"The big companies will always come to me. You already have the status of exclusive supplier to the Messageries Impériales and the Suez Canal Company.
I have done business with the Peninsular & Oriental and British India companies, and with Austrian Lloyd, and hope to go on doing more business on an even greater scale with all these companies in the future."
Hypolite Worms to Édouard Rosseeuw, 1869
Opening of a branch in Bordeaux (January)
Placed under the management of Georges Schacher. Agreement with a merchant in Hamburg over the supply of coal to the gas and railway companies. Sale to the Ebro Canal Company (January). Proposals to hire the steamers "Emma" and "Séphora" to the Chemin de fer du Midi (February).
China at war with the United Kingdom and France (3 March 1857-24 October 1860)
Cancellation of the hire contract for these two vessels, which were to have been used to extend Bordeaux-Grimsby sailings through to Dunkirk. Chartering arrangements with the Anglo-French Steam Ship Cy Ltd challenged by the French shareholders (March). Cessation of coal shipments to California. Plans in association with A. Grandchamp to send goods from Dieppe to Saint Petersburg, via Grimsby. Sailings of the "Séphora" and "Emma" between Bordeaux and Grimsby subsidised by the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln Railway Cy (April). Austrian Lloyd among the growing list of customers. Possible decommissioning of the "Emma". "Séphora" chartered to the Compagnie Générale Maritime in Le Havre for Le Havre and/or Grimsby and Hamburg services.
Creation of a triangular subsidised mail network on the Atlantic. Concession for the southern network awarded to the Messageries Impériales and extending, initially, from Bordeaux and Marseilles, and subsequently from Bordeaux only, to Senegal, Brazil and La Plata (Act of 17 June)
Failure of negotiations with the Chemin de fer du Midi over the joint use of steamers (July). Conflict of interest with the Anglo-French Steam Ship Cy, earning it the rebuke from H. Worms that, in just 15 months, he had managed to build up 80,000 tonnes of coal traffic in Grimsby. Cancellation of the charter contract for the "Séphora" (August). Contract with the Chemin de fer d'Orleans for delivery to Bordeaux of 12,000 tonnes of coal. Financial guarantees provided by the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway Cy for the Bordeaux-Grimsby service; hire of the "Séphora" and "Emma" to a firm in Dunkirk for sailings to Copenhagen and Kronstadt (September). Award of a contract for the delivery of 16,000 tonnes of coal to Algiers and of 3 to 3,500 tonnes to be shipped to French Guyana for the Navy. Contract obtained for the shipment of tobacco to Algeria (October), in association with a colleague in Rouen. Contract signed with the Lombard Venetian Railway Company in Venice (November). The development of H. Worms' coal trading activities had now reached a point where over 400,000 tones had been exported from Britain, the equivalent of almost 6% of total exports (estimated at 6,757,718 tonnes in December).
"Emma" shipwrecked off the Coast of Brittany on its way to Copenhagen and Kronstadt. "Séphora" chartered to a company in Bordeaux for a service to Le Havre. Appointment of an agent in Nantes (January).
Withdrawal from the Anglo-French Steam Ship Cy Ltd (January-February)
against transfer of their shares to the company, H. Worms, Hantier Mallet & Cie and A. Grandchamp Fils taking full ownership of the "Lucien" and the "Victoria". Plans to launch a liner service between Bordeaux and Kronstadt, the latter being a port to which "substantial quantities of goods" could be shipped from Marseilles via Sète and the Chemin de fer du Midi. The "Séphora" sailed for Saint-Petersburg, while H. Worms set off for Marseilles where he had been "commissioned to supply coal to the steamers of the Russian Imperial Trading and Shipping Company in the Mediterranean and Black Sea". Successful bid to supply the Navy in Hong Kong. Appointment of an agent in Annaba (Bône).
Establishment of a branch in Marseilles (February)
managed by Paul Cruzel for purposes of trading in British coal and maritime shipping: ship hire, ship consignment, prospection of potential clients (February). Organisation of the Bordeaux-Kronstadt line. Visit by H. Worms to Hamburg to look into possibilities for local development of his operations (March). Appointment of an agent in Genoa (April). Shipment of rails to the Russian Railways on specially chartered vessels. Attempts to win business from the Compagnie de l'Union des Gaz (Bordeaux, Genoa, Toulouse). Plans to sell the 3 steamers "Gabrielle" (ex-"Victoria"), "Lucien" and "Séphora" (May). Proposal to the Chemin de fer du Midi for the delivery of 6,500 tonnes of coal.
Services to Kronstadt on board the "Lucien" (June)
Creation of a rival line by the Imperial Trading and Shipping Company in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (June). Voyage of "Gabrielle" from Le Havre to Copenhagen.
Opening of an agency in Swansea (July)
Major losses on traffic in the Baltic (July). The "Blanche", a ship belonging to A. Grandchamp Fils, took on a cargo in Grimsby. Contract with the Cordoba to Seville Railway for the supply of coal. First gas deal in Madrid (August). Plan to sell the 3 steamers to the Russian Company which, subsidised by its government, was in competition with the line H. Worms and his partners were trying to establish in the Baltic (September). Proposals to the Navy for coal shipments to Singapore or Tourane (Vietnam). Contracts with the Madrid to Saragossa and to Alicante railways and with the Navy for deliveries to Brest (September). Coal shipped to Messina, Smyrna and Odessa, and 6,000 tonnes placed in storage in Marseilles on behalf of the Russian Shipping company (November). Plans to start sailings from Bordeaux (wine, in particular) to Hamburg via Le Havre, in association with the Chemin de fer du Midi. Joint exploitation of a patent for the manufacture of coal briquettes in Yorkshire with the Couillard Fautrel company of Le Havre.
Foundation of the Universal Suez Ship Canal Company
for "digging the isthmus and operating a maritime canal open to ships of all nations",
under the presidency of F. de Lesseps (15 December)
Decision of H. Worms to have the "Séphora" make a number of experimental sailings between Bordeaux and Hamburg in conjunction with G. Schacher, whose role was to find cargoes from shippers in France, and with Cellier and Paran, brokers in Hamburg. Hantier Mallet & Cie appointed agent for the ships of the Russian Steam Ship company. Offer of services to the Universal Suez Ship Canal Company. Nomination of an agent in Alicante. Agreement with the Couillard Fautrel company giving H. Worms the exclusive right for the sale of coal briquettes manufactured in Britain in Rouen, Le Havre and Dieppe, etc. "Séphora" loaded in Bordeaux (January). Surge in prices as a result of the "war fever that seems to have taken hold of the brokers and speculators". Journey by Grandchamp to Grimsby in a bid to obtain better quality coal from the miners. Steamer operations losing money (1858 season).
Inauguration of the Bordeaux-Le Havre-Hamburg line (February)
first with the "Séphora" and then the "Lucien". H. Worms in Bordeaux to weigh up the opportunities for traffic to Saint Petersburg using the "Gabrielle" (February). Plans to deliver 8,000 to 10,000 tonnes of steam coal per year to Caen for the railways. Contact made by a firm in Antwerp regarding possibilities for placing Worms coal in Belgium and Holland. Order placed by the Navy for 2,000 tonnes to be delivered to Tourane. Request from the administration to take on board tobacco in Saint Petersburg for shipment to Le Havre. Offer of the "Gabrielle", "Séphora", "Lucien" and "Blanche" to the Navy and to place the Genoa agency and the company's organisation in the Mediterranean or Adriatic at the disposal of the Ministry (March). Contract signed with the Paris to Orleans Railway for deliveries to Bordeaux. Contracts for 3,000 tonnes (subsequently raised to 13,000 tonnes and then to 16,000 tonnes of coal for delivery to Toulon) and 10,000 tonnes for delivery to Genoa on behalf of the Navy.
Italian Campaign (23 April-8 July)
Start of work on digging the Suez shipping canal in what would become Port Said
Shipping activities disorganised by the war: cessation of shipments, difficulties in finding cargo for the "Lucien", proposal to decommission the "Gabrielle"... Plans to hire vessels on a monthly basis and then to sell them to the Navy (April). Rates shot up to "fabulous" levels. Toulon contract reduced to 1,500 tonnes.
Opening of a branch in Genoa (May)
Contract signed with the Seville to Jerez and Cadiz to Puerto-Real Railways. Request for information in Algiers and Annaba (Bône) to boost business at the Genoa branch where H. Worms was expecting substantial demand for "victuals, wines, spirits, flour, fodder and livestock". In his opinion, steamers would be able to offer a rapid service to the coasts of France, Algeria and Spain, where they could "pick up all the items that our army and our fleet may need in Genoa". Fall in the demand for British coal in Marseilles. The steamer "Blanche" is hired by the War Ministry but the order rescinded almost at once. Decision to continue operating on the Bordeaux-Le Havre-Hamburg line with Hantier Mallet & Cie, the steamers "Gabrielle" and "Séphora" sailing every 20 days from Bordeaux (May). Despatch of the "Lucien" to Saint Petersburg and of the "Blanche" to Genoa. Offer of "substantial, sustained, regular sales openings" to colliers in the Midi basins (June). Organisation of agency operations for shipping companies by the Grimsby branch. Goods shipped from Cardiff to Rio de Janeiro. Freight (railway sleepers and rails) shipped to Madras. Consignments despatched to Russia (July).
Signature of the armistice at Villafranca (July) putting an end to the Italian War
Sailings to Bordeaux, Le Havre and Kronstadt by the "Lucien" and "Blanche". Offer of services to the North Spain railway company. Settlement of the succession of Edmond Heuzé in the company Worms Heuzé & Cie, of which H. Worms had been an associate between 1829 and 1837. Despatch to the Bordeaux branch of a consignment of briquettes manufactured by Couillard Fautrel (August). Proposals to the Victor-Emmanuel Railway for deliveries to Genoa of 2,000 to 4,000 tonnes of coal, to the Steam Navigation Company of the Two Sicilies for a contract in Naples (H. Worms was already their supplier in Marseilles, Genoa and Civitavecchia) and to W. S. Lindsay & Co., operating a regular line between Marseilles and New York. Efforts to find vessels for the Navy which "embarrassed by its coal surpluses in Genoa and Marseilles, wanted to ship them out to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Cayenne, Saint Louis (Senegal), Gabon, Reunion, Papeete (Tahiti)". Offers to the Royal Asturian Company and to the Bilbao and Bayonne Shipping companies (September). Report on a visit by H. Worms to Bordeaux, Marseilles, Genoa, Milan, Venice and Trieste. Plans to set up a coal depot in Santander. The "Lucien" sailed for Saint Petersburg, the "Séphora" for Hamburg and the "Gabrielle" for Bordeaux. Salvage of the "Blanche". Offer to supply coal to Rossi & Co. in Genoa. Plans to sell the steamers to a merchant in Barcelona. Proposal to supply the gas coal needed by a number of different factories in Italy. Offer to the Lombard Venetian Railway Company in central Italy (October). Order placed with the Grande Combe Mines for several thousand tonnes of coal to be delivered to Marseilles. Hire of steamers to take locomotives from Le Havre to Santander and equipment for Spanish clients to the Moroccan coast. Negotiations with the Chemin de fer du Midi over the opening of a Bordeaux-Liverpool line. Proposals to the South Austrian Railway for the supply of 10,000 to 15,000 tonnes of coal. Operation of the "Lucien" between London and Grimsby. Possibility of using one of the steamers to take hydraulic lime between Bordeaux and Brest (November). Emerging need for a central agent in London felt by H. Worms and his agents in Cardiff, Newcastle and Grimsby. Proposals to supply the Madrid to Saragossa and Alicante Railways, the Grand Russian Railway company (already a client for shipping services for the carriage of rails). Efforts to find ships in Hull for collecting construction timber from the northernmost part of Europe beyond Archangelsk (December).
Contacts with the South Austria railways.
Organisation of regular deliveries of supplies to the coal depots set up in Bordeaux, Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro by the Messageries Impériales
which had obtained the concession for mail services to Bordeaux, Senegal, Brazil and La Plata
Undertaking in France to abolish all discrimination against British coal
Proposal to the Chemins de fer de l'Ouest for supplying coal to Dieppe and Caen. Offer to the company contracted to build the Suez Canal to deliver "the sizeable quantities of coal that [it] would need". Proposal to take equipment belonging to the General Roman Railways from France to Italy (March). Vessels chartered to load timber in Petchora. Plans to sell the "Séphora" and "Gabrielle" in Barcelona (April). Bordeaux-Le Havre-Hamburg round trip with the "Séphora" and "Lucien" in 30/32 days instead of 42 days. New proposals to the General Roman Railways over supplies in Marseilles and Sète.
Inauguration of the first regular steamship line between Bordeaux and Rio de Janeiro, under concession to the Messageries impériales (24 May)
Proposal to the Chemin de fer d'Orleans in Saint-Nazaire. Development of the coal and cast iron trade in Spain in association with Barcelona and Marseilles. Carriage of timber from London. Supply of coal to Malta. Plans to sell the steamers in Spain (June). Coal contract signed with the King of Naples. Increase in freight charges in the wake of the war in China (which began in 1857). Ships chartered for coal deliveries to Malta, Alexandria and Beirut on behalf of the Messageries. Plan to sell ships in Genoa and to open a branch in Barcelona (July). Contracts with the Alicante and the Leghorn to Florence Railways. Offer to the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway Cy and the Great Northern Railway regarding the supply of pine sleepers from the Landes. Coals from Lalle (Bessège) placed on the market. Carriage of oil from Hull to Dieppe via Grimsby. Poor results at A. Grandchamp Fils (August). Threat of war in Italy. Return of the "Séphora" empty from Hamburg. Plans to hire (or sell) steamers to the Sardinian Navy. Use of the fleet to deliver goods taken on board in Hamburg to Messageries vessels bound for Brazil from Bordeaux (September). Proposals to the North Spain Railways.
Foundation at Barsac in the Gironde of a company specialising in the manufacture of railway sleepers, pit props and telegraph poles (October)
Delivery to the Algerian railways of 75,000 to 80,000 sleepers. New undertaking for two years to supply the British coal needed by the steamers of the Russian Trading and Shipping Company in Marseilles.
Taking of Peking, signalling the end of the second Franco-British expedition to China (October)
Transport to Sète or Marseilles of iron ore produced by the Fonderies et Forges d'Alais in Italy or Spain. Supply of the sleepers needed to build the Algiers – Blida railway line. Contract with the Compagnie des chemins de fer de l'Ouest (November). Proposal to the Cadiz to Seville Railway. Plans to use one or two of the Worms steamers to take the 80,000 sleepers required for the construction of the Blida railway to Algiers. Possible decommissioning of the "Lucien". Appointment of a cargo receiving agent in Dieppe. Plans to sell the "Lucien", "Séphora" and "Gabrielle" in Paris.
Decrees exonerating industrial raw materials from duties and lowering the surcharge
on country of vessel origin and registration (January)
Competition from a German shipping company on the Bordeaux-Le Havre-Hamburg line presenting a threat that spurred H. Worms to recommend to Fr. Mallet that they should work even more closely together (February): "to ensure the best possible use of our three steamers, we should pool our interests". Several solutions were envisaged to this end: purchase of half the "Séphora" for operation on a fifty-fifty basis (for profits and losses) or no change in ownership but 100% common operation, each party having a half interest in results, etc.
Agreement between the Messageries Impériales and the French State following the annexing of Cochin-China by France (22 April) for the organisation of postal services from Marseilles to India, Indochina, China and the Mascarene Islands
Plans to build a briquette and pellet factory with Couillard Fautrel in Bordeaux, in conjunction with supplies to the Compagnie de l'Ouest. Delivery of 7,500 tonnes of coal and 22,500 tonnes of coke per year to the Egyptian Rail and Forwarding company in Alexandria (June). Major contract with the Compagnie de l'Ouest in Dieppe and Le Havre. Sailings to Saint Petersburg with chartered vessels (August).
Deliveries to the coal depots of the Messageries Impériales in Aden, Point de Galle (Ceylon) and Calcutta (Far East Line)
"You must attach the greatest possible importance to ensuring this new service is perfectly executed", recommended H. Worms to his Cardiff branch. "This excellent business is the envy of British trade, and some of the biggest and most powerful firms have exerted every possible influence to take it away from me." His position as "exclusive supplier to the Messageries" was a reference that he would quote in his correspondence. At the invitation of the Compagnie, which was seeking to charter ships under the best possible conditions, H. Worms embarked on his first dealings with Geo & A. Herring & Cie in London, which would result in a long and fruitful association (December).
Arrival of French troops in Mexico (20 December 1861)
Efforts to find coal customers in Australia (January). Deliveries to Point de Galle on behalf of the Peninsular & Oriental Cy (February). Supplies to Gibraltar and to refuel the Messageries Impériales in Singapore and Hong Kong (May). Despatch of shipments of coal to Aden and Bombay (August), these contracts forming part of the arrangement reached with Geo & A. Herring & Cie, under which Herring would handle all consignments on the Indian Trade Route and all those for the Atlantic and Mediterranean would be the responsibility of the Cardiff branch. Investigations into the situation of the Merchant Navy (July).
Purchase of a portable gasworks in Turin (August-September)
that H. Worms would resell in 1865. Renewal of the agreements with A. Grandchamp Fils in Rouen: extension of a company whose activities included, among other things, maritime shipping, land and sea transport (Dieppe-Grimsby line) and the coal trade (October). Proposal by Fr. Mallet to set up a special steam ship company rejected by H. Worms on the basis that "in the hands of a manager, the company would escape [his] ownership and [his] managerial authority" (December).
Coal duty set at 1.20 F per tonne irrespective of origin (January).
Contract with Egyptian Railway and attempts to drum up business with the Suez Canal Company (January). Orders from the Messageries for their Indochina service: Aden, Point de Galle, Hong Kong, Calcutta and Singapore (March).
Work on the construction of the Suez Canal halted, Britain, via Turkey, having put pressure on Ismael Pasha, Viceroy of Egypt to stop the supply of free labour for the project (May)
Decision to allocate all possible business from Grimsby to Dieppe to A. Grandchamp Fils: pitch, new and used rails, cast iron, etc. in order not to "be dependent on coal alone for the return trip to France". Delivery of large volumes of coke to Kronstadt (April-May). Proposal made to Eugène Cellier regarding the coal business in Stockholm (September-November). Since the amount of business involved was not enough to justify opening a branch, H. Worms would sell coal ex-ship, in full loads only (cost of unloading borne by the consignee). Henri Goudchaux (1846-1916), a cousin by marriage of Hypolite Worms, joined the Grimsby branch (October). The "Lucien" sailed from Kronstadt to Le Havre (October-November).
Appointment of a representative in Nantes, whose role would be "to sell coal throughout Normandy, Brittany and the Vendée". Contract with an associate in Italy where H. Worms, who had made up his mind "to keep out of any business involving paying commission to secret intermediaries, while running the risk of going to rack and ruin", no longer wished to work on a pre-negotiated price basis. Plans for the creation of a line conveying coal to Egypt on the outward leg and cotton for Marseilles, Le Havre or even Britain on the return (January-June) and opening of a branch in Alexandria. Marriage of Emma Worms, daughter of Hypolite, to Léon Joseph Franchetti (February). Further strengthening of the agreement with Mallet Hantier & Cie, H. Worms offering a 1/3rd share in the "Séphora" in exchange for a 1/6th stake in each of the "Gabrielle" and the "Lucien" (March). Contract with the Peninsular & Oriental Cy shared equally with Geo & A. Herring & Co. (April). Affreightment for 3 to 5 years of the steamers "Havre" and "Dordogne" for sailings to Hamburg, Grimsby, Hull and the Baltic and of the "Greatham-Hall" and "Iron-Era" for services between Bordeaux and/or Le Havre and/or Dieppe and Cardiff and/or Swansea and/or Sunderland.
Worked re-started on digging the Suez Canal following intervention by Napoleon III: use of steam-dredgers to replace the fellah workforce (July)
Transfer of the headquarters of the Maison Worms to 7, rue Scribe in Paris (October)
Affreightment by the Newcastle branch of ships sent by James Burness & Sons to Alexandria. Sales to gas lighting companies in Turin and Marseilles.
"Magnificent" results for shipping operations in 1864. Contract negotiated with Nubar Pasha, Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs, for 20,000 to 30,000 tonnes of coal and coke to be delivered to the railway between Alexandria, Cairo and Suez (January). Closure of the portable gasworks in Turin, which "in two years of operation had run up enormous losses". Deliveries in Genoa to the Dutch company Koninklijke Nederlandse Stoomboot Maatschappij of Amsterdam (February).
Trade Treaty between France and the Hansa towns of Lubeck, Bremen and Hamburg (March)
H. Goudchaux despatched to the Cardiff branch now under new management (May). Competition on the Bordeaux-Hamburg line from a German shipping company, Perlbach: in reprisal, direct sailings to Hamburg organised using the "Gabrielle", "Séphora" and "Lucien", larger numbers of British ships chartered and the decision reached to purchase another steamer (June). Acquisition by A. Grandchamp Fils of the "Ernestine" to join the "Blanche" on the France-Britain line. New order placed with the Hull shipyards. Plans in association with the Fraissinet Company to "extend the Hamburg line through to countries in the Levant and the whole of the Mediterranean". Coal depot established Dakar for the Messageries (August).
Link established between the shipping canal and Lake Timsah enabling barges to go directly from Port Said to Suez (15 August)
First supplies of coal for the dredging and construction equipment of Borel Lavalley & Cie, main contractor for the Suez Canal (November), H. Worms wishing to "deal with this firm for the delivery of its coal on the same bases as with the Messageries Impériales, in other words, on the commission principle". Contract with the Upper Italian Railway Company in Turin (November-December).
Voyage made from Bordeaux to Antwerp by the "Séphora", unable to reach Hamburg because of ice (January). Conversion to the French flag of the ship purchased with Hantier Mallet & Cie, under the new name of "Isabelle" (March). Offer of services to the Algiers to Blida Railway for the supply of Cardiff coal (April).
Removal of the surcharges on country of vessel origin and registration
favouring the French merchant fleet (May)
Austro-Prussian War (June-July)
Cargoes in profusion in Hamburg as a result of the war between Prussia and Austria (June). Contract shared equally with Geo & A. Herring & Cie for Calcutta. Sale of several shipments for the Alexandria Railways. Affreightment on an annual basis of steamers in Bordeaux, a port where H. Worms was planning to purchase a vessel to be used for the conveyance of coal "whenever there is a shortage of other goods" for Hamburg (November). Competition on the Bordeaux-Hamburg line from the British firm of Robinson in reprisal for which H. Worms launched a service to London conveying railway sleepers taken on board in Bordeaux (November-December).
Deliveries of coal to Algiers and Oran on behalf of the Compagnie Anonyme de Navigation Mixte (January).
Return of French troops stationed in Mexico (March)
Inauguration of the Universal Exhibition in Paris (1 April)
Sale of coal to the Paris to Lyon Railway for the Algerian network. Agreement between H. Worms and Hantier Mallet & Cie over the acquisition of the British steamer the "Neptune", renamed the "Marguerite" in honour of its new French affiliation (April) and placed in operation on the Bordeaux-Le Havre-Hamburg line. Delivery of coal to Port Said on behalf of Universal Suez Ship Canal Company, where the Maison Worms was serving the depots of the Messageries and Borel Lavalley & Cie (July). Decision to stop the service to London against an undertaking on the part of Robinson to cease their attacks on the Hamburg line (June-July). Contacts with the Bombay Company over sales of coal and railway sleepers (June-September). Contract signed via Geo & A. Herring & Cy with the Peninsular & Oriental Cy for a total of 6,000 tonnes of coal to be delivered within 3 months to Port Said (November).
Establishment of general partnership with Messrs. Muller and Cordano (January) to whom H. Worms transferred his Genoa branch (March): business would subsequently be handled from Marseilles. Hantier Mallet & Cie transformed into F. Mallet & Cie with H. Worms remaining a general partner in the company, whose fleet comprised the "Lucien", "Gabrielle", "Séphora", "Isabelle" and "Marguerite". Purchase by Fr. Mallet on behalf of H. Worms of a steamer named "Emma", sailing under the French flag (March), in order to boost services on the Bordeaux-Le Havre-Hamburg line. Negotiations with the PLM Railway over the supply of 400,000 to 500,000 sleepers for the Algerian railways, to be delivered to Algiers, Oran and Stira. Start of shipping services between Bordeaux and Rouen with the "Dordogne", a steamer chartered on an annual basis (April), the aim being to close the gap between the plentiful volumes on the Hamburg - Le Havre line and the relative shortage of consignments to Bordeaux. Second order from the Peninsular & Oriental Cy (March) requiring 15 shiploads to Port Said between May and July. Supply of coal to the Austrian Lloyd Steamship Company in Trieste. Deliveries to various steam mills and to the Turkish Government in Constantinople. Contract with the Chemin de fer des Charentes for 275,000 pine sleepers from the Landes (July). Further deliveries to Borel Lavalley & Cie (August). Offer of services to the Brussels Steamship Company between Ostend, le Brazil and la Plata for restocking its depots in Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, Dakar, etc. (September). Order for 30,000 tonnes of coal from the Alexandria Railway (October). Shortage of ships for hire to deliver as promised to Borel Lavalley & Cie (December).
Possible stoppage of the "loss-making" Bordeaux-Rouen service and threat to the Bordeaux-Le Havre-Hamburg line (January-February). Delivery of coal to Gibraltar (through the intermediary of J. Burness & Sons), Lisbon and Malta. Acquisition of the vessel "Koh-I-Noor" in Scotland (March) renamed the "Suzanne" with the home port of Bordeaux. The steamer, now belonging to H. Worms, was to be used to carry sleepers manufactured in Barsac from Bordeaux to La Rochelle, for the Chemin de fer des Charentes. Proposal to buy the Bordeaux-Antwerp service from the Belgian company Hautermann (April), where the steamer "Marguerite" was conducting trials at the request of G. Schacher. Contracts for 44,000 tonnes of coal with the Chemins de fer de l'Ouest and for 15,000 tonnes with Austrian Lloyd (May-June). Arrival of Éd. Rosseeuw in Egypt:
for purposes of a handling coal shipments, Suez Canal transit, consignment sales and banking transactions (flows of funds corresponding to the traffic handled). Contract with PLM for 50,000 sleepers. Deposit of the 8,000 tonnes of coal needed to supply the ships expected for the inauguration of the Suez Canal. Award of a contract for a batch of over 110,000 infantry sabres (July). Marketing efforts in relation to shipping companies, the European national Navies, and even in the United States, to spread the news about the Worms branch in Egypt, represented in London and Bombay by Geo & A. Herring & Co. (August). Weekly departures of a sailing vessel loaded with coal to Bombay for the Bordeaux branch.
Inauguration of the Suez Canal in the presence of the Empress Eugenie (17 November)
Consignment of the fleet of Donald Mc Gregor in Port Said, where Éd. Rosseeuw "had no idea what could be done" since, according to him, "the canal was a failure and the struggle impossible", a defeatist attitude that H. Worms was to counter by confirming his certainty that the Canal would be a success. Acquisition by F. Mallet & Cie of the steamer "Blanche", with the home port of Le Havre. Purchase by H. Worms of the "Stella" (December) to step up services from Bordeaux, rechristened with the French name of "Marie" (January 1870).
Request sent to Geo & A Herring & Co. "to have an employee on hand [in London] to devote himself full time to giving the business in Port Said the necessary care and attention" and to canvas companies operating lines to India and beyond over the supply of coal and the consignment of their steamers as well as the Holt shipping company, whose branch was building up a sizeable customer portfolio. Transfer by the Messageries of their coal depot from Suez to Port Said (February). Arrival of H. Goudchaux in Paris. On his return to Cardiff, he would stop off in Belgium and Holland to enquire about business with shipping companies using the Suez Canal. Use of steamers chartered for shipments to Bombay (March).
Inauguration of the Bordeaux-Antwerp line with the steamer "Marie" (April)
Declaration of War by France on Prussia (19 July)
Three ships, the "Marie", "Blanche" and "Emma" requisitioned by the Navy. Interruption of northbound coastal shipping operations (July). Orders placed by the French Navy in Cardiff for 25,000 tonnes of coal to be delivered to Cherbourg and Brest, 10,000 to 15,000 tonnes for Toulon: H. Worms expected to advance the funds, find and charter the ships and organise unloading (August). "Since events were occurring at a frightening pace and Paris could be invaded", he decided to establish his centre of operations in Le Havre to be able to correspond with his branches in England and his representatives in Cherbourg, Brest and Toulon. Before leaving, he handed over operations in the capital to his son, Lucien, and his son-in-law, Léon Franchetti. Delivery of 2,000 tonnes of coal to Port Said for the Navy (September). Mobilisation of the steamers "Gabrielle", "Isabelle" and "Marguerite" for shipments to Dunkirk, Bordeaux or Calais (December).
Napoleon III taken prisoner at Sedan (2 September), proclamation of the 3rd Republic
(4 September), siege of Paris by the Prussians (20 September), organisation of the resistance
by Gambetta in Tours (7 October)
H. Worms summoned to the seat of the provisional government in Tours (December). In the absence of news from him and fearing an attack on Le Havre, a close associate, Élie Baudet, decided to transfer company head offices to Bordeaux. H. Worms joined him there, only to learn of the death of Léon Franchetti (6 December), serving in the Éclaireurs de la Seine as a squadron captain, from shrapnel wounds at the battle of Champigny.