Welcome to History of great ships

Welcome to our website dedicated to the celebration of the history of ships. The Cunard line was founded in the mid nineteenth century by Samuel Cunard. Since then it has become perhaps the most famous British shipping line. Its ships still sail the traditional route across the Atlantic today, enabling passengers to go on to enjoy and relive the history and heritage from the Golden Age of Ocean Travel.

Over the years the Cunard line has produced some of the country’s greatest ocean liners. It’s closely associated with several great ships: for example, the Mauretania, Aquitania, Lusitania, Caronia and of course the famous Cunard Queens. Many of these ships have given excellent service through both war and peace. But the Carpathia is not to be forgotten, nor her epic role in the rescuing of survivors from one of the most famous ship tragedies of all time, the Titanic. As a result the legend of the Carpathia lives on and she has become famous. Today the Carpathia and her story is always intertwined with that of the Titanic and her devastating sinking on her maiden voyage on 15th April 1912 after it hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic. 

This world-famous shipping line has long been associated with the route from Britain to New York and from the 1910s the Dominion route all the way to Canada. Cunard Line reached its one hundred year anniversary in 1940. It intended to mark this with the launch of both the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth on the weekly transatlantic service from the forties but regrettably the Second World War intervened and so this couldn’t happen until 1947. Due to the war there were no celebrations to mark the Cunard Line's centenary. In the sixties Cunard Line celebrated its 125th Anniversary. Indeed with its long and illustrious history, it is apt that Cunard Line has for many years celebrated its exciting, legendary and illustrious history and the exciting fact that it owns "The Most Famous Ocean Liners in the World".

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This website is all about the great ships of our recent history.

National Historic Ships is a public body who advises the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on British historic ship conservation and funding possibilities. It also offers advice to the Heritage Lottery Fund and many public funding bodies on conservation opportunities and particular applications. It also acts as a centre point for consultation on aspects of the conservation of historic ships and maintains the National Register of Historic Vessels.

The world-renowned RMS Britannia of the mid nineteenth century is a most notable ship as it was the first ship owned by Sir Samuel Cunard and his new shipping line. It was the ship that began the transatlantic crossing and Cunard Line's long pedigree of excellent, well-built ships.

The Britannia was a paddle steamer and inaugurated Cunard Line's transatlantic crossing passenger and royal mail service from Liverpool to Boston, USA.

This website celebrates the history of pioneering ships and their honours its unique place in maritime history in the birth of the transatlantic crossing and Cunard Line back in 1840.

The very first ship to utilise steam as support on a transatlantic trip was the American sailing ship Savannah who had been equipped with auxiliary steam engines geared to two paddle wheels on the ship’s sides. In the 1810s, she took the journey from New Jersey to Liverpool in 27 days, but the ship had depended on her sails most of the time – the engine had only been running for 85 hours during the entire voyage. Eventually, the new coastal steamer Sirius, temporarily rented for the trans-Atlantic voyage, made the entire voyage under continuous steam power.

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