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Shipping Wonders of the World

Part 27

Part 27 of Shipping Wonders of the World was published on Tuesday 11th August 1936.

This issue included a colour plate illustrating the Empress of Britain, which forms the frontispiece to Volume 2. The same illustration was used as the cover to part 5. The plate was attached to page 837 of part 27.

The Cover

This week’s cover shows a sailor looking forward to catch a glimpse of the land ahead. The sailor is on board the P & O cargo vessel Eston (1,487 tons gross) on her way from Sunderland to Havre with a cargo of coal. This small but efficient vessel is typical of the cargo vessels that make up a large portion of British shipping.

On board the "Eston"

Contents of Part 27

(Volume 2)

The Empress of Britain (colour plate)

Handling the Overseas Mail

The Famous Great Eastern

A River Amazon Trade Cargo Passenger Ship

Rigs of Sailing Ships

French Shipping

Smugglers and Revenue Cutters

Diving Adventures

The Famous Great Eastern

It was not until more than fifty years after the keel of the Great Eastern was laid down that vessels of larger dimensions were put into commission. She was a unique ship, provided with sails and paddles as well as with a screw propeller. When the Queen Mary sailed on her maiden voyage not many of us recalled that fewer than eighty years ago a transatlantic liner was built whose length was nearly three-quarters that of the Queen Mary. This first leviathan of the seas was the famous Great Eastern. This week a chapter by F E Dean gives a full account of this interesting liner. She had six masts and five funnels and was propelled by a screw, paddle wheels and sails. The Great Eastern, however, was an unlucky ship. She was built at a cost of about £900,000 at Millwall, at one time the scene of great shipbuilding activities. As the River Thames at Millwall was not wide enough to take a lengthways launch, the vessel was launched broadside on. Before she reached the water, however, she stuck on the slipways and it was only at great expense and by the building of special machinery that she was eventually put into the water.

(Pages 841-844)

French Shipping

Few maritime nations can claim a mercantile marine history as proud as that of France. French shipping is of great diversity, ranging from fine Grand Banks fishing fleets to fast transatlantic liners. Shrewd common sense, an ability to look ahead and a practical strain have always been characteristics of the French nation; and in none of its activities have these characteristics been seen to better advantage than in its shipping. This chapter traces the history of the French Merchant Service from its earliest days to the present time, when the giant transatlantic Normandie, the world’s largest ship flies the tricolour. Written by Frank Bowen, this is the fifth article in the series on Sea Transport of the Nations.

(pages 854-858)

The Empress of Britain

ILLUMINATED BY FLOODLIGHTS, the distinctive appearance of the Empress of Britain is emphasized. She is a Canadian Pacific liner with a gross tonnage of 42,348. One of the world’s largest ships, she has an overall length of 760 ft 6 in and a moulded beam of 97 ft 6 in. Her moulded depth to the top of her sun deck is 100 ft 6 in. The chapter beginning on page 141 fully describes this magnificent vessel. She was built in the same yard as the Queen Mary and was launched by H M King Edward VIII (then HRH the Prince of Wales) on June 11, 1930.


(Attached to page 837)

Smugglers and Revenue Cutters

Many and ingenious were the devices used by the smugglers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to deceive the Revenue men. There are few stories of adventure as exciting as some of the incidents in the hazardous life of thee law-breakers. This chapter is by Lieut-Com. E. Keble Chatterton.

(pages 859-866)

Rigs of Sailing Ships

Sailing ships were formerly classified by their size or employment, but it is now the custom to distinguish different types of vessels by defining their characteristic rigs. This chapter is by Frank Bowen and is designed to clarify, with its numerous illustrations, the definitions of the various rigs used.

(pages 846-853)

A River Amazon Trade Cargo-Passenger Ship

The steamers, the Clement and the Crispin, are engaged on trading up the Amazon to Manaos from Liverpool. The owners are the Booth Steamship Company, and the details apply to either vessel. The length between perpendiculars is 405 feet, the moulded beam 55 ft 6 in, the depth to the upper deck 36 ft 6 in, and the draught in loaded conditions 25 ft 2½ in. They are handsome ships with a slightly raked stem and cruiser stern. There are one funnel and two pole masts, and all accommodation and superstructure are concentrated amidships.

 This is the nineteenth article in the series on Merchant Ship Types.

(Page 845)

Handling the Overseas Mail

The carriage of letters and parcel post to outlying parts of the world is one of the most important services rendered by shipping. The organization of the overseas postal services is remarkable for its complexity and its efficiency. This chapter is written by Captain E C Goldsworthy and is written from first-hand experience, for he was formerly an officer in mail ships.

(Pages 837-840)

Diving Adventures

Scientific experiment and research have now made it possible for men in flexible diving dresses to descend to depths as great as 300 feet below the surface of the sea. The perils that are met at such depths cannot be paralleled elsewhere.

This chapter is by David Masters and is concluded in part 28.

(Pages 867-868)

"Empress of Britain"

Types of Ships’ Rig

A FIVE-MASTED AUXILIARY SCHOONER of 1,859 tons gross, the Werner Vinnen is one of the fleet built for the firm of Vinnen of Hamburg about 1922. Her rig is peculiar having squaresail on the fore- and mizenmast.

SPRITSAIL BARGES are a type to be seen on the River Medway and Thames. The mainsail is set on a sprit extending from the foot of the mast. This photograph shows the Gertrude May of Rochester. A barge of 60 tons register, she was built at Sittingbourne, Kent, in 1893.

THE PREUSSEN, A FIVE-MASTED FULL-RIGGED SHIP of 5,081 tons gross was the only one of her type ever built. This photograph shows her wrecked near the South Foreland in November 1910. Previously a collision had carried away her foremast. The Preussen was built in 1902. She was 407 ft 9 in long, with a beam of 53 ft 7 in.

 BRIGS ARE SQUARE-RIGGED on the two masts though a spanker was generally set on the mainmast, as shown in this photograph of the Evangelistria. She was a Greek vessel, and in 1892 there were forty-three Greek and Turkish brigs of that name on the register. They were all between 100 and 200 tons.


TO DISTINGUISH A KETCH FROM A YAWL the position of the mizenmast is a rough and ready guide. In the fishing ketch Vanduara of Plymouth, the mizen is forward of the rudder post.

IN THE YAWL Japonica, a racing yacht designed by Herreshoff in 1895, the mizen is abaft it. The yawl and the ketch set a headsail, a mainsail and a mizen, and usually a topsail above the mainsail.