O C E A
N L I N E R S
LINKING THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD
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THE OCEAN LINERS
RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE THE OCEAN LINER VIRTUAL MUSEUM
The passenger ocean liner is, without question, the greatest of all man-made construction, especially as showcased at the peak of its development from the 1930s onwards. They were as large then as any skyscraper or any of the world’s greatest railway stations. But unlike these structures, locked to the earth, static upon their foundations, the passenger ocean liners, fitted with machinery as large as that of any power station, were powerful, mobile monuments of man’s engineering prowess. Cleaving the waves at anything up to 30 knots, they were the leviathans and monarchs of the oceans, and truly were floating cities.
These ships carried cargo and millions of passengers to every far corner of the world - to emigrate, to romance, to exotic destinations and to war. Many were lost by enemy action, and thousands of crewmembers laid down their lives for their country.
In their heyday there was great rivalry between shipping lines, especially on the transatlantic route, as the liners were symbols of national prestige and you had to be the fastest and the best. It was the ocean liners and their scheduled liner routes linking Britain (and other ocean liner countries) with the diverse corners of the world that enabled people for the first time to travel long distances between continents on a regular basis. Thus the ocean liners enabled trade, communication and migration across the world and laid the foundations of the modern globalised world we live in today. This traffic has since been succeeded by the aeroplane and today’s airlines serve a similar role but in less time that the ocean liners and their shipping companies did before.
Today, as communication improves via air travel and the internet, we live in an ever more globalised world. But the foundations of this modern, globalised world were laid by the ocean liners and their liner routes. Even today 90% of trade is by sea. Ever since the jet age arrived in the 1960s and 70s the ocean liner has declined, but instead they have evolved into today’s cruise liners. But there are now very few true ocean liners left and their number is continuing to dwindle.
Welcome to our Ocean Liners website that celebrates the wonderful and inspiring story of the ocean liner and these ships of all shapes and sizes that once linked the nations of the world.
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THE OCEAN LINERS:
(c) The AJN Transport Britain Collection 2008 A Edward Elliott