As part of the on-going process to make the Cunard archive catalogues available electronically, the first three chairman’s papers are now available online. These records provide a unique insight into the working and sometimes personal lives of very influential men within the Cunard Company.
The earliest chairman’s papers within the archive is that of the second Lord Inverclyde who was the third Chairman of the Cunard Company from 1902-1905. His papers include official and semi-official letters, and many draft copies of the 1903 shipbuilding agreement between Cunard and the British Government.
The next chairman’s papers within the Cunard archive is that of Sir Alfred Booth which covers his chairmanship of Cunard from 1909-1922. These are significantly more extensive, consisting of letters on official or semi-official company business regarding subjects such as the building, repair, refitting and wrecking of vessels, agreements with other shipping lines, individual staff matters such as resignations as well as negotiations with unions and various matters connected with the requisition of vessels during the First World War. As well as correspondence many of the files also contain reports, memoranda, copy agreements and minutes of a variety of bodies and committees.
Lastly we have the papers of Sir Thomas Royden created during his chairmanship of the Cunard Company from 1922-1930. Some letters relate to his involvement in other companies, particularly the London, Midland and Scottish Railway.
Over the coming months we hope to have the remaining Chairman’s catalogues available online. These include the papers of Sir Percy Bates, Mr Frederick A. Bates, Col. Denis H. Bates and Sir John Brocklebank. The final series in this section relates to Mr A.H. Hume who was Deputy Chairman. In the meantime all catalogues can be consulted in printed form in our reading room.