Offices for Shipping and Forwarding Companies of Elder


This photograph, taken in 1907, shows the interior of the offices of a British shipping and forwarding company in the port of La Luz, near the northeast tip of Gran Canaria (Canary Islands, Spain). La Luz, also known as Las Palmas Port, was built between 1883 and 1903 by the British firm of Swanston and Company. Strategically located some 100 kilometers west of Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean, between the continents of Europe, Africa, and the Americas, the Canary Islands was important as a coaling station for steamships transiting long distances. The coal was mostly mined in the United Kingdom, and shipped to the Canaries for sale, primarily by British companies, to steamers that put into port for fuel. Most of the shipping and forwarding companies in La Luz were also British. The offices shown here are most likely those of Elder Dempster & Company and its affiliates. Headquartered in Liverpool, the company had a branch in the Canary Islands that among other things introduced the banana into England in 1884. Commercial activities linked to the port contributed decisively to the social transformation of Gran Canaria in the late 19th century. The photograph is in the collections of the Foundation for the Ethnography and the Development of Canarian Crafts (FEDAC).

Last updated: June 13, 2016