We delighted to hear that Bill Miller (above), known as “Mr. Ocean Liner”, has visited Port Out, Southampton Home and had some fantastic feedback. Bill is considered an international authority on the subject of ocean liners & cruise ships. This includes those great ships of the past, those “floating palaces,” as well as the current generation of cruise ships, the “floating resorts”. He has written over 60 books on the subject: from early steamers, immigrant ships and liners at war to other titles on their fabulous interiors, in post card form and about the highly collectible artifacts from them. He has done specific histories of such celebrated passenger ships as the United States, Queen Mary, Rotterdam, France, Queen Elizabeth 2, Costa Victoria, Super Star Leo and Crystal Serenity – so, as you can imagine, we are thrilled that Bill enjoyed the exhibition so much.
Here’s what Bill had to say…..
Wed Jun 8th Southampton (England): Lunch with a friend from nearby Winchester & then together we visit the ocean liner exhibit at the 1930s style City Centre. A superb presentation highlighted by a very varied array of items and made more pleasant & pleasing since the Museum is selling books by someone known as “Mr Ocean Liner”.
The local powers have outdone themselves, in fact. The exhibit – done in several large rooms – is called Port Out, Southampton Home. Storerooms and warehouses must have been unlocked and unloaded. Most items are seeing the light of day for the first time in a long, long time. The liners are grouped in decades, starting in the 19th century, but concentrating on the 20th and then coming forward to the age of P&O and Royal Caribbean mega cruise ships. Favorite liners such as the original Queen Mary & Queen Elizabeth, Caronia, QE2 and Queen Mary 2 get special, expanded attention. Just about everything is interesting. There’s the likes of a Smoking Room chair from the Royal Mail Lines’ Alcantara(1926), an oversized chair from the Majestic (1922) and a statue of Christopher Columbus that stood aboard White Star’s Homeric (1922). (The Homeric was to have been, by the way, the Columbus of North German Lloyd, but was given to the British as post-World War I reparations.) Then there’s lots of china, cigarette boxes and ashtrays, photos of arriving celebrities, and also an extensive menu collection. Varied printed matter abounds along with paintings and lots of those wonderfully evocative posters. Notably, there are several really great, highly detailed models: the Normandie, Andes, Britannic, Lancastria, Reina Del Mar, Windsor Castle and, possibly the most spectacular, a huge rendition of the post-war, refitted Alcantara. And then there’s the big, brass bell from P&O’s Arcadia, a model of the Ocean Terminal (opened in 1950) and the 41-ft long paying-off pennant from the retiredQE2. Clearly, I was enthralled. Yes, it was just spectacular! So a recommendation: If you are in or near Southampton, head over to the City Centre and the SeaCity Museum. The exhibit runs into next year. Don’t miss it!
Many thanks to Bill for letting us use his words – you can find out more about his work at www.billmilleratsea.com