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.

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262 pages. £48.00 plus shipping



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.

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250 pages with hundreds of photographs. £48.00 plus shipping



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

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




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.

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188 pages with 800 photographs. £38.00 plus shipping



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.

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146 pages with 350 photographs. £38.00