Any pre WW1 liners on display


Feb 14, 2011
2,447
4
123
There seem to be plenty of preserved decomissioned warships from the early 20th century, as well as the 19th century, but very few ocean liners...

Brunell's mid 19th century liner liner Great Britian (which was stranded for decades in the faulkland islands) is the only 19th century ocean liner I know of that has been restored and is on display.
The only other ones I know of are on the sea floor.

The Great Britian, the Queen Mary, and the United States are the only true ocean liners I know of that are quite old that still exist.
The United States might go back into service, but the Great Britian and Queen Mary are essentially floating museums.
Where else might one find a very old ocean liner that has been restored, and is open to the public for tours?
I still cringe with frustration when thinking of the NEEDLESS scrapping of the Aquitania in the early 50s.
She could have been the ultimate ocean liner museum.Its is a pity so few liners were preserved....

regards

Tarn Stephanos
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,045
64
308
UK
The liner Princesa Victoria, built by Harland & Wolff for the Union Castle Line, entered service in 1936, served in WW2 as an armed merchant cruiser and was still in use as a cruise ship in the Mediterranean into this century. Last I heard it was up for sale a year go for about $5m. A small sum to a man of your means, Tarn, and a worthwhile investment.

There's also the Hikawa Maru, a Japanese Trans-Pacific luxury liner built at the Mitsubishi yard in 1930. Served in WW2 as a troopship and later as a hospital ship, which accounts for its survival. After resuming a commercial career postwar, the ship has been preserved at Yokohama as a tourist attraction.
 
Feb 14, 2011
2,447
4
123
Hi Bob
A man of my means? I only wish i had $5 million- Im living off my ebay sales and working on Boston harbor ferry boats.
These days i live paycheck to paycheck, but one day my ship might come in.....

Ill have to check out any online info about the Princesa Victoria and the Hikawa Maru, they sound very interesting...
Thanks again.
regards

Tarn Stephanos
 
B

Brent Holt

Guest
Olympic and Mauretania (I) would also have been excellent candidates for preservation. But the list is endless. Ocean liners have not fared well in this area. It is a shame that at least 1 major pre-WWI liner was not saved for the future.

Brent
 
Feb 14, 2011
2,447
4
123
Thanks for the information and the link Bob.
The Princesa is a lovely ship!

Brent, I think in the case of Olympic, the plate her engines sat on was cracked, her rivets were loose, and she needed massive maitenence.
Plus with Queen mary on the stocks, Olympic was simply out of date...
Same for the Mauretania...
So it wasnt seen as practical to keep those ships around...
As for the Aquitania though, accounts I have read suggests that when she was retired, her engines and her hull were sound....
The Aquitania outlived them all..only to have her life prematurely brought to a close...

regards

Tarn Stephanos
 
B

Brent Holt

Guest
Contrary to what many believe, Olympic was in good condition when she was retired. She was no more outdated than Aquitania, Majestic, or Berengaria. The other ships mentioned above also had structural problems in their later years that required heavy repairs. Aquitania had cracks and superstructure problems that were addressed in the 1930s.
Olympic was actually cheaper to operate than Aquitania, Majestic, or Berengaria. Olympic was re-riveted in some areas and the bedplates repaired in 1932.
One problem is that some researchers in the past only looked into some of the repairs done to Olympic in the later part of her career and concluded that she was coming apart! But they failed to check into other similar vessels to Olympic and see what problems they had. When you dig some more, you find that Olympic's required repairs were average for her size and age.
Mark Chirnside's article, Olympic: Another Premature Death, is an excellent start on this subject. (Although it is just the tip of the iceberg from what I have heard)
You can find the article here:
https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/articles/olympic_02_chirnside.shtml

Brent
 

Jon Hollis

Member
Jan 23, 2004
598
0
0
I have an audio tape of a friend of mine Harold Blakey now deceased that he made for me while on the QE2 he was an engine room writer and before joining Cunard he was on board the Olympic in the Engine Room. On the tape he tell how he and his co workers were having coffee one morning when they felt the engines suddenly going full speed astern. They threw open the deadlights and looked out just in time to see one half of the Nantucket Lightship going by their porthole. He also mentioned that the Olympics rescue boat was already halfway down to the water. Any way later in the tape he describes while they were docked in New York they were pouring lead for Babbett Bearings when they noticed a large crack in the Engine Bed Plates. What with the claims for the Lightship (White Star Line paid for a replacement of the Lightship by the way) and the cracked bed plates that spelled the end of the Olympic because to remove the engines to replace the plate and considering her age it would have not be worthwhile
 
B

Brent Holt

Guest
Interesting, although I am somewhat skeptical. There may be Cunard records somewhere to prove or disprove it. (Of course, his memory might have been off somewhat since he was speaking of events decades later.)
Brent
 

Jon Hollis

Member
Jan 23, 2004
598
0
0
> [I don't know why so many people on the site doubt peoples words this man was smart and a long time seafarer and would have no reason to make up any stories. It seems this is the norm around here that everyone wants sworn in blood proof of everything that anyone brings up that is contrary to the insiders. HE WS THERE we were not... ]
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,641
457
453
Easley South Carolina
Jon, it's simply a matter of people with an interest in history wanting to see some documented sources to back up any number of stories that are running around out there. It's nothing personal or anything like that. Check through the threads going back a few years and you'll see...for example...any number of claims of people being in the Titanic who in fact were never there.

Why would anyone "make up a story like that?"

We really don't know, but they do it anyway. With that in mind, it's not unreasonable that people would want some sort of objective confirmation.
 

Jon Hollis

Member
Jan 23, 2004
598
0
0
> [So any way with todays technology to put this tape throught the computer so it can actually be heard. P.S. Harry died on board QE2 pen in hand on his last voyage. He was sheduled to retire when he got back to the UK on the return voyage but did not want to leave the sea.]
 
B

Brent Holt

Guest
Research is a very hard thing. The best way to approach it, in my opinion, is to look at everything with a skeptical eye, at least at first. The best source material would probably be written records from that period, preferably company records. Newspaper accounts and personal stories would come next. (Although newspapers can be riddled with errors-there are daily examples all across the world)
Although I am skeptical of the info presented, I do not discount it completely. (Unlike some researchers who are so comfortable with their vision of things that they are unwilling to listen to alternatives)
I would also need more info about the nature of the crack in the bedplates. And what exactly would be considered extensive damage? In addition, Olympic's retirement was not originally planned for 1935. It was originally anticipated that she would re-enter service in the summer after her lay-up in April. I also believe I read somewhere that her insurance was renewed for another year in March 1935. If this type of damage was evident in May 1934, why wasn’t Olympic withdrawn from service sooner?
This brings up many interesting questions.
Brent
 

Jon Hollis

Member
Jan 23, 2004
598
0
0
> [Olympic at that time was still White Star the merger had not taken place. The loss of the Nantucket Lightship caused the plaster to be put on her mast when she docked. This was not good news for White Star Line plus now the discovery of the cracks. As I mentioned Harry passed away and I never thought then to get the dimensions and fine particulars as we were just chatting ships history bye the way huis faborite ships he also worked on was the Homeric anyway, I wonder if the scrapyard records if they could ever be found, would give information or better still the New York Surveyors report?? Those should be around someplace.
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,045
64
308
UK
A bit off topic, but getting back to Tarns' original posting there is (or recently was) something very like a nineteenth century ocean liner moored at Alexandria.

When the Suez canal was opened in 1869, first vessel through was L'Aigle, imperial yacht of Napoleon III of France. Right behind it was Mahroussa, the royal yacht of the Khedive of Egypt. Yacht is in this case a misleading term - Mahroussa was an ocean-going steamer, as big or bigger than many of the liners of its time. She was designed by Oliver Lang (designer of Queen Victoria's first steam yacht, the Victoria and Albert) and built in 1865 at their Poplar works on the Thames by the Samuda Brothers, who were among the pioneers of iron shipbuilding and beginning to specialise in ironclad warships. The original design had paddle wheel propulsion, but the ship was converted in 1905 to turbines and triple screws.

Mahroussa continued to serve the Egyptian Royal family until King Farouk abdicated in 1951, when the ship was taken over by the Egyptian government, renamed El Horria and began a new career as a naval training vessel. Mahroussa/El Horria, which was already 6 years old when White Stars' first Oceanic (of similar size) entered service in 1871, last crossed the Atlantic in 1976 at the ripe old age of 111. The last photo I have seen shows the vessel moored at Alexandria less than ten years ago and looking to be in good condition. She will now be approaching 140 years old. Does anybody know if this vessel is still in use and maybe even still seaworthy?
 
B

Brent Holt

Guest
Actually, the Cunard takeover of White Star was phased in over a period of time. Cunard did have effective control of WS in May 1934. (Taking charge on January-unofficially)
More details on merger dates:
January 17, 1934: Formal agreement between Cunard, WS, and H.M. government.
March 16: H.M. government passes North Atlantic Shipping Bill.
May 17: The assets of Cunard and WS were transferred to Cunard White Star.
June 19: CWS formally begins operations.
September 1: CWS integration completed.

Cunard’s had a 62% interest in CWS, and WS had 38%. Effectively, CWS was a subsidiary of Cunard. The Cunard steamship company still existed as an independent entity.

Long term, Cunard got a great deal. They had the loan to complete the QM and build the QE. They also absorbed and eliminated their greatest challenger on the Atlantic. (This is often overlooked when discussing Cunard's huge post WWII success.)

Source: Cunard and the North Atlantic. By Francis E. Hyde

Brent
 
Jan 5, 2001
2,299
101
233
Hi!

As you can see, I’m making a return to ET. It’s been a terrible few months for me personally in many ways, but things are looking up and I am happy to be back. This looks like an interesting discussion. It’s quite lengthy as well and my time is more limited than I would have liked, so forgive me if I skim through it quickly in places. However, Olympic is one of my favourite ships and the one upon which I’ve concentrated most of my research, so I feel that I do have some constructive comments to offer. Whether anyone else will agree is another matter entirely.

Tarn wrote:
quote:

Brent, I think in the case of Olympic, the plate her engines sat on was cracked, her rivets were loose, and she needed massive maitenence.
In my view, that’s rubbish. I don’t accept that she needed massive maintenance, while following the 1932-33 engine work she was performing better than ever before. While she had suffered from some loose rivets, there is no serious concern about them in any surveyor’s reports that I have seen immediately prior to the scrapping.

Tarn wrote:
quote:

As for the Aquitania though, accounts I have read suggests that when she was retired, her engines and her hull were sound....
I broadly agree with these comments, yet having run through Aquitania’s survey reports around 1946-48, there were some notable problems. Certainly she was as sound as could be expected considering her age, design and service history.

Jon wrote:
quote:

I have an audio tape of a friend of mine Harold Blakey now deceased that he made for me while on the QE2 he was an engine room writer and before joining Cunard he was on board the Olympic in the Engine Room. On the tape he tell how he and his co workers were having coffee one morning when they felt the engines suddenly going full speed astern. They threw open the deadlights and looked out just in time to see one half of the Nantucket Lightship going by their porthole. He also mentioned that the Olympics rescue boat was already halfway down to the water.
I remember Harold’s account being published in one of the THS Commutators some years back. It was interesting to read.

Jon continues:
quote:

Any way later in the tape he describes while they were docked in New York they were pouring lead for Babbett Bearings when they noticed a large crack in the Engine Bed Plates. What with the claims for the Lightship (White Star Line paid for a replacement of the Lightship by the way) and the cracked bed plates that spelled the end of the Olympic because to remove the engines to replace the plate and considering her age it would have not be worthwhile
The Commutator account mentioned the ‘large crack in one of the propeller housings.’ It’s interesting that he spoke of the bedplates too, but I will come to that later. I have to disagree with your comments on the bedplates and that they spelled the end of Olympic. To quote myself, when I was writing with regard to the propeller housings:
quote:

…On arrival in New York following the collision, there had been a brief inspection of the Olympic’s stem, indicating only some slight damage to dented hull plates; this was confirmed by an inspection at Southampton on May 24th 1934. Olympic was also due to enter the dry dock — capable of holding ships of up to 60,000 gross tons — for routine underwater hull inspection, and the White Star Line were pleased to explain that it had been arranged weeks ago. There was no significant damage. However, one of Olympic’s Engineers, Harold Blakey, recalled years later that a pre-sailing inspection had discovered ‘a large crack in one of her propeller housings.’ Such damage would apparently have been ‘costly’ to fix and there have been rumours in the past that this damage contributed to Olympic’s withdrawal from service, when it came. Yet…there does not seem to be any record of such a crack, and indeed there is nothing in Olympic’s maintenance costs in 1934 that I am aware of that would indicate any major repairs. In June 1934 reports of the collision damage were submitted to the Board of Trade and by December 4th 1934 the Board was able to report:

‘Permanent repairs have been made to [the] damage sustained in the collision. No further action is required.’

With the ship’s load line survey completed on November 29th 1934, there was no mention of any damage to the propeller housings whatsoever. If there ever had been a crack in one of the propeller housings after the collision, in addition to the dented hull plates forward, which seems doubtful, then it had been repaired by December 1934 and it had not been a costly undertaking. Certainly it had no bearing on Olympic in 1935.
Since the subject of the bedplates has been mentioned too, I think it best to quote from Olympic’s last ever survey — it was either at the end of 1934 or the beginning of 1935. I have not got the exact date at the moment. No problems were mentioned with regard to the bedplates, and had there been any serious damage to them in mid-1934 I would have thought that it would have been mentioned in the later survey, since according to one from early 1934:
quote:

The bedplates of the main engines have been very carefully and minutely examined and in no case could any movement or defect be discovered. The strengthening plates and stays are all solid and standing up to the loading put on them. The holding down bolts are satisfactory and it may be of interest to report that it has not been found necessary to renew any of these bolts since the repairs to the bedplates were effected.
I am informed that at no time during the vessel’s history have these conditions been maintained for a like period.
Jon then wrote:
quote:

I don't know why so many people on the site doubt peoples words this man was smart and a long time seafarer and would have no reason to make up any stories. It seems this is the norm around here that everyone wants sworn in blood proof of everything that anyone brings up that is contrary to the insiders. HE WS THERE we were not...
You mention a valid point. People who were there at the time would know much more about the subject than any of us today. Take the team of qualified, professional Board of Trade surveyors, for instance, who contradict the account that there was serious damage.

Mike Standart wrote:
quote:

Jon, it's simply a matter of people with an interest in history wanting to see some documented sources to back up any number of stories that are running around out there.
…it's not unreasonable that people would want some sort of objective confirmation.
I have to second Mike’s comments. In this case it seems unfortunate to me that Blakey’s comments appear to contradict those from the Board of Trade surveyors. Yet another case of historical sources contradicting each other.

Brent wrote:
quote:

I would also need more info about the nature of the crack in the bedplates. And what exactly would be considered extensive damage? In addition, Olympic's retirement was not originally planned for 1935. It was originally anticipated that she would re-enter service in the summer after her lay-up in April. I also believe I read somewhere that her insurance was renewed for another year in March 1935. If this type of damage was evident in May 1934, why wasn’t Olympic withdrawn from service sooner?
You did indeed read somewhere that Olympic’s insurance was renewed for another year in March 1935. I’ve posted that information on a number of forums since 2001, and it’s quite possible that others have. Your question as to ‘why’ Olympic wasn’t withdrawn from service sooner if the damage was so severe is a perceptive one, and I would answer it by saying that in my view there was no severe damage. Thus, she wasn’t withdrawn. Furthermore, in August 1935 I can cite at least three statements from people ‘in the know’ — i.e. Cunard-WS officials, etc. — who have described Olympic and her machinery as being in ‘A1’ condition, or words to that effect. It was not her material condition that doomed her.

Jon wrote:
quote:

Olympic at that time was still White Star the merger had not taken place. The loss of the Nantucket Lightship caused the plaster to be put on her mast when she docked. This was not good news for White Star Line
Indeed it wasn’t. I’ve always felt that it brought back the sense of bad luck associated with Olympic’s early mishaps, and the case was not settled until 1936, which could not have helped anyone put it to the back of their minds.

Jon continued:
quote:

…plus now the discovery of the cracks. As I mentioned Harry passed away and I never thought then to get the dimensions and fine particulars as we were just chatting ships history bye the way huis faborite ships he also worked on was the Homeric anyway, I wonder if the scrapyard records if they could ever be found, would give information or better still the New York Surveyors report?? Those should be around someplace. [my emphasis]
The surveyor’s reports do exist from the Board of Trade, although I don’t recall any American ones still in existence. From what I have seen of these, the idea of ‘extensive damage’ seems to be a myth. Descriptions such as ‘the plate her engines sat on was cracked, her rivets were loose, and she needed massive maitenence’ make frequent appearances in online chats and discussion forums, yet there is little or no evidence in their favour. Indeed, all the evidence from 1933-35 that I have seen points exactly the opposite way. That’s my belief, but I would be glad to hear from anyone who has seen any sources which contradict that statement; on and off, I’ve asked that question since 2000-01. And so far no-one has been able to provide any.

Best regards,

Mark.​
 

Jon Hollis

Member
Jan 23, 2004
598
0
0
> [Wow Mark you really did some fine digging must have taken you hours to type that all up. Still think there must be a New York Survey report about someplace as I am sure after the Nantucket Incident surveyors and investigators would be swarming all over the Olympic. Again great piece of detailed research Cheers Jon]
 

Jon Hollis

Member
Jan 23, 2004
598
0
0
> [Senility is creepiung in but is not one of the Italian Liners Michelangelo Or Raffello still afloat as a hotel or something somewhere?]
 
Jan 5, 2001
2,299
101
233
Hi Jon!

It didn't quite take me hours, as I'm fortunate to have much of my material written up on my computer, but it did take some time, yes. I enjoy discussing Olympic.

quote:

Still think there must be a New York Survey report about someplace as I am sure after the Nantucket Incident surveyors and investigators would be swarming all over the Olympic.
I would hope that the report does exist somewhere. However, I can't say that I am that optimistic for its contents; in light of the detail found in the British Board of Trade reports, I have to say that I think it would say much the same thing.

I am not quite sure of the status of surveys in New York. If I remember correctly the Olympic was briefly examined following the collision, but it would be interesting to research how a British liner was ever surveyed in America, and vice versa. I'm sure someone on this board will have knowledge of it. For instance, the Leviathan warranted a special Board of Trade inspection in December 1929 when she got into Southampton following her big crack, but that is the only reference to her in the British records. I'm assuming it would be a similar story with Olympic and the American records, with perhaps one or two entries -- maybe for the Lightship collision in 1934 and perhaps the 1924 Fort St George collision.

quote:

Again great piece of detailed research
Thanks for your kind comments. I am glad that you enjoyed reading it. I am publishing a much more detailed text outlining my research in this area, hopefully later this year, which you might find of further interest.

quote:

is not one of the Italian Liners Michelangelo Or Raffello still afloat as a hotel or something somewhere?
If I get this wrong I can only blame alcohol rather than age, but I seem to remember that they met their fates in 1983 and 1991. I can't remember what happened to either ship, though, or which 'died' on which date. The dates may be out since they're only from memory.

Best regards,

Mark.​
 

Similar threads