Artifact of the Month- White Star Line

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White Star Line china
White Star Line china

This “Artifact of the Month” is a piece of china from the White Star Line.  The White Star Line was a prominent British shipping company and today is most known for its ship, RMS Titanic.  While our piece of china is not from the actual Titanic, it is very similar to what first class guests would have been served on aboard the ship and therefore is on display in a corner of our Great Hall of Steam Gallery with information and other objects relating to Titanic.

“Stonier Co. Liverpool” is stamped on the back of the plate, but in reality they did not make the china.  The Stonier company brokered and distributed the china.  The star featured in the center of the dish is the symbol of the White Star Line, which is also inscribed in the banner below the flag star.  The crown pattern around the plate originated from Brownfield, which gave this style its name.  As you can see in the photo, the gold gilt and turquoise embellishments really highlight the center emblem well.   Read more

The Longest Run

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A card and envelope, ‘Mauretania’ Leaving Southampton c1920 (from a painting by Harley Crossley.) From the Beazley collection.

Hello readers, and welcome back to the Library blog. Today, we are going to take a break from the topic of piracy to explore the world of steamships 100 years ago today. This past summer, we saw a lot of coverage of the world’s fastest transatlantic steamship, the SS United States. But what was the fastest ship in the world a century ago today? After consulting the Herbert and Norma Beazley collection, which contains ephemera from hundreds of notable steamships, I found that the fastest steamship – and holder of the Blue Riband – was none other than the RMS Lusitania’s sister ship the RMS Mauretania.

The RMS Lusitania held the Blue Riband from 1907-1909, and the RMS Mauretania outdid her sister by taking the Riband in 1909 and holding it for 20 years straight! RMS Mauretania traveled 2,784 nautical miles in 4 days, 10 hours and 51 minutes, for an average speed of 26.06 knotts, beating RMS Lusitania’s speed of 25.65 knotts. During World War I, RMS Mauretania was docked in Liverpool until her sister, RMS Lusitania, was torpedoed and sunk in 1914. RMS Mauretania was thereafter used as a troopship and a hospital ship, and would resume ferrying passengers once the war was over.   Read more