Category Archives: Blue Riband liners

SS UNITED STATES:
America’s Superliner

Cover for ss United States bookW.F. Gibbs first dreamt of a 1,000-foot liner in 1915. Over the following decades he revised and perfected his design, trying his ideas and dreams in other liners. In 1939 he designed America, in which he tested many of his concepts.

Her successful war service as a high speed troop transport meant that, in 1943, he was asked to finally prepare his plans to design a combined passenger liner and troop transport, using the latest developments in materials and technologies, especially the use of aluminium and high-pressure high-temperature boilers and engines.

Maiden voyage and commercial service

Finally in 1952 ss United States sailed on her maiden voyage as an express liner, gaining the Blue Riband. She was never asked to be a troopship. The dream only lasted 17 years, as the advent of cheap air travel took over, and in 1969 United States was laid up.

SS United States – laid up and idle

Since then various schemes and plans have been proposed for her future, and she has had a number of owners. Currently she is still afloat, albeit totally gutted internally, awaiting the next decision.

ss united states – title pagess united states – page 17ss united states – page 31ss united states – page 111ss united states – page 123ss united states – page 163ss united states – page 255

262 pages. £48.00 plus shipping




 

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO OVERVIEW PAGE

WHITE STAR LINE:
The Company & The Ships

Cover for White Star Line bookThe origins of White Star Line can be traced back to 1846. T.H. Ismay bought the company in 1868, registering it as Oceanic Steam Navigation, trading as White Star. He forged agreements with Harland & Wolff in Belfast to build his ships, which quickly gained a reputation for speed, comfort and reliability. The company grew and prospered, building ever bigger and better ships.

After T.H. Ismay died, his son, J. Bruce Ismay, took over. In 1902 the American financier J. Pierpont Morgan bought the company as part of the IMM combine, and Ismay became President and Chairman.

American owners, economic pressures

World economics turned against the company, with slumps, depressions, the loss of Titanic, the Great War and reduced US immigration quotas. By the late 1920s White Star was on the point of collapse, and in 1934, under pressure from the UK government, it was forced to merge with Cunard, also in financial difficulties.

Development, growth and decline

This book looks at the development, growth and decline of one of the most famous shipping lines in history. It looks at the highlights, successes, mishaps and tragedies.

It covers the careers of all the ships, owned and chartered, with photographs of most, along with illustrations of advertisements, menus and other ephemera. It is a complete company history.

White Star Line – title pageWhite Star Line – page 4White Star Line page 60White Star Line – page 93White Star Line – page 136White Star Line page 181White Star Line p198White Star Line p219White Star page 236

250 pages with hundreds of photographs. £48.00 plus shipping




 

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO OVERVIEW PAGE

NORMANDIE Vols 1–5:
The complete history

normandie-all-fiveAll five volumes in the history of French Line’s Normandie, at an amazing 20% discount.

In these five volumes, the reader can follow the entire history of this liner, from concept, through design. From construction to launch. From finishing to trials. And then the triumphant maiden voyage!

This was to be the greatest floating Art Deco masterpiece ever assembled, with work from every famous French artist and decorator from this period. The company and the nation were determined to make Normandie represent the best of France.

Normandie‘s full history

The five successful years of her commercial life are detailed in these beautifully illustrated and published books.

Internment, fire and salvage

Following the events of September 1939, Normandie was laid up at New York, pending the outcome of the situation in  Europe. Once America had entered the war, plans were drawn up for the best use of Normandie – aircraft carrier, aircraft transporter, hospital ship, troopship. Finally conversion work to a troopship was started, but following a series of incompetent decisions and careless workmen, tragically she caught fire and rolled over at her pier.

Too badly damaged to be worth trying to save, the decision was taken to undertake the largest salvage operation to date. After months of dangerous work by divers and salvage crews, she was righted, and then towed off to be scrapped.


A marvellous resource (the full Normandie set) – I wish this had been available years ago! John Maxtone-Graham


Your Normandie books hold a revered space on my bookshelf. Mario Pulice


normandie-vol1_page_047normandie-vol1_page_026normandie-vol2_page_013normandie-vol2_page_018normandie-vol3_page_022normandie-vol3_page_058normandie-vol4_page_020normandie vol 4 – page 054normandie vol 5 – page 055normandie vol 5 – page 137

700+ pages, 2,600+ photographs and three throwout deck plans.
£152.00 plus shipping




 

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO OVERVIEW PAGE

SHIPS OF THE BRITISH MERCHANT NAVY: 1932

Cover for Ships of the British Merchant NavyIn the years between the two world wars, vessels flying the Red Duster were pre-eminent around the world, with thousands of seamen, hundreds of ships and dozens of companies carrying passengers and cargo. This was the heyday of the British Merchant Navy.

In 1932, noted maritime author E.C. Talbot-Booth attempted to record the principal ships and companies in his now-famous book, Ships of the British Merchant NavyThis work examines his original selection and traces each vessel’s subsequent career, as far as has been possible.

Research and Results

After years of painstaking research and hours spent pouring through libraries and on the Internet, all but a handful of ships mentioned in the original work were tracked down. Some were scrapped or lost before World War II. Others were lost during the war. More survived, along with their crews. All but a few are detailed in this volume.

Copiously illustrated with photographs of many of the ships plus items of contemporary ephemera, this book is a compendium of information for the maritime historian.

BMN – title pageBMN  – page 1BMN – page 54BMN – page 85BMN – page 111BMN – page 118BMN – page 143

188 pages with 800 photographs. £38.00 plus shipping




 

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO OVERVIEW PAGE

QUEEN MARY:
1936 to 1947

Cover for Queen Mary 1936 to 1947 bookHaving gained the Blue Riband in  August 1936, covered in the previous volume, further refinements were made to Queen Mary during the winter of 1936/1937. These helped her to keep the Blue Riband against several tries by Normandie.

For the next three years she enjoyed considerable commercial success, with consistently high passenger numbers. This fully justified the faith of Cunard, the UK government and the people of the UK in the decision to revive her after the debâcle of the Great Depression.

World War II: requisition as a troopship

After the dark days of September 1939, debates raged about her future use, or even if she should be scrapped and her steel used for the war effort. Instead, she was converted into a troopship, and gave five years of sterling service. Following the peace she was used to repatriate US troops, and later Canadian war brides, until she was released from war service in 1946.

Queen Mary’s post-war refit

After a total refit and update for post-war expectations, Queen Mary returned to commercial service in 1947.

Complemented by hundreds of rare photographs and pieces of memorabilia, this book is a must for any fan of the most famous 3-stacker in history.

QM Vol 2 – title pageQM Vol 2 – page 15QM Vol 2 – page 49QM Vol 2 – page 59QM Vol 2 – page 90QM Vol 2 – page 102QM Vol 2 – page 119QM Vol 2 – 139

146 pages with 350 photographs. £38.00




 

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO OVERVIEW PAGE

QUEEN MARY:
Blueprint to Blue Riband

Cover for Queen Mary Blueprint to Blue Riband bookCunard has long been synonymous with the best in trans-Atlantic travel. Many of the company’s liners have won the Blue Riband. A proud boast is that the company has the best safety record of the lines and liners that have crossed the Atlantic.

Cunard have owned and operated many famous liners over the years – Campania, Lucania, Lusitania, Mauretania, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, or more recently the new generation of Queens.

But of all of these liners, in over 175 years of Cunard history, there is one name above all others that is connected with Cunard – Queen Mary.

Queen Mary‘s design and construction

This volume covers the early years of Queen Mary. From when she was first planned to when she wrestled the record for the fastest Atlantic crossing from her French rival Normandie. There are stunning photographs, many previously unpublished. The reader is taken step-by-step through the design, construction and fitting out of the liner.

Maiden voyage and Blue Riband

Her entry into service and the maiden voyage is thoroughly covered. The highlight of the season was gaining the Blue Riband in August 1936, after new propellers were fitted. 

qm-vol-1-1QM Vol 1 - page 13QM Vol 1 – page 26QM Vol 1 – page 120QM Vol 1 – page 124QM Vol 1 – page 146QM Vol 1 – page 181

192 pages with 500 photographs. £38.00 plus shipping




 

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO OVERVIEW PAGE

NORMANDIE Vol 5:
Fire and Salvage

Cover for Normandie book Volume 5A hardback book covering the sad demise of French Line’s historic liner Normandie. This is the fifth volume in a monumental series.

Following the tragic events of September 1939, Normandie was laid up at New York. She was  carefully guarded pending the outcome of the situation in Europe. Once America had entered the war in 1941, plans were drawn up for the best use of Normandie. Ideas included an aircraft carrier, aircraft transporter, hospital ship or troopship.

Conversion of Normandie

Finally conversion work to a troopship, to be known as Lafayette, was started. Following a series of incompetent decisions and careless workmen, tragically she caught fire. Despite heroic efforts, she rolled over at her pier. The fire and capsize is thoroughly covered in detailed text and photographs.

The world’s largest salvage operation

Too badly damaged to be worth trying to save, the decision was taken to undertake the largest salvage operation to date. After months of planning and discussions, the near super-human task of salvaging Normandie began. She lay on her side, deep in the mud at New York City’s pier 88. Following lengthy and often dangerous work by divers and salvage crews, the hulk was righted. Finally she was towed off to be scrapped at the Lipsett scrapyard in New Jersey.

Her demolition brought an end to the story of what was arguably the greatest ocean liner ever.  

Other books in this series cover the design and construction, the Art Deco interiors, the maiden season winning the Blue Riband on the North Atlantic and the following years of service.


A marvellous resource (the full Normandie set) – I wish this had been available years ago! John Maxtone-Graham


Your Normandie books hold a revered space on my bookshelf. Mario Pulice


normandie vol 5 – title pagenormandie vol 5 – page 030normandie vol 5 – page 040normandie vol 5 – page 055normandie vol 5 – page 085normandie vol 5 – page 095normandie vol 5 – page 127normandie vol 5 – page 137

152 pages with 550 photographs. £38.00 plus shipping




 

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO OVERVIEW PAGE

NORMANDIE Vol 4:
1936–1937

Cover for Normandie book Volume 4A hardback book covering the last four years’ service of French Line’s historic liner Normandie. It is the fourth volume in this monumental series.

This volume takes a look at the rest of her service life for the next four seasons after the maiden year, as Normandie settled into regularly crossing the North Atlantic.

Also covered are the epic battles between Queen Mary over the Blue Riband, to which eventually she reluctantly had to concede defeat.

Normandie‘s famous Rio cruises

Normandie also undertook two stunning cruises to Rio in 1938 and 1939, timed to coincide with the world-famous Rio Carnival.

Four glorious years – then internment

Events surrounding Normandie are also covered, including the fires on board Paris and Lafayette, and the build-up to the outbreak of World War Two, ending with her internment in the apparent safety of New York harbour.

Other books in this series cover the design and construction, the Art Deco interiors, the maiden season winning the Blue Riband on the North Atlantic and the fire and salvage.


A marvellous resource (the full Normandie set) – I wish this had been available years ago! John Maxtone-Graham


Your Normandie books hold a revered space on my bookshelf. Mario Pulice


normandie-vol4_page_001normandie-vol4_page_020normandie-vol4_page_023normandie vol 4 – page 054normandie vol 4 – page 058normandie vol 4 – page 121

148 pages with 550 photographs. £38.00 plus shipping




 

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO OVERVIEW PAGE

NORMANDIE Vol 3:
The Maiden Season

Cover for Normandie book Volume 3A hardback book covering the life of French Line’s historic liner Normandie. It covers the triumphant maiden voyage and the first year of service. This is the third volume in this monumental series of five volumes.

Volume Three covers the festivities in preparation for Normandie‘s maiden voyage from Le Havre, the ship’s departure, her call at Southampton, and then the triumphant arrival at New York harbour, proudly flying the Blue Riband, before settling down to a glorious maiden season on the trans-Atlantic service.

Normandie‘s first year of service

Normandie‘s entire first momentous season is examined in carefully researched detail. Dozens of items of ephemera, menus, advertisements, etc. are featured.

Also covered is her dry docking for a refit that would help to eliminate her troublesome vibration, and increase her speed beyond that of Cunard’s Queen Mary, in an attempt to regain the coveted Blue Riband. 

Other books in this series cover the design and construction, the Art Deco interiors, the following years of service and then the fire and salvage.


A marvellous resource (the full Normandie set) – I wish this had been available years ago! John Maxtone-Graham


Your Normandie books hold a revered space on my bookshelf. Mario Pulice


normandie-vol3_page_001normandie-vol3_page_022normandie-vol3_page_046normandie-vol3_page_058normandie-vol3_page_070normandie-vol3_page_140

144 pages with 600 photographs. £38.00 plus shipping




 

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO OVERVIEW PAGE

NORMANDIE Vol 2:
The interiors

Cover for Normandie book Volume 2A hardback book covering the interiors of French Line’s historic liner Normandie. This is the second volume in a monumental five-part series.

This volume is devoted to the stupendous interiors – the greatest floating Art Deco masterpiece ever assembled. Every famous French artist and decorator from this period had their work included: the company and the nation were determined to make Normandie represent the best of France.

It covers public spaces for all classes as well as detailed accounts of the accommodations.

Guided tour through Normandie‘s interiors

Initially the reader follows a first class passenger as they board the liner and then accompanies them from bow to stern. From the main entrance hall we pass by the ornate lifts and then look at the chapel, then the swimming pool and gymnasium. After the grand Dining Room we pass through the Long Gallery to the Grand Salon and the Smoking Room, before looking at the Winter Garden and the Grill Room. Tourist and Third Class public areas are also covered.

We are then taken through the Deluxe suites, including the luxurious Deauville and Trouville suites: terrace cabins, and standard doubles and singles are also covered. Second and third class public areas and cabins are examined, as are crew accommodations including the captain’s quarters. 

Other books in this series cover the design and construction, the maiden season winning the Blue Riband on the North Atlantic, the following years of service and then the fire and salvage.


A marvellous resource (the full Normandie set) – I wish this had been available years ago! John Maxtone-Graham


Your Normandie books hold a revered space on my bookshelf. Mario Pulice


normandie-vol1_page_001normandie-vol1_page_019normandie-vol1_page_026normandie-vol1_page_047normandie-vol1_page_087normandie-vol1_page_120
normandie-vol2_page_001normandie-vol2_page_013normandie-vol2_page_018normandie-vol2_page_060normandie-vol2_page_095normandie-vol2_page_102

128 pages with 382 photographs and three A3 throwout deck plans.
£38.00 plus shipping



 

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO OVERVIEW PAGE