Press Releases

Burgess & Co.

FLAGS will be flying at Swansea’s National Waterfront Museum this week (fri 10) to mark the launch of a special exhibition.

The fascinating history of one of Swansea’s best known shipping firms, Burgess and Co will be on display along with a flurry of flags associated with Welsh shipping.

For 150 years Burgess and Co was linked to the docks and to the ships which traded from Swansea.

It all started in 1843 when James Edward Burgess married Mary Frances Baker, the daughter of a Devonshire grain merchant. Her family ran a bakery at the bottom of Welcome Lane in Swansea.

In 1847 they installed the first mechanical bakery in South Wales to produce ships biscuits, the main food for sailors at sea. As the port of Swansea grew so did the supply of biscuits and Burgess invested profits of the bakery in the ships and cargo they carried.

From 1851, he was making money on timber imported from Canada and in 1862 he bought his first ship, a wooden schooner called the Sarah Fox. In the same year he commissioned the building of another ship, the Patagonia.

The ships sailed under the house flag of a red background with a cream coloured disc, said to represent one of their famous biscuits.

A series of panels and cases of everyday objects associated with the company will tell the story.

The Burgess flag will also be flying at the Museum along with flags of companies that Burgess acted as agents for and many others associated with shipping.

Head of the Museum Steph Mastoris said: “ Shipping has been crucial to the development of Welsh industry so it is very fitting that this exhibition should focus on one of Swansea’s best known shipping companies.”

The exhibition will run from Friday, Feb 10 – Sunday 2, April

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales is the new name for the National Museums & Galleries of Wales, which operates seven museums across Wales - National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans: National History Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre, National Slate Museum, Llanberis and the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.

Entry to all Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales sites is free, thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Fay Harris
National Waterfront Museum
01792 638970