View Full Version : Scribblings from the high seas

Doc Vernon
9th June 2016, 02:24 AM

Tue Jun 7th Newark to London: Up, up & away! Glorious day flight (only 75% full) across the great Atlantic – 6 hours, leaving Newark at 9:00am and arriving London 9:00pm (but still 4:00pm my time) and so little if any jet lag. Thunderstorm on the drive down to Southampton & then settled-in in an 11th floor room at the Jurys Inn. And ready for a nice night's sleep.

Wed Jun 8th Southampton (England): Lunch with a friend from nearby Winchester & then together we visit the ocean liner exhibit at the 1930s style City Centre. A superb presentation highlighted by a very varied array of items and made more pleasant & pleasing since the Museum is selling books by someone known as "Mr Ocean Liner".

The local powers have outdone themselves, in fact. The exhibit – done in several large rooms – is called Port Out, Southampton Home. Storerooms and warehouses must have been unlocked and unloaded. Most items are seeing the light of day for the first time in a long, long time. The liners are grouped in decades, starting in the 19th century, but concentrating on the 20th and then coming forward to the age of P&O and Royal Caribbean mega cruise ships. Favorite liners such as the original Queen Mary & Queen Elizabeth, Caronia, QE2 and Queen Mary 2 get special, expanded attention. Just about everything is interesting. There's the likes of a Smoking Room chair from the Royal Mail Lines' Alcantara (1926), an oversized chair from the Majestic (1922) and a statue of Christopher Columbus that stood aboard White Star's Homeric (1922). (The Homeric was to have been, by the way, the Columbus of North German Lloyd, but was given to the British as post-World War I reparations.) Then there's lots of china, cigarette boxes and ashtrays, photos of arriving celebrities, and also an extensive menu collection. Varied printed matter abounds along with paintings and lots of those wonderfully evocative posters. Notably, there are several really great, highly detailed models: the Normandie, Andes, Britannic, Lancastria, Reina Del Mar, Windsor Castle and, possibly the most spectacular, a huge rendition of the post-war, refitted Alcantara. And then there's the big, brass bell from P&O's Arcadia, a model of the Ocean Terminal (opened in 1950) and the 41-ft long paying-off pennant from the retired QE2. Clearly, I was enthralled. Yes, it was just spectacular! So a recommendation: If you are in or near Southampton, head over to the City Centre and the SeaCity Museum. The exhibit runs into next year. Don't miss it!

​(photo: Local history: The Deco-style Ocean Terminal photographed in the 1950s with the Queen Elizabeth about to depart for New York).​

happy daze john in oz
9th June 2016, 06:16 AM
Yes Vernon very good article, must say you do not waste time in posting them, good on ya mate.
Be interesting to hear from anyone in Southampton or close by as to just what the exhibition is like.