SS Ballygarvey - Thats a lovely ship!
Samuel Kelly set up business on Queen's Quay Belfast in 1840 - initially as a "grocer and commission coal merchant". By 1861 Kelly owned his first ship, and from then until the 1980s, the Kelly Fleet carried the names of Kelly and Belfast around Europe with "Kelly's Coal Boats" becoming part of language in Coastal towns around Britain. The ships serving with distinction during two world wars.
When Samuel Kelly died in 1877 aged 57, control of the business passed to his 37 year old son John Kelly after whom the present day parent company John Kelly Limited is named.
In 1911 the firm became a limited company and, a few weeks later, took over the rival company Wm. Barkley and Sons Limited. This was the beginning of a process of growth and acquisition which resulted in the company becoming the most prominent solid fuel importer and distributor in Northern Ireland.
The business prospered under John Kelly who built a substantial trade using the fleet to bring coal to Northern Ireland. The company diversified to take account of trends in domestic heating and entered the oil business with their first road tanker in 1983. Steady growth followed with the oil business being introduced to other coal depots until Kelly Fuels became one of the largest oil distributors in the province. In 1993 Kelly’s merged with Lanes Group Limited, another significant player in the oil and solid fuel markets and used the name "Kelly Fuels".
In 1997 the acquisition of Bruce Lindsay Coal, based in Edinburgh and the Highlands of Scotland made Kelly Fuels the second largest solid fuel distributor in the U.K. The company continues to grow.