Friday, 29 April 2011

WJ Myers and Co

I would be interested in any information on the above company, which seems to have been the initiator of the guano trade in the UK and continued as a ship owner and world trader.

William Joseph Myers lived in Aigburgh in 1832 and his son Charles at Camp Hill in 1862 - he later moved to Swanmore in Southampton and died in 1879.  He was a Director of the White Star Line and Imrie Ismay & Co managed some of WJ Myers ships, many of which were bought from Harland & Wolf, a company with close links to Imrie Ismay/White Star.

I can offer material about WJ Myers ships and captains if anyone is interested.

Best regards
Hugh Jenkins

Harbreck House Fazkeley and the Myers Family


  1. In 1838, two businessmen from Lima had sent samples of guano to Liverpool merchant William Myers, who had farming interest and opportunity to test its efficacy. The result was that Myers himself decided to put up the money for shipment of this new fertilizer (not new to the South American Indians obviously). In early 1841, 2000 tonnes of guano set sail from Callao for Liverpool.

    They also traded in other goods and owned a substantial fleet of ships to support this. Despite the company’s significance then, there is very little information available today.

    Gores Directory for 1853, records that Jaques Myers lived in Harbreck House and also had a business "Myers and Co" at 2 Exchange Alley. Jaques was a cotton and colonial produce broker. In 1845, he is recorded in Gores as a broker at Ewart & Co. This appears to be a shortened version of the company name, which was Ewart, Myers & Co. Papers in the Rothchild Archive state that this was a Liverpool based bank, which handled imports and sales of cotton. They had dealings with the West Indies and South America according to price lists included in this archive.

    Ewart and Myers were not only partners in the firm but were connected by marriage. William Myers, Jaques' father was married to Ann Jaques. Her sister Margaret was married to the William Myers partner William Ewart. It is not surprising the Jaques was given his mothers surname as his christian name as this was a common practice at the time.

    Jaques had taken over a thriving business from his father and uncle. It was well established by 1820 as can be seen by a letter from Richardson & Bolton of Liverpool to B (Benjamin) Gott & Sons dated 25th April 1820. The letter accompanies instructions over the payment of $16,800 to Gott & Sons on bills of exchange in Philadelphia.

    James Stonehouse in his book "The Streets of Liverpool" published in 1869 and recently republished by Liverpool Libraries and Information Service mentions the Ewarts on a number of occasions, particularly when he describes Sir George Dunbar a leading colonial broker and mayor of Liverpool (1796-97) residing in Rodney St. Stonehouse says that Dunbar had an "immense business" and “brought up” Messrs. Rutson and Ewart in his business. When Rutson and Ewart asked to join the partnership he declined so they started on their own account drawing away nearly all of their late employers business. The firm of Ewart, Myers & Co sprang from this with all the principles acquiring large fortunes.

    Rob Ainsworth
    Livepool History Society

  2. Please see source:

    Rob Ainsworth

  3. From the dark recesses of my mind, I seem to recall that during the early to mid Victorian period there was indeed a Warehouse/Factory on the Wallasey bankside recognised as the East Float, (creek prior to dock). A Guano based product was manufactured here, probably for fertiliser distribution but, I think that it also produced Nitrogen for Ordinance purposes? I recall that it was *complained about by the ajacent community for its unpleasant/noxious fumes etc., and was eventually relocated elsewhere.

    Could this have been the business referred to as "...from Callow to Liverpool"?

    * This may have been mentioned in a subsequent Health Board Report to Council? I wonder if I have anything relating to it in my book collection, I will give it some thought.

    Cynthia Stonall
    Liverpool History Society

  4. Harbreck House was built in 1740 and once owned by 2 Lord Mayors of Liverpool. Wm Sparling of Sparling street fame lived there ---he was famous for fighting the penultimate duel in the city.
    Henry Lafone bought the house off Mr Myers circa 1859 ----lafone was a blockade-runner and one of his sons was the recipient of a VC. The full story is within the pages of The Confederate Years available from

  5. I have found your question whilst undertaking some research of the history of the house in Swanmore that Charles Myers moved to and would be most interested to hear more details about W J Myers & Co and in particular the names of the ships and the connection with the White Star line as I have not yet been able to verify this. My understanding was that Charles may have been a director but from your comments perhaps both he and his father were?

    I have however come across a notice in the London Gazette stating that the partnership in the name of William Joseph Myers, Son and Company carrying on business as Merchants and Commission Agents was dissolved by mutual consent on 31st December 1851. A subsequent notice in the London Gazette dated 14th January 1852 stated that the partnership was dissolved so far only as related to the said William Lyon (one of the partners) who retired from the concern. This is all I have been able to find out about the firm so far and I'd be grateful to hear from anyone with further information.
    Many thanks.
    Penny Stokes

  6. I believe that William Joseph Myers of Aigburth and his son Charles are not the same Myers as lived in Harbreck House although I have little doubt that they were related. Jaques Myers of Harbreck House was the son of William Myers of Mere House (sometimes called Mere Bank)in Everton. As far as I am aware this William was never called William J and he didn't have a son Charles. His sons were John, William, Jaques and Henry - John was the main heir but he did not have a son so the bulk of the fortune went to Jaques (William had died)and then to Jaques' son Frederick all within a short period of time.

    William of Mere House was the son of John Myers of Crosby

    JP Barrow read a paper to the Crosby Historical Society in 1948 in which he states that "John Myers of Crosby House was the brother of the founder of The Myers of Swanmore",(1) hence my belief that while William of Mere House and William J of Aigburth are not the same person they are related.

    Could William J Myers be the brother (or descendant of the brother) of John as referred to in Barrows paper?

    (1) Barrow JP 1948 "The World of John Myers Esq of Crosby House, Great Crosby" can be read in Crosby Library.

    I have written up some of my research into the Myers family on my blog at

    My email is

  7. In response to John Hussey's post Apr 29 2011
    I can't find your reference to "The Confederate Years" available at
    Henry Lafone is my GG Grandfather who bought Harbreck House abt.1858 aged 28. He was born at Park Lodge,Lodge Lane,L'Pool,the son of Samuel Lafone and turned his hand to many things including blockade runner and manager(and arbiter) of Butlers Wharf during the London Dock Strike of 1889.
    The above mentioned Myers lived at 33 Canning St. which is where my G Grandfather Thomas Edward Greenshields (ship owner) lived between 1884-1907
    at 45 Canning St. He also lived at 14 Chester St.,6&22 Percy St.,24 Faulkner St.,Belmont Villa New Brighton,8 Grove Park,42 Sefton Terrace,and 8 Gambier Terrace which is where his sister Marrion Greenshields died in 1928.
    If anyone at Lost Liverpool or The Liverpool History Society has any info. on the Lafones and Greenshields,I would be most grateful.

  8. I am researching the Carruthers branch of my family history. I have evidence that my G Grandfather Edwin Montague Carruthers was apprenticed to William Ewart , William Myers and John Ewart Merchants Brokers & Charterers Liverpool in 1819. I would welcome any infomation about the business or Carruthers family in Liverpool. George Warcup NZ email

  9. Robyn Adams commented on WJ Myers and Co

    I am looking for information about the Fiji - a barque owned by WJ Myers & Co. Built by Harland & Wolf in 1875 wrecked 1891 off the coast of Victoria (Aust). Also one of the Captains - William Vickers , born Barrow 1859 with certificate C012193 (later changed to 025752). I see Hugh Jenkins has some information, but I don't know how to contact him. I can offer material about WJ Myers ships and captains if anyone is interested.

    Regards Robyn Adams (