Our Heritage

 

From the birth of John Good in 1801, to a modern day multi-subsidiary group – the story of the John Good Group is one of leading the way, overcoming adversity, building for the future and above all, acting on the values we stand for. Our rich heritage is something we are proud of, and to celebrate this, we have made this timeline full of historic moments in our own history, and that of our national maritime, trade and travel industries.

For those interested in learning more, many of the artefacts and photos from our history can be viewed in our company archives which are held at the History Centre in Hull.

John Good’s Early Life

A child discovers a world of struggle and opportunity

1801 - Birth of John Good

1801 - Birth of John Good

John Good was born in Scarborough in 1801, one of 9 children in a poor family, he went to work at the age of 12 to support his family.

Portrait of our founder, John Good

1813 - John Good goes to Sea

1813 - John Good goes to Sea

An apprenticeship in the shipping trade was not difficult to find in this time before railways were used, so long as you were willing to suffer the sea sickness and dangerous conditions. John nearly died numerous times in his early career at sea – something which influenced his life’s work later on.

– An illustration showing what Queen’s Dock in Hull would have looked like when John Good first went to sea.

John Good wrote about his early life and travels in his diaries, which have survived and are now held in the Hull History Centre archives.

1826 - John Good becomes a master of his first ship

1826 - John Good becomes a master of his first ship

By the time he was 25 he was a Master of his own ship, his travels often taking him to the Baltic, where he could not have known he was forming relationships that would set the course of the company for generations to come.

John Good’s Master’s Certificate

The First Years of Business

Using the experience of a lifetime to benefit others

1833 - Ship’s Chandlery opens

1833 - Ship’s Chandlery opens

John’s vast experience at sea and personal relationships with Finnish captains made him a well-regarded advisor, and by strategically placing his Chandlery on Salthouse Lane in Hull, the third biggest port in England, the business grew quickly.

An early illustration of High Street in Hull - by Frederick Schultz Smith (Courtesy of Hull Maritime Museum)

A Map of High Street in Hull showing John Good’s premises

1854 - Crimean war halts business

1854 - Crimean war halts business

The Crimean war halted valuable trade between England and the Baltic, but as a Quaker John did not believe in war and maintained his close relationships with the Finnish people – campaigning and fundraising heavily to help support their recovery after the war.

A ship carrying butter from Finland to Hull

John Good’s 1858 Diary of his travel to Finland

Extract from Finnish booklet “John Good I Osterbotten” about John Good’s work for the Finnish people after the Crimean War

– Cover of the Finnish booklet “John Good I Osterbotten” (to accompany Above Image)

As Finnish trade picked up, John Good was the agent for the Finland Steamship Company

1859 - Company owns first vessel

1859 - Company owns first vessel

After years of investing in ships, the family finally bought its own vessel, named “Sarah,” after John’s wife. Unfortunately, Sarah was lost just 3 years later, an omen that the family perhaps should have heeded as the company’s luck never did change with vessel ownership!

Barques at Flamborough, the type of vessels that John Good would have owned

1862 - John campaigns for safety at sea

1862 - John campaigns for safety at sea

By this time, John was taking a back seat at the company to concentrate on his work as a Quaker and invest more in his ideas for improving safety for workers at sea – including his design for a safety rocket to rescue those struggling in the water.

Postcard showing a safety device similar to John Good’s design. His idea improved on the design by being portable and used from the ship instead, as targeting a struggling ship from the land often failed.

Directions for the use of John Good’s rocket design

A New Generation

Taking our business and customers off the beaten track

1864 - Thomas and Joseph take over the business

1864 - Thomas and Joseph take over the business

The second generation gradually took over before John Good died in 1879 aged 75, leaving his family and business well provided for. “What a change!” he had remarked earlier in life when he compared his own situation to his father’s – who had died without a penny to his name.

Commemorative postcard showing John Good and his two sons Joseph and Thomas – who took over the business

1870 - Joint shipping venture with Reckitts

1870 - Joint shipping venture with Reckitts

New company “Good Brothers and Co.” was formed with James Reckitt. The SS Carolina was their first ship, which foundered two years later. This, plus damage to another ship forced the business to close. A haunting echo of the loss of their first ship “Sarah,” in 1859 the family stopped investing in ships, for now.

The SS Carolina – the first ship owned by Good Brothers and Co.

The House Flag of Good Brothers and Co. as depicted on a company letterhead in 1870.

1883 - Finnish Agency business grows

1883 - Finnish Agency business grows

The Crimean war now in the past, trade was improving again, and the Good family’s trusted connections led them to assist two new Finnish shipping lines trading through Hull - Finska and Wasa, the company acted as agents for Finska for the next 100 years.

John Good’s early agency for the Finland Steamship Company included the vessel Sirius.

John Good’s early agency for the Finland Steamship Company included the vessel Titania

1891 - John Good assists in “The Great Migration”

1891 - John Good assists in “The Great Migration”

The famous Finnish migration to America was so grand in scale that a new dock and train platform were built in Hull to handle the numbers of emigrants travelling on to Liverpool. As agents for Finska, the company looked after the needs of over 300,000 migrants that passed through.

Finnish emigrants onboard a ship in 1893

Finnish emigrants onboard a ship in 1893

A blue badge at the Maritime building in Hull commemorates the work the company did during the great migration

A blue badge at the Maritime building in Hull commemorates the work the company did during the great migration

1894 - Ambrose Good starts tourism business

1894 - Ambrose Good starts tourism business

Ambrose foresaw that tourism would evolve from steamship companies and produced what is believed to be the first ever travel guide to Finland in 1899. In 1901 the company started producing its annual travel brochure “Off the Beaten Track,” with tours starting at £3 5s (£240 today), and so began the story of Good Travel Management.

One of the first press adverts for holiday tours to Finland

A 1911 sales letter from the John Good Passenger Department

An early passenger ticket

Surviving WW1

Overcoming the devastation of the first world war

1908 - John Good becomes a limited company

1908 - John Good becomes a limited company

As the second generation started to take a back seat, the third generation took over, with Ambrose Good and his cousins William, Harry and Arthur. Shortly after, two fires devastated the High street warehouse in 1909 and 1911 but both times the company took the opportunity to adapt, improve and expand the premises.

John Good’s staff at a whist drive in 1913

1909 High Street Fire

1909 High Street Fire

Harry Good pictured top left with three Finnish Captains

1914 - Another ship-ownership venture is thwarted by war

1914 - Another ship-ownership venture is thwarted by war

The company made a third attempt at investing in ships, buying the SS Atbara and forming The Red Steam Ship Company, only for Baltic trade to be halted one month later. A shortage of shipping kept their vessels busy during the war, but the business was unable to overcome the post war economic slump and closed in 1924.

Record of war services at John Good - 1919

Despite the halt of trade with the Baltic, the company received an Illuminated address from the Finland Steamship Company on their 80th anniversary in 1915.

1919 - Ambrose Good becomes Vice-consul for Finland

1919 - Ambrose Good becomes Vice-consul for Finland

The consul’s tasks included recording incidents at sea and arranging inquests and even funerals for Finnish workers. At the same time, he and four other members of the family were awarded the Order of the White Rose 1st Class. The Finnish consul position is still held by a member of the Good family today.

Portrait of Ambrose Good

John Good meeting the Finnish Ambassador in 1961

1930 - Tourism takes off

1930 - Tourism takes off

Ambrose’s foresight about tourism was paying off, with the company selling package holidays on Steamships to Finland, and the “Off the Beaten Track” brochure creating some of the most iconic travel posters of the time. Unfortunately, another war was about to halt this side of the business...

Cover of “Off the Beaten Track” travel brochure painted by Hull artist Harry Hudson Rodmell, 1933

Cover of “Off the Beaten Track” travel brochure painted by Hull artist Harry Hudson Rodmell, 1920s

Cover of “Come to Finland” travel brochure written by Cyril Good, 1927

Cover of “Off the Beaten Track” travel brochure, 1928

SS Aallotar – a steamship for which John Good were agents carrying passengers to the Baltic, illustrated by Hull artist Harry Hudson Rodmell, 1938

Tourist map from “Off the Beaten Track” travel brochure, 1939

Recovery and expansion after WW2

One step backwards is followed by many leaps forwards

1939 - War devastates the family business

1939 - War devastates the family business

Just one year after the company employed its fourth-generation family members, war broke out and all sailings were cancelled. The company survived on work for the Ministry of Supply, but the High Street premises were completely destroyed as Hull became the most bombed city outside of London. In a final blow – Ambrose’s son Cyril was killed at war, leaving the job of post-war recovery to his cousins John and Geoffery.

Bomb damage to High Street in 1945 (Courtesy of Hull Maritime Museum)

Edward and John Good off to war in 1939

A 1939 letter regarding cancelled advertising services due to the war

Portrait of Cyril Good, who was killed during the war

1946 - Expansion into Forwarding

1946 - Expansion into Forwarding

A forwarding department was established for the first time – a venture that would eventually overtake agency work as largest part of the business. Agency work was transforming from port agency to general agency, which the company adapted to well, but bigger changes would come later on.

Advert showing the company offices at Maritime Building in Hull, advertising agency, forwarding and passenger services.

1946 - The first ever IATA accreditation

1946 - The first ever IATA accreditation

An IATA accreditation allows a company to issue and administrate airline tickets. Our company was the first travel agency to receive the accreditation and still holds it today. The travel department expanded as airline and coach holidays became popular throughout the 50s.

The first IATA certificate, which the company still holds today

1950 - Expansion to the South

1950 - Expansion to the South

Until now the company had operated from Hull and the north, but a new agency contract for Argo Line enabled a new office to open in London. Also, the dock labour union’s power over operations were making ports like London and Hull less competitive, so in 1959 a joint venture was started at Ipswich – a small port under less strict control by unions.

A 1950 advert for our latest agency - Argo

Arcturus – an Argo agency ro-ro vessel

The first Ipswich office in 1965 – the office can be seen on the left of the picture

1950 - Expansion into Haulage

1950 - Expansion into Haulage

In the 1950s we made our first ventures into Haulage – acquiring a small fleet of lorries to serve shipments at the port of Hull. Like tourism in the early 1900s, this early investment in haulage was to become a very successful wing of the business in the future.

One of our first haulage vehicles

Geoffrey Good – who drove much of the company’s post war expansion

1950s - A great place to work

1950s - A great place to work

Despite the devastation of two world wars, and all the changes now happening in the industry, the company was known as a great employer. The offices were modest but a happy place, with a social club providing dances, outings and sports and a pension scheme, good holiday allowance, annual bonuses and long service awards – the latter of which there were many as most staff had served through both wars.

Head Office at 71 High Street, Hull in 1960

View of the rear of the office in 2007 before it was demolished

Ambrose and Edward Good featuring in a BBC broadcast about trade with Finland

A 1965 company exhibition

Modernising the industry

A new generation drives forward new ways of working

1960s - Fifth Generation takes over the business

1960s - Fifth Generation takes over the business

Cyril Good’s son - John Good – joined the company in 1953 and then joined the board in 1969 along with his cousins Anthony and Andrew after following the family tradition of spending time working in Finland, learning the language.

John Good, the current owner of the company

1967 - Felixstowe becomes the UKs first container port

1967 - Felixstowe becomes the UKs first container port

In the 50s, Victorian-style warehouses had come to an end with the invention of the pallet, and roll-on roll-off (Ro-Ro) services. In the 60s, containerisation followed – with new container ports opening in Felixstowe in 1967 and Hull in 1973. A ship went from spending two weeks in port to two days, and a port that needed 4000 workers in the 1950s would go on to need only 400.

Palletisation became the standard in the 1950s, this picture shows one of our warehouses in the early 1970s.

Picture showing a container being transported in 1972 from one of our warehouses.

1969 - TEPS is formed

1969 - TEPS is formed

The company already had a small haulage department but invested early in palletisation by starting up joint venture Trans-European Port Services (TEPS) – one of the first companies to focus on a pallet exchange system. Today TEPS is wholly owned by the John Good Group and is a major operator in warehousing and distribution.

One of TEPS’ early vehicles

1970s - The UKs biggest independent liner agency

1970s - The UKs biggest independent liner agency

New communications technologies meant that shipping lines had started to do their own agency work, putting many agents out of business. John Good’s reputation for trust, integrity and reliability meant that they retained much of the work left and became the biggest agent in UK. They took on their first deep sea liner contracts – some of which are still held today - which took them to many new ports all over the world.

MACS is our longest running agency today

A 1976 Hull Daily Mail advert showing the latest logo for the company, with a growing list of offices

1972 - Exploring business opportunities

1972 - Exploring business opportunities

Another successful venture the company invested in was Welton North Sea Trailers which still exists today under new ownership. In 1972 Humberside storage was created but only lasted 7 years as the grip of the dock workers union made the business unprofitable, the warehouse on Springfield way in Hull was sold and a Morrisons Supermarket stands there today.

Humberside Storage warehouse in 1972

Humberside Storage Brochure in 1972

An advert for Welton North Sea Trailers 1977

1973 - Investing in the digital revolution

1973 - Investing in the digital revolution

The company has always been an early adopter of new technology and invested in new company Orwell Data Services, where the FACTS software was developed and used throughout the industry for many years. Many things had changed in the industry over the past few decades, but nothing would transform the business quite like the digital revolution that was now well on its way.

Orwell Data Services as advertised in our 1980 company brochure

The business enters its third century

A new journey begins with ambitious goals

1983 - Agency success continues

1983 - Agency success continues

Despite the shrinking agency market leading to the loss of principals like Finska after 100 years, agency work kept the business going. Smaller lines still valued the experience on offer by an agency, and the respect the Good family still commanded in the industry was evident as John Good became president of the Chartered Institute of Shipbrokers in 1986. But the management could see that the company would still need to change course if it was to survive…

John Good receiving the grant of arms as president of the Chartered Institute of Shipbrokers in 1986

2001 - Freight Forwarding business develops

2001 - Freight Forwarding business develops

In 2001 John Rutherford joined the leadership team with the goal of developing the freight forwarding department. Within 5 years freight forwarding overtook agency in sales. The company moved its head office to Maritime House in 2003, and in 2008 John Rutherford became the first ever non-family member to chair the board after the retirement of John Good.

The forwarding department transport a fountain to Bahrain in 2000

The forwarding department transport a fountain to Bahrain in 2000

Head Office at Maritime House in Hull – 2007

Head Office at Maritime House in Hull – 2007

Members of the Group Board in 2007

2005 - A period of expansion and acquisition begins

2005 - A period of expansion and acquisition begins

The Felixstowe office opened in 2005 and has since become one of our biggest offices. New offices also went on to open at London Gateway, Plymouth, Liverpool and Bradford.

A range of other businesses were also acquired over the next 15 years including Felixstowe Warehousing, FOCS Logistics, CBI Transportation, DAN Shipping, Bay Shipping, Cougar Freight Services, Connaught, Rewico and our Turkey office.

Felixstowe Warehouse

Felixstowe Warehouse

DAN Shipping

2005 - Good Travel takes a new path

2005 - Good Travel takes a new path

With the appointment of Kevin Harrison as managing director, Good Travel also had a change of direction as it concentrated its expertise on business travel and joined buying group Uniglobe in 2008. The company has since grown organically and also acquisitions including Regent Travel and Mercian Travel.

A 2007 advert for Good Travel

Good Travel win Uniglobe Agency of the Year in 2012

2010 - AEO status achieved

2010 - AEO status achieved

An AEO is an “Authorised Economic Operator” that meets the criteria required to be considered reliable and trustworthy in their Customs-related operations. John Good Shipping achieved the status in 2010, followed by TEPS in 2012.

The company achieved AEO status in 2010

2011 - Matthew Good Foundation formed

2011 - Matthew Good Foundation formed

John’s son, Matthew had been a director at the company since 2006. Not long after becoming joint managing director for the group in 2011, Matthew died suddenly and unexpectedly whilst running for charity. The company had already started work on setting up a charitable foundation – so they named the foundation after him and doubled their initial pledge in his honour.

A Good family photo taken around 2007 – left to right: Tim, Julie, John, Matthew

The three peaks walk was one of the first charity events that the foundation matched the donation for.

Our Onward Journey

Building on our strengths and making long term goals

2014 - New head office built

2014 - New head office built

In 2014 the company commissioned the build of a brand-new purpose-built head office on the new Bridgehead Business Park – one of the greenest business parks in the UK, with preserved nature areas, solar panels and electric car charging.

Matthew Good House – the new company head office in Hull

The site where Matthew Good House was to be built

2016 - Good Travel re-launches

2016 - Good Travel re-launches

Becoming “Good Travel Management,” the new brand and vision for the future reflected the company’s ambition as a provider of consultancy and technology led solutions.

The rebrand launch event for Good Travel management

Good Travel winning the Uniglobe Service Excellence Award in 2018

2020 - John Good Logistics Formed

2020 - John Good Logistics Formed

Recognising an opportunity to combine all the expertise the group now owned through growth and acquisition – many of the subsidiary companies merged in January 2020 to become one company - John Good Logistics, providing third party logistics services.

The company brands that will be merged to form John Good Logistics

One of the first management meetings at the new company – John Good Logistics