Graham Ingrey

I guess like many, I have recently stumbled across this site and thought it worthwhile putting my name into the ring. I can see that there are only a few office staff there and more importantly from my point of view, no-one representing the London Office. Perhaps I can put this right to some degree.

Employed with the company between June 1976 and October 1984.

I joined SWRS&SL (Reardon Smith as it was known in the London/global shipbroking fraternity) in their London office in Trinity Square pretty much straight from school in June 1976. I was the post clerk/junior and spent some 6-8 months on this job before getting offered a position within the S & P (Sale & Purchase) broking dept., working with John Norman and  Julian Owen, amongst others. During the time I was there, we had some excellent sales concluded.  And yes we did have to sell some of the Reardon Smith fleet during the time I was there!

It always seemed a shame when one of ours was sold off. Whilst I was there, I remember that the Cornish and Welsh City (tweendeckers as I knew them) had been sold a few months before I joined. Then the Indian City went, followed by the Eastern City, Welsh and Orient City.  The entire S & P dept left en bloc for Howard Houlders in 1984 and the demise of RS followed the next year. I then parted company in 1985 and left the shipbroking side and developed a career in freight forwarding.

Like many a comment I have read on this forum, it was a good company to work for. It was a great experience for a youngster straight out of school to work in the city and all the history associated with it. Going on the Baltic Exchange (the original one that is which sadly is no more) and just the general buzz working in London gave. At the time I enjoyed working with all of the staff there but after a while realised that not everyone got on with each other. A bit strange at the time to a youngster but clearly as you get on in life, it really shouldn’t have been! Some of the staff that were there – David Llewellyn, Norman Cunningham, Anthony Reardon (Mr Anthony as he was known!), Bill South (he employed me and then retired a year or two later), Alan Rowley, John Thorne, John Thorn-confused there was 2 of them! Jim Webster, John Dann, Alan Steed, Angus Graham (who left and took 2 or 3 of his colleagues and set up his own company), Tim Walsham, but to name but a few.

Despite having spent 8.5 years with the company, I never did visit Devonshire House. However I did get down to Cardiff a couple of times during my time with the company. Once for a London office v Cardiff office cricket match. Not sure who won that! Then there was the 75th anniversary party held down there. Very enjoyable.

Whilst I didn’t have too much direct contact with the fleets seagoing staff, I was fully aware of what they endured whilst away at sea for long periods of time. My elder brother started with Safmarine about the same time as I did as a R/O. He is now an electrician on P& Ferries Dover-Calais. Not quite the same as some of the locations he got to see.

As I say, I left the shipbroking side in 1985 and not heard too much of any of the guys I knew of in the London office. I worked from 1986 till 2004 with LEP International (LEP Transport), changed names to Geologistics and now is called Agility. I then spent time with a couple of other company before deciding last year that I was fed up with other people telling me what to do so I set up my own company. Cooden Cargo Services Ltd. Not plugging my business but a specialised freight forwarder who in a previous life used to sell the ships. Now I try and fill a trailer that sails on them!

Thanks for taking the time to read this brief Reardon Smith history and having seen the postings on the website, I have enjoyed casting my mind back to the good old days when I was with the company. Certainly things have changed!

Best wishes
Graham Ingrey

December 2011.