Henry Bucknall & Son was formed in London in 1742 as cork merchants and used chartered ships. They started shipowning in 1851 and in 1891 formed the British & Colonial Steam Navigation Co. In 1893 Edward Lloyd of Bucknall Bros. together with Union Line formed the American & African Line to operate passenger and cargo services between New York, Cape Town and Calcutta. 1895 Bucentaur SS Co. was formed to cater for trade to Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand. Due to financial problems, John Ellerman was sold a controlling interest in the company in 1908 and in 1914 the company was renamed Ellerman & Bucknall Steamship Co. After 1973 all constituent Ellerman companies were combined into Ellerman City Liners which in 1987 became Cunard-Ellerman.