SIR ALFRED LEWIS JONES (1845-1909), British shipowner, was born in Carmarthenshire, in 1845. At the age of twelve he was apprenticed to the managers of the African Steamship Company at Liverpool, making several voyages to the west coast of Africa. By the time he was twenty-six he had risen to be manager of the business. Not finding sufficient scope in this post, he borrowed money to purchase two or three small sailing vessels, and started in the shipping business on his own account. The venture succeeded, and he made additions to his fleet, but after a few years' successful trading, realizing that sailing ships were about to be superseded by steamers, he sold his vessels. About this time (1891) Messrs. Elder, Dempster & Co., who purchased the business of the old African Steamship Company, offered him a managerial post. This offer he accepted, subject to Messrs. Elder, Dempster selling him a number of their shares, and he thus acquired an interest in the business, and subsequently, by further share purchases, its control. See further Steamship Lines. In 1901 he was knighted. Sir Alfred Jones took a keen interest in imperial affairs, and was instrumental in founding the Liverpool school of tropical medicine. He acquired considerable territorial interests in West Africa, and financial interests in many of the companies engaged in opening up and developing that part of the world. He also took the leading part in opening up a new line of communication with the West Indies, and stimulating the Jamaica fruit trade and tourist traffic. He died on the 13th of December 1909, leaving large charitable bequests.
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