Nuts, bolts and money, 1843–65
in Flagships of imperialism
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This chapter focuses on the finances of P&O in the period between 1843 and 1865. P&O first decided to increase the fleet-size in 1844 after winning the contract for India and China. Discord between the managing department and the board over the number of ships required led to the formation of a finance committee which laid an estimate of cost for 14 new ships before the board on 24 November 1846. P&O's operations in the eastern seas also required the establishment of docks, warehouses, machinery, sea stores and coal depots in India and China, which had to be staffed by expensive employees. Various factors such as the rise in the price of coal and all other necessities, the very low tender for the mail contract, reduced passenger fares and heavy losses on the Australian line also adversely affected its profitability in 1853.

Flagships of imperialism

The P&O Company and the Politics of Empire from its origins to 1867


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