cayzer family

The Cayzer Family Archive

Welcome to the Cayzer Family Archive. This website charts the history of the family firm, Cayzer, Irvine & Company Limited, which was founded by the energetic and indomitable Charles William Cayzer (1st baronet) in 1878.   It shows how, from small beginnings, the Company grew to dominate international shipping, at its zenith boasting among its number such household names as Clan Line Steamers and the Union-Castle Line Company.

In 1902, rising star of the Royal Navy, Captain John Rushworth Jellicoe, married Sir Charles’ middle daughter, Gwen.  By 1916 the Captain had become Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet.  Both Britain and Germany had large navies, and fully expected these would eventually engage in one huge battle, the result of which would determine the outcome of the First World War.  Patriotic Britons thought this would be a second Battle of Trafalgar, with Admiral Jellicoe cast in the role of a second Nelson.

Exactly 100 years ago, on the 31st May 1916, the first shots were fired in this ultimate showdown between two great but rival naval powers, known now as the Battle of Jutland.  Click here to go to the official website of the Battle of Jutland, curated by Admiral Jellicoe’s grandson, Nick Jellicoe, and find out who was involved, what really happened, and how this, the only major British naval engagement of WWI, was viewed at the time, and by posterity.