The Cunard Steamship Society was incorporated as a nonprofit, membership based association under the provisions of the Societies Act for the Province of Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1998. It was conceived by John G. Langley, Q.C. of Halifax, Nova Scotia, birthplace of Sir Samuel Cunard.
The primary aim of the Society is to bring together those who share a common interest in the rich history and proud tradition of the Cunard Steamship Company, its predecessor, the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, as well as the significant contributions by Samuel Cunard to the early development of his native Nova Scotia, and his conquest of the North Atlantic by steam. Memorandum of Association is to educate the public on the history of Samuel Cunard and the Cunard Steamship Company (Cunard Line) through the collection, presentation and exchange of historical information and memorabilia.
Since its inception in 1998, the Society has been actively engaged in the promotion of Cunard history in many ways, including the sharing of Cunard artifacts from the Chairman’s private collection with various maritime museums in Eastern Canada and the Maritime Provinces.
In 2002 the Society participated in the filming of a documentary for television (History Channel) on the life and times of the founder of the Cunard Line entitled ‘Samuel Cunard – Bridging the Atlantic’. It was the first film to focus on the early life of Samuel Cunard providing the viewer with considerable insight into Cunard’s formative years in his native Province of Nova Scotia.
The Society has been very active in planning, promoting and presenting workshops and lectures on Cunard history to heritage and cultural institutions, service clubs, tour groups, maritime museums and marine interests in Halifax and elsewhere in the Maritimes.
Other projects in which the Society has engaged include the sponsoring of a postage stamp produced by Canada Post to commemorate Samuel Cunard; helping to spearhead the ‘Franconia Project’ which resulted in the complete restoration of a large builder’s model of the popular Cunard liner Franconia at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax; and participating with the Halifax Foundation in the design, production and erection of a statue of Samuel Cunard on the Halifax waterfront.
The Society webpage receives inquiries on a daily basis from ocean liner enthusiasts the world over. All inquiries are acknowledged and responded to with research as time and materials permit. The vast number of correspondents are seeking information on a myriad of interesting and varied subjects pertaining to Samuel Cunard and ships/passengers of the Cunard Line. Many queries have been received from people seeking details of specific sailings and/or passengers /crew of Cunard vessels. Unfortunately the Society resources are not broad enough to include this type of detail. Anyone seeking information of this nature should direct their inquiry in writing to the Cunard Archives , University of Liverpool, Special Collections & Archives, Sydney Jones Library, P O Box 123, Liverpool, L69 3DA. U.K.
In keeping with its stated objects the Society solicits news, views and articles of interest pertaining to Cunard history from its members and Cunard/ocean liner enthusiasts worldwide. When possible, and with the consent of the author/donor articles will be reproduced in a newsletter format on the Society webpage from time to time.
MEMBERSHIP in the Society is encouraged – the annual cost is $25.00 CDN and may be paid by sending a cheque or money order to the Cunard Steamship Society, 31 Rockwood Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3N 1X4, Canada. A membership card will be issued and sent to the member upon receipt of the requisite fee. Membership fees are used to help defray operating costs of the Society.
THE CUNARD TRADITION CONTINUES
Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 which joined the fleet in 2004 is the only ocean liner providing regularly scheduled crossings of the Atlantic, a service begun by Cunard’s first flagship Britannia in 1840. Imbued with a rich history, Cunard Line has been transformed in the first decade of the 21st century into the youngest fleet of ocean liners and cruise ships in the world. Queen Victoria went into service in 2007 and has very quickly become a popular and well recognized Cunarder around the globe. Cunard’s newest monarch Queen Elizabeth joined the fleet in October of 2010…and now for the first time in its long history, Cunard Line has three Queens ruling the waves. The renaissance continues…and as the company has continued to evolve over nearly two centuries, so too the Cunard Steamship Society resolves to continue its mandate to preserve and promote the maritime heritage which shall ever be synonymous with the name CUNARD.