Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Superliners of the early 20th century, the building of the mighty LUSITANIA and MAURETANIA

Samuel Cunard founded the CUNARD LINE in 1840, Cunard a very successful Nova Scotia Shipping owner won the first British mail contract to establish a regular service across the North Atlantic. In 1902, Lord Inverclyde chairman of the CUNARD head office in Liverpool approached the British Government seeking help to build two huge superliners, the biggest, fastest and most powerful passenger liners ever built. CUNARD was alarmed not only with competition mainly from the Germans but also with a new American Tycoon, J. P. Morgan founder of the International Mercantile Marine, Morgan was buying the most powerful British Passenger Firms, including the White Star Line. The British Government agreed with a loan so the "LUSITANIA" and the "MAURITANIA" came into service in 1907. "LUSITANIA" the first, built by John BROWN & Co. Ltd at Clydebank was for a very short period of time the largest and fastest ship in the World, she was 31.550 GRT, the ship regained the Blue Riband for Britain. Built by SWAN HUNTER at Tyne & Wear, the "MAURETANIA" was even larger at 31.938 GRT and she proved to be even slightly faster than her sister so the Blue Riband was safe for Britain. Both ships were about 76.000 S.H.P. and were the first to cross the Atlantic in under five days, they were also beautifully decorated but were dubbed solid and reliable not pretentious, they were also very graceful with yacht-like lines. Both ships became very famous in their own ways, the "LUSITANIA" lost during the first World War and the "MAURETANIA" would be one of the most successful Liners ever built, she was scrapped in 1935. All postcards above from my collection


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  2. thanks for the comment Angelica