Category Archives: British liners

The Impact of Lost Time

A4 impact cover=low resA fresh look at the events leading up to the Titanic disaster

How did the many delays during construction contribute to the tragedy?

In a new book, the cascade of events prior to the disaster are carefully analysed. This is the result of years of research, including studying engineers’ reports on the construction of the Olympics, forensic metallurgy reports of wreck samples, and meetings with worldwide experts.

Lost time as it affected Titanic

With 232 pages and 350 photographs covering 11 chapters and 10 Appendices, this book collects and dissects all the events and delays that resulted in Titanic being in the same point on the north Atlantic as a massive iceberg. Construction delays, postponed maiden sailing dates, Olympic’s collision with HMS Hawke, the lost propeller blade, the late change of officers, the near-collision with SS New York, etc., as well as the need for new facilities at Southampton and New York. All events are discussed in detail, with the impact they had on Titanic’s short, tragic life.

The provision of the lifeboats, the wireless installation and its malfunction, the metallurgy of the steel plates and rivets, the effects of the coal strike and the bunker fire are all studied and covered in detail. Expert guidance is given on the formation and likely route of the iceberg.

Also covered are the construction of the gantries, slips, docks and drydock needed for the construction and operation of the Olympic Class – at the time the world’s largest vessels.

This is not another conspiracy book! It deals with the facts as far as they are currently known, from the initial designs through to the moment of impact in the icy waters of the North Atlantic. It has drawn together information and details from many sources into one central reference book.

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232 pages, A4, hardback with jacket. £28.00 plus shipping



AQUITANIA: Limited stock
Paperback version

aqui-1-cover002Clearing out the warehouse to make room for new stock, we found two boxes of mint copies of this book from 1997! Rarely available even from second-hand bookshops, this is a chance for you to acquire your own copy at less than the original cover price.

This is a paperback book covering the design, construction and service of Cunard’s four-funnelled express liner Aquitania. Published in 1997, this is smaller than our newer offering but still very detailed book about this beautiful liner. In 72 packed pages, every facet of the liner’s construction and service are covered.

Her first three commercial North Atlantic crossings in 1914 were a triumph. Then Aquitania proudly gave four years of service to her country, as an armed merchant cruiser, then a troopship and a hospital ship.

Aquitania’s peacetime service

Aquitania resumed her peacetime service and quickly became popular. Although she never fought for the Blue Riband, she was still one of the fastest liners on the route. Increasing US immigration restrictions, Prohibition, the Great D

World War II

With the advent of yet another war, she was soon requisitioned as a troopship, giving six years of hard work around the world.

Her last few years were spent  repatriating American and Canadian troops, German prisoners of war and war brides, before taking emigrants to their new lives in a new world. She was finally scrapped in 1950.

72 pages. £10.00 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




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



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. 

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192 pages with 500 photographs. £38.00 plus shipping



White Star’s largest liner

Cover for Majestic bookA hardback book covering the design, construction and service of White Star Line’s express liner Majestic.

Built by Blohm & Voss for Hamburg America, Bismarck was to have been the third of Albert Ballin’s planned trio of super liners, designed to dominate the North Atlantic .

Although launched, sadly the tragic outbreak of the Great War in August 1914 interrupted her completion, and throughout the war she lay at her builders, only half-built.

Reparations then to White Star Line as Majestic

Following the Armistice, the still-incomplete liner was ceded to White Star as reparations, and was completed by the builders. Once finished, she was renamed Majestic, and finally entered the prestigious trans-Atlantic service to New York, although she never competed for the Blue Riband.

Popular for a number of years, she generally enjoyed good passenger numbers. However, the quotas imposed on immigrants by the US authorities, coupled with Prohibition and the Great Depression, impacted on her success. Her grand interiors and immense size were redolent of an era that had passed.

With the merger of Cunard and White Star in 1934, the combined fleet was rapidly culled to effect the necessary economies to enable the new company to survive, and in 1936 it was announced that she was to be scrapped.

Conversion to HMS Caledonia

At the last minute she was sold to the British Admiralty and extensively converted into a training establishment for young seamen and artificers, as HMS Caledonia. Moored at Rosyth, she caught fire soon after the declaration of World War II and was gutted.

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206 pages plus three A3 throw-out deck plans. £42.00 plus shipping




Cover for Legendary Liners bookThis book represents an eclectic choice – the author’s personal favourite historic, legendary liners. The hardest part was in deciding which liners to leave out!

There have been so many famous  liners since the late Victorian era. The development of reliable, economical engines and the inclusion of a second propeller meant that liners no longer needed to be equipped with sails and associated rigging.

Interiors became ever more luxurious, menus were more inventive, safety increasingly important. Hulls became ever larger, decks more numerous. More dining rooms were added, plus cafés, gymnasiums, winter gardens, swimming pools, libraries and many other facilities designed to help passengers make the best use of their time aboard.

Final selection of Legendary Liners

Ships have been chosen from many of the companies operating around the world. The result is this fascinating page-by-page account of the most famous liners from nearly 100 years of maritime history.

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162 pages. £38.00 plus shipping



Cunard’s Happy Ship

Cover for Berengaria bookA hardback book covering the design, construction and service of Cunard’s popular express liner Berengaria.

Hamburg-America’s Albert Ballin dreamed of building a trio of liners to dominate the North Atlantic. Launched in May 1912 at Blohm & Voss, Imperator was completed in April 1913. An enormous eagle was mounted on the bow to ensure that she would be longer than Cunard’s Aquitania! On her trials she had problems with her turbines and her stability and emergency work was needed before she could enter service. During her first refit in early 1914 some of the top weight was taken out to try to improve stability, and internal changes were made.

The Great War

Imperator was laid up in Hamburg in August 1914, and in April 1919 was handed over to the Americans. She was used by them, named USS Imperator, as a troopship, before being laid up in New York. Transferred to Britain as part of the war reparations in November 1921, she was allocated to Cunard.

Cunard’s Berengaria

The first commercial voyage for Cunard, as RMS Imperator, was in February 1920. She was renamed Berengaria in February 1921, after being converted to oil burning.  Although never fast enough to compete for the Blue Riband, she was always popular on the North Atlantic service. Regularly enjoying high passenger numbers, she was successful for a number of years. After a series of fires in 1938 she was laid up, and eventually was scrapped in November 1938.

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196 pages plus three A3 throw-out deck plans. £38.00 plus shipping