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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Queen is Born

Postcard depiction of the Royal Mail Ship Queen Elizabeth

A charming little film from circa 1946 about the launch and early career of RMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest ship in the world when she was built:

I've never sailed on any ship, but I would love to have done so in the era when Britannia still ruled the waves. My father along with thousands of other G.I.'s returned from the war aboard the Queen Elizabeth, and somewhere among my things are a ship's newspaper and a metal candy tin with a cover very much like the picture at the top of this post, which my mother later used as a sewing box. Long gone, though, are the several hundred dollars he won off his buddies, playing craps all the way across the North Atlantic!

I also came across these Cunard menus and a cover - click to enlarge:

Menu cover, 1957, depicting two old English seadogs meeting in some exotic foreign port - Raleigh and Drake, perhaps?

Breakfast menu, 1950 - but who eats onion soup and cold ox tongue for breakfast?

Dinner menu, 1955 - by the way, the five-shilling bottles of wine
would be equivalent to about $8.65 today - believe it or not.
I wonder how big they were.

If you're interested, here's Part 3 of a documentary about the Cunard liners and others of the era, with some interviews of folks who were instrumental in their construction or operation - you can watch the whole 4 episodes on YouTube:


Tim said...

They don't make'em like that anymore! Engineered, but still things of grace and beauty, with an undoubted life of their own!

Russ Manley said...

I agree with every word you said.

Harpers Keeper said...

Very cool post. Thanks for sharing.

Davis said...

I remember her well, having seen my parents and cousins off on her more than once, I remember her sister RMS Queen Mary better having sailed on her as a youngster.

They were grand ships from an age when travel was gracious.

Stan said...

I would sail on her but not these big oversized behemoth they have now. Not appealing to me at all.

Russ Manley said...

Davis - oh man, I envy you.

Stan - yeah, this modern monsters are waaay too big - a disaster waiting to happen.

Davis said...

As Stan says the new monsters are just that. I sailed on the Queen Mary 2 a few years back and while the experience of being at sea is always wonderful (there is nothing like it in the world) these new ships feel bizarrely bloated and one imagine toppling over at any minute.

Russ Manley said...

It's possible to have too much of a good thing, you know?

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