Second Annual Samuel Cunard prize

Following upon the success of last year’s inaugural event, the QM2 was once again the scene for honouring this year’s recipient, entrepreneur John Risley with the Samuel Cunard Prize for ‘vision, courage and creativity’.

Left: Author addressing dignitaries and guests in Queen’s Room aboard QM2 second Annual Samuel Cunard Prize event

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Susan Cunard Headstone Restoration project

QM2 Captain Kevin Oprey, Cunard PR Director Jackie Chase and CSS Chairman John G. Langley, Q.C. paying respects to Susan Cunard

Susan Cunard headstone in Old Burying Ground carefully refurbished by master stone mason and conservator Heather Lawson

Following the wreath-laying event during its 175th Anniversary celebrations Cunard determined to help restore the Susan Cunard headstone in Halifax’s Old Burying Ground. In the months that followed and through the efforts of Heather Lawson, stone mason and conservator, the headstone was refurbished in time for a return visit to the OBG by QM2 Captain Oprey on September 10th. Samuel Cunard who lies an ‘ocean apart’ in Brompton Cemetery, London, England would have been proud.

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Halifax celebrates Cunard’s 175th Anniversary

Invitatation to First Annual Samuel Cunard Prize event

The QM2 completed the transatlantic portion of her Commemorative crossing upon arrival in Halifax, Cunard’s ‘Ancestral home’ on July 10th. A full day of carefully planned historic events ensued both aboard ship and ashore. It was a memorable day from early morning arrival in the sunshine until evening sunset and a grand departure from Halifax harbor with naval escort, shire based brass bands and crowds of onlookers. During the day three major events took place, all of which served to focus attention and commemorate the rich history of Cunard line and its deep roots in Nova Scotia.

The first of these was a large gathering ashore to dedicate a section of the Halifax waterfront to the memory of Samuel Cunard, the ‘Steam Lion’ and founder of Cunard Line. Henceforth, a prominent section of the waterfront near the cruise terminal shall be known as ‘Cunard Quay’ and soon to become part of a large public-private development initiative around this site.

Samuel Cunard Prize literature

At noon an invitation only reception and luncheon was held aboard QM2 – the First Annual Samuel Cunard Prize event to honour a recipient who best exemplifies the entrepreneurial genius of Samuel Cunard. The first recipient of the prize for ‘vision, courage & creativity’, a beautiful piece of crystal crafted by Nova Scotian Crystal – was James Irving, President of Irving Shipyards.

Later in the afternoon Captain Oprey, accompanied by Cunard executives attended the Old Burying Ground to lay a wreath on the gravesite of Susan Cunard, widow of Sir Samuel. This was followed by the opening of a new exhibit honouring Samuel Cunard at the Maritime Museum of the Altantic officially opened by N.S. Tourism Minister Tony Ince, N.A. President of Cunard Line Richard Meadows and the author.

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Commemorative 175th Anniversary Crossing QM2 July 2-15, 2015

Judith reunites with Commodore Ron Warwick aboard QM2 in Southampton at the commencement of Cunard’s 175th Anniversary commemorative crossing of the Atlantic July 2, 2015

Accompanied by my wife, Judith, we had the singular honour to be amongst those other special guests and passengers aboard QM2 on this historic crossing intended to replicate the inaugural crossing of Cunard’s first flagship, RMS Britannia from Liverpool to Halifax and Boston in July 1840. It was most fitting that in collaboration with the artist Robert Lloyd his rendition of Britannia Maiden Voyage was carried aboard, formally unveiled and displayed in the Grand Lobby of QM2 during this commemorative crossing. It was a most extraordinary voyage, steeped in history and highlighted by special 175th Anniversary events in the five homeports of call…starting in Southampton, and followed by Liverpool, Halifax, Boston and New York. From commencement of the voyage in Southampton July 2nd until the conclusion in New York on July 15th it was a voyage befitting the memory of founder Samuel Cunard.


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Cunardart – working along with a master to create a ‘masterpiece’

Charcoal sketch of ‘Maiden Voyage’ from details provided by the author to the artist

As a Cunard collector, historian and chairman of the Cunard Steamship Society it has long been a goal of mine to commission a painting depicting the birth of Cunard Line in 1840. Time and circumstance eventually brought me together with the renowned marine artist Robert Lloyd. For almost two years we would collaborate on this painting and the result was ‘Maiden Voyage’ – a beautiful rendition of RMS Britannia in Halifax, Nova Scotia July 17, 1840 following her maiden crossing from Liverpool England, and thus giving birth to Cunard Line as we know it today.

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Cunard prepares to celebrate its 175th Anniversary in 2015

Halifax, Cunard’s ‘ancestral home’ prepares to celebrate

Cunard 175th Anniversary letterhead superimposed with QM2 and Britannia

Planning for events to mark 175 years of Cunard history began in earnest with CSS Chairman undertaking to spearhead event planning Halifax, Nova Scotia, one of the five home ports along with Southampton, Liverpool, Boston and New York chosen as major venues for celebratory events in 2015.
Throughout the year many meetings were arranged with various ‘partners’ which in turn produced a vibrant, committed core group to plan and ultimately implement events on the Halifax waterfront to celebrate the 175th anniversary when QM2 was to be in port July 10, 2015.
The principal participants who worked together with Cunard Line on this initiative included the City of Halifax, Waterfront Development Corporation, Halifax Port Authority, Canadian Navy and Southwest Properties.

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The Telegraph (UK) comes to Halifax

‘Captain Adam’ provides insights into Halifax’s historic waterfront to Theresa Machan of The Telegraph

Late in October the author had an opportunity at the behest of Cunard UK to host Theresa Machan, Cruise Editor of The Telegraph while visiting Halifax with her husband Stephen aboard QM2. Not one, but two Langley’s helped provide a maritime welcome to Cunard’s birthplace…son Adam, who is Operations Manager for the Waterfront Development Corporation graciously provided an annotated on water tour of Halifax harbour to our British guests.

Theresa and Stephen Machan, passengers aboard QM2 enjoying water tour of Halifax Harbour

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A special time, place and person

The author pays homage to Cunard founder beneath portrait at Sir Samuel’s Lounge aboard QM2

While QM2 was in port John and wife Judith had the good fortune and pleasure to meet up with a dear friend, and the ultimate ‘Captain’s Secretary’ – Christel Hansen. The time was short but catch-up on family and friends very special. Our meeting very appropriately took place in ‘Sir Samuel’s aboard QM2 following the customary acknowledgement of the founder’s portrait on display in the lobby just outside the lounge.

John and Judith catch up with Captain’s Secretary Christel over cappuccinos in Sir Samuel’s aboard QM2

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Halifax, Nova Scotia photo shoot with ITV (UK)

In response to a request from Cunard UK the author hosted Mike Pearse, transportation reporter with ITV News UK and filming of the arrival of QM2 in Halifax July 2, 2013. The roof garden of Halifax Seaport provided the ideal venue to capture QM2 on film as she came alongside the seawall. A tour about Cunard’s hometown was followed by more filming at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic to gather material in preparation for the 175th Anniversary celebrations planned for 2015.

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Timelessness of Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens Voyage to America

Halifax public invited to attend a presentation at the Maritime Museum of ‘Charles Dickens Voyage to America’

The works of Charles Dickens remain a great draw to this very day. His famous first trip to North America in 1843 attracted great interest and not the least of which was Dickens account of his transatlantic crossing as a passenger aboard the Cunard paddle steamship RMS Britannia. January, the month inexplicably chosen by Dickens to cross was deemed an appropriate time for a presentation on that subject by the author to a large appreciative crowd gathered at Halifax’s Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

The Charles Dickens talk was the subject of an interview with CSS Chairman at a Halifax television station

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A Brief Step Back in Time – to the Age of Sail

Bill Miller with Michele Stevens in the sail loft. Behind them employees are at work making a sail for the newly built replica of Columbia – an American schooner which competed against Bluenose in the International Fisherman’s Races in 1920’s

Bill Miller with Michele Stevens in the sail loft. Behind them employees are at work making a sail for the newly built replica of Columbia – an American schooner which competed against Bluenose in the International Fisherman’s Races in 1920’s

Canada’s goodwill sailing ambassador, the schooner Bluenose has been the subject of a major rebuilding effort and will be back sailing once again in 2013. A fall visit to Nova Scotia by ocean liner historian Bill Miller gave rise to a visit to the Stevens sail loft in Second Peninsula … and a tour of the just recently launched Bluenose as she lay alongside the wharf at Lunenburg Foundry.

 

 

‘Mr Ocean Liner’ aboard a ‘Grand Banker’ … the rebuilt Bluenose in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

‘Mr Ocean Liner’ aboard a ‘Grand Banker’ … the rebuilt Bluenose in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

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Film-shoot in Cunard’s Hometown

Director/producer Robert Neal Marshall at work behind the camera on the Halifax waterfront

Director/producer Robert Neal Marshall at work behind the camera on the Halifax waterfront

Producer/Director Robert Neal Marshall (RNM Productions) was in Halifax during the Tall Ships Festival to gather material, visit sites and do some filming as part of a documentary on Haligonian Samuel Cunard – founder of Cunard Line. Stay tuned – more to come!

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Paying respects to Cunard family in Liverpool, England

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Joseph Cunard headstone in Toxteth Park Cemetery, Liverpool, May 2012

It may come as a surprise to some that founder Samuel Cunard has family buried in Liverpool, a city with strong historical links to his company. Joseph Cunard was a younger brother who, before moving to Liverpool, oversaw the Cunard family business interests in Mirimichi, New Brunswick which he ran under the firm name of Joseph Cunard & Company. He is buried at Toxteth Park Cemetery in Liverpool. The author visited the gravesite accompanied by Liverpool friend and former Cunarder Harold Woods in May of 2012. Many thanks also to John Harris and his wife Sue of Wilton, Salisbury (John is a direct descendant of Joseph Cunard) for their sharing of the family history.

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Cunard connections in southwest England

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Commodore Warwick and marine artist Robert Lloyd

A Spring visit with retired Commodore Ron Warwick and wife Kim included quality time spent with two very talented people. Robert Lloyd, the world -renowned marine artist whose many works of art are enjoyed aboard the ships of Cunard Line and throughout the world welcomed Commodore Warwick and the author during a visit to his home and workplace in Pewsey.
In the village of Corsley David Carruthers, a modeler, who formerly worked with the Union Castle Line shared some time in his workshop. A long time admirer of the RMS Queen Mary, David has been busy ‘off and on’ for more than 40 years building a working 10 foot long scale model of this former Cunard flagship which still is with us as a hotel in Long Beach, California.

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David Carruthers and his ‘under construction’ model of RMS Queen Mary

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David Carruthers and wife Anne with a treasured painting of Queen Mary

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Queen Victoria Turns Five in 2012

Queen Victoria ‘stern to stern’ with Cunard’s newest ‘ocean monarch’ Queen Elizabeth at Zeebrugge, Belgium in May of 2012.(Baltic Cruise)

Queen Victoria ‘stern to stern’ with Cunard’s newest ‘ocean monarch’ Queen Elizabeth at Zeebrugge, Belgium in May of 2012.(Baltic Cruise)

Although still quite young when compared to her namesake, Cunard’s Queen Victoria achieved a milestone when she completed her fifth year of service in 2012. And the ship, much like the former British monarch continues to become ever more popular with the passage of time.

Queen Victoria – ‘making and celebrating Cunard history’. Some of the author’s artifacts on display in Cunardia Exhibit aboard Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria – ‘making and celebrating Cunard history’. Some of the author’s artifacts on display in Cunardia Exhibit aboard Queen Victoria.

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Ken Marschall visits Halifax, Nova Scotia

Ken Marschall with CSS Chairman John G. Langley looking over the recently-acquired model of Lusitania-Mauretania at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax, N.S.

Ken Marschall with CSS Chairman John G. Langley looking over the recently-acquired model of Lusitania-Mauretania at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax, N.S.

Renowned maritime artist and Titanic aficionado Ken Marschall was in Halifax on a film assignment following his appearance as one of the guest speakers aboard Azamara Journey’s Titanic Memorial Cruise.

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Titanic Centenary-Titanic Memorial Cruise-Azamara Journey

In the maritime world, 2012 was the 100th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic April 15, 1912. John G. Langley, Q.C, Chairman of CSS was one of the guest speakers aboard Azamara Journey, one of two cruise ships which made a symbolic pilgrimage to the site of the sinking. The other vessel was the Balmoral which had a number of distinguished Titanic experts as speakers, including Society Patron, retired Cunard Commodore Ronald Warwick.

chart with plot of the course taken by Azamara Journey on Titanic Memorial Cruise April 10-18, 2012

Chart showing plot of the course taken by Azamara Journey on Titanic Memorial Cruise April 10-18, 2012

 

New York/Manhattan skyline as seen from deck of Azamara Journey April 10, 2012, exactly 100 years to the day that the Cunarder Carpathia departed New York on a routine transatlantic crossing which would end with her historic rescue of the survivors of the ill-fated Titanic

New York/Manhattan skyline as seen from deck of Azamara Journey April 10, 2012, almost 100 years to the day that the Cunarder Carpathia departed New York on a routine transatlantic crossing which would end with her historic rescue of the survivors of the ill-fated Titanic

 

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Order of Service aboard Azamara Journey April 15, 2012; ‘silent vigil’ over Titanic site April 15, 2012; Cunard Line Commemorative Dinner Menu April 15, 2012′
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Sea-Hunter Extraordinaire

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John Davis of Sea Hunter fame with CSS Chairman John G. Langley admiring a painting of RMS Carpathia by maritime artist Ives Berube of Blue Rocks, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia

John Davis, President of Eco Nova Productions, producers of the History television and National Geographic television series ‘The Sea hunters’ provided the chairman with fascinating insights into the discovery in 2000 of the wreck site of the Cunard liner Carpathia, the Titanic rescue ship. Carpathia was sunk by the German submarine U- 55 off the southeastern coast of Ireland July 17, 1918 during WW1.

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‘Mr. Ocean Liner’ Visits Halifax, Nova Scotia

A figure well known to all ocean liner buffs, Bill Miller visited Halifax in May, 2011 while a guest lecturer aboard  Silver Whisper. An ardent Cunard enthusiast, Bill enjoyed time ashore visiting various Cunard haunts in the company of CSS Chairman John G. Langley.

Bill Miller aka ‘Mr. Ocean Liner’ seen here with CSS Chairman John G. Langley at the monument to Samuel Cunard on the Halifax waterfront.
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Mauretania/Lusitania Model Refit Completed

Maritime Ship Modelers Guild member John Green seen here with the refurbished model of Mauretania at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

The stunning 18 foot builder’s model of the Cunard liner Mauretania originally built by the venerable  British firm of Bassett- Lowke is now on display as part of the Cunard exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

John Green, Gerald Wright and Bill Moore of the Maritime Ship Modelers Guild , who were also instrumental  in the restoration of the museum’s model of the Cunarder Franconia (‘Franconia Project’) back in 2006-07, spent more than 400 hours refurbishing ‘The Maurey’. The model is an eye-popping display of fine craftsmanship resplendent in its polished mahogany case.

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Rededication of Statue of Sir Samuel Cunard

Five years ago the Halifax Foundation was instrumental in arranging for a bronze statue of Samuel Cunard. The Implementation Committee of the foundation, lead by the honourable Alan Abraham included Robert Stapells, John Jay and John G. Langley. The Honorary Chairman was Commodore Ronald Warwick, since retired of Cunard Line.

The original location of the statue just to the west of the entrance to the offices of the Halifax Port Authority was temporary.  Work was recently concluded which saw the restoration and reconstruction of the adjacent Pier 23. A large section of the former warehouse structure was demolished, opening up the harbour to spectators for the first time in memory…and making the perfect courtyard to relocate the statue. Shortly after Queen Elizabeth was berthed, a ceremony took place around the statue which was flanked by ship’s officers and enjoyed by a large crowd who had gathered around the plinth in the warm morning sunshine. A short account of Cunard’s Halifax ancestral roots was given by CSS Chairman John G. Langley (see below for complete text of this address) Captain Wells responded on behalf of Cunard Line, following which members of the Paton family, the most direct living descendants of Cunard formally cut the ribbon to officially rededicate the statue.

Above left: Hon, Alan Abraham, Chairman of statue implementing committee, John G. Langley, Chairman of Cunard Steamship Society and Captain Christopher Wells, Master of Queen Elizabeth
Above right: Bird’s eye view of new waterfront location of Cunard monument with crowd gathering to take in rededication ceremony September 25, 2011.
Above left: Cunard historian and author John G. Langley addressing spectators at statue rededication ceremony.
Above right: Officers of Queen Elizabeth, including Messrs Abraham , Langley and members of the Paton family pictured around the statue.

Read the full text of the rededication address

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Queen Elizabeth Maiden Call to Halifax Nova Scotia

Sunday, September 25, 2011 was yet another pivotal day in the rich heritage associated with Cunard line, the company founded by Haligonian Samuel Cunard in 1839. The newest ship to join the Cunard fleet, Queen Elizabeth, making her inaugural visit , was greeted as she entered harbour in the early morning by Halifax’s maritime goodwill ambassador, Theodore Tugboat. Under the watchful eye of Captain Christopher Wells, the ship was eased into her berth at Pier 23, providing a superb backdrop to the onshore ceremony later to rededicate the statue of Sir Samuel Cunard.

Various dignitaries enjoyed a reception onboard Queen Elizabeth hosted by Captain Wells, followed by a luncheon in the ship’s Britannia restaurant. During the reception John G. Langley, Q.C. as chairman of the CSS presented Captain Wells with a portrait of Samuel Cunard for  display on  the ship.

Above left: CSS Chairman John G. Langley greeting Queen Elizabeth aboard Theodore Tugboat in Halifax, N.S. September 25, 2011.
Above right: Queen Elizabeth approaching seawall in Halifax harbour, as have so many of her Cunard predecessors in years past. In the background, Pier 21, Canada’s Ellis Island, and this year designated as Canada’s newest national museum, provides the backdrop to the maiden visit of Queen Elizabeth.

Above left: Captain Wells expertly manoeuvres his ship alongside Pier 23, overlooking the statue of Samuel Cunard.
Above right: In a spectacular fashion, with soundings of horn, Queen Elizabeth departs Halifax after making a grand sweep around the harbour, seen here emerging from behind Halifax’s historic George’s Island.

Above left: CSS Chairman Langley and Captain Wells addressing invited guests at reception onboard Queen Elizabeth.
Above right: CSS Chairman Langley presenting Captain Wells with portrait of Samuel Cunard.

Queen Elizabeth plaque presentation.

 

 

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New Look For CSS Website

Viewers will notice the Cunard Steamship Society website has undergone a complete ‘refit’, offering a more update and modern look.  Evolution – be it in ocean liner or internet technology is never-ending. Adapting to change without compromising standards has always been a hallmark of the success of Cunard Line – one which is worthy of emulating.

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Cunard Steamship Society Hosts Group Aboard Queen Mary 2

Throughout the winter and spring of 2010 plans were put in place culminating in a transatlantic crossing aboard QM2 hosted by Cunard Steamship Society of a group of scotch whisky aficionados from Nova Scotia. The mid-September crossing from New York to Southampton was followed by a week in the Highlands and a tour of Scotland’s famous ‘Whisky Trail’. The many gatherings of the group to ferment plans for the trip and the crossing itself gave credence to the old Cunard adage ‘getting there is half the fun!’ A couple of the lovely lady spouses were inspired to compose both song and verse to celebrate ‘the trip of a lifetime’.

 

Above Left: ‘New Scots’ (Nova Scotians) group en route to ‘Aulde Scotland’, pictured on Grand Lobby staircase of Queen Mary 2 mid-Atlantic, September 2010.
Above Right: Preparing for Scotland’s ‘Whisky Trail’ aboard Queen Mary 2


Above Left: New lyrics to an old tune composed by new Cunarders
Sue and Bruce MacIntosh (Click to enlarge)
Above Right: ‘A Trip of a Lifetime’ penned by host’s sister Sylvia Dingle.
(Click to enlarge)

 

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