ltd in 1919.
By the time Grierson took his photographs in the inner London docks, the Ben Line concentrated solely on cargo and passenger services to the Far East.
The 'Benmhor' (1949, 7755 GRT) was built as the 'Penrith Castle' for the Lancashire Shipping Co. Ltd. In 1952, she was bought by the Ben Line and renamed. Shown here at the Royal Victoria Dock surrounded by PLA lighters, she was broken up in 1973.
The cargo liner 'Benvannoch' (1944, 9487 GRT) in the West India Docks. Built in Sunderland in 1944 as the Silver Line's 'Silver Oak', she was bought by the Ben Line in September 1956. She was renamed 'Benvannoch', and was the fifth Ben Line ship to carry that name. She was broken up in 1969.
The 'Benalder' (1949, 7845 GRT) in the West India Docks. She was sold to a Liberian line in 1968.
The 'Benloyal' (1959, 11,463 GRT) at the Royal Victoria Dock. Built by Charles Connell & Co., of Scotstoun, Glasgow, she had accommodation for 10 passengers. She was scrapped in 1978.
The 'Bengloe' (1961, 11,282 GRT) in the West India Dock. She was scrapped in 1978.
An imposing view of the 'Bengloe' (1961, 11,282 GRT) in the Royal Docks.
The cargo liner 'Benalbanach' (7795 GRT) in the Royal Albert Dock in June 1962. Launched in 1946 as the 'Empire Athelstan', the Ben Line bought her and renamed her in the following year. In 1965 she was sold to the Ministry of Transport and renamed 'Camelot'.