About Us

Company Information

  • 1812  - John Lilley & Son established in London.
  • 1858  - 7 out of 44 shipyards on the Tyne were using iron.
  • 1862  - 10 out of 44 shipyards on the Tyne were using steel. This was a period of development for steel ships and the magnetic compass.
  • 1864 - John Wilson Gillie born.
  • 1870 - Sir William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin) designed his dry card standard compass.
  • 1880  - John Wilson Gillie was apprenticed to J.J. Wilson & Sons, Nautical Instrument Makers of Sunderland.
  • 1885  - J.W. Gillie formed a company in North Shields known as Wilson & Gillie. The business became agents for the Thomson compass. Later, John Gillie re-designed the compass suspension and patented the ‘Unit’, a standard compass.
  • 1890  - Wilson & Gillie are established as agents for Admiralty Charts and Publications.
  • 1911  - Through a disagreement with Sir William Thomson, John Lilley & Son of London lost the agency for Kelvin Binnacle. This resulted in financial difficulties. John Gillie rescued the business to control it jointly with John Lilley.
  • 1913  - Wilson & Gillie merged with John Lilley & Son to form John Lilley & Son of London and North Shields.
  • 1920 - John Lilley retired and J.W. Gillie gained full control of the company.
  • 1932 - John Lilley & Son of London merged with Reynolds and Son, Dobbie & Clyde Ltd., to become Lilley & Reynolds., with J.W. Gillie as Chairman.
  • 1943 - John Lilley & Son of North Shields is re-named John Lilley & Gillie Ltd.
  • 1953 - John Wilson Gillie died and his son, John Calder Gillie, became Chairman.
  • 1968 - John Lilley & Gillie Ltd incorporates the South Shields business of T.L. Ainsley Ltd.
  • 1974 - John Lilley & Gillie Ltd is sold by John Gillie to the Holland America Line (owners of Observator, Rotterdam). John Gillie remains Chairman.
  • 1977 - London based chart agent Brown & Perring is purchased by John Lilley & Gillie Ltd.
  • 1985 - John Lilley & Gillie Ltd acquires the assets of Henry Browne & Sons (Sestrel) Ltd, a major competitor.
  • 1988 - Holland America line sold the shares in Lilley & Gillie, Brown & Perring, and Observator to Kopeke International Supply Systems. John Gillie retires.
  • 1993 - Following a Management Buy Out (with financial support from Iver C. Weilback, Copenhagen), Chris Turnbull becomes the majority shareholder, Chairman and Managing Director.
  • 1999 - Lilley & Gillie Ltd is purchased by The Charente Steam Ship Company Ltd., Liverpool (with subsidiary companies Harrison Line, and Dubois Phillips McCallum).
  • 2002 - Lilley & Gillie Ltd acquired Thomas Walker & Son Ltd (Walker Marine).  Thus adding EM Speed Logs & Anemometers to the list of products.
  • 2010 - Through re-organisation, Lilley & Gillie Ltd., Dubois Phillips McCallum (DPM), and DPM (Singapore), become known as Harrison Maritime Holdings Group Companies.
  • 2012 - July 2nd Royal visit by HRH The Princess Royal to Commemorate the Bicentenary of Lilley & Gillie.
  • 2013 - John Lilley & Gillie Ltd sell its Chart and Publication business to concentrate on the marine equipment market.