‘New’ online catalogue – Cunard Chairman’s Correspondence (2)

We are pleased to announce that the catalogue for the papers of Sir Percy Bates who became deputy Chairman of the Cunard Steamship Co. in 1922 and was Chairman from 1930 until his death in 1946 is now available online. Sir Percy Bates was instrumental in the development of two of Cunard’s most prestigious vessels, the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth and oversaw historic periods in the company’s history, including the formation of Cunard White Star Line and the Second World War.

Sir Percy Bates on his way to Chicago 1938 (D42/C3/1/2/63)

The majority of papers in the D42/C3 series descend from Sir Percy Bates’ private files, which he himself created and therefore reflects his daily working life. Files have been numbered and arranged in an order designed by Bates himself, presumably to meet his working needs, and tend to be grouped by topic and theme or individual and organisation. Indexes are available for Sir Percy’s business and personal files. Totalling 85 boxes, these papers are considerably more extensive than those for either the Booth or Royden Chairmanship.

Over the next few months, catalogues for the papers of other members of the Bates family from the time of their Chairmanship will go online. These include Frederick Bates who succeeded Percy as Chairman of Cunard, holding that post during the years 1946-1953 and Denis Bates who was the final member of the Bates family to be Chairman of Cunard from 1953-1959.

Researchers are also able to access the catalogue for The Bates Family Papers (D641) which are part of the Cunard Associated Deposits. This collection complements the Chairman’s Papers of the Cunard archive and provides real insight into both the personal and professional lives of members of the Bates family.

Items from Dennis Bates’ war service (D641/3)

These family papers were used by Philip E. Bates to research his book The Bates of Bellefield, Gryn Castle and Manydown and by Percy Bates in writing his book Some Transactions of a Halifax Family. They comprise personal and work-related correspondence, letter books, legal documents, diaries, photographs and medals, news clippings, shipping memorabilia, a pencil drawing and other related papers. Some of the highlights include letters sent by Dennis Bates whilst on active service during the First World War, business papers of Edward Bates & Sons and a pencil sketch of a soldier by John Lockwood Kipling.

Pencil Sketch of a soldier by John Lockwood Kipling, given to Percy Bates by Rudyard Kipling (D641/2/4/1)

This Week’s War: 191

Aside

Wedding Bells

‘Sergt. H. C. Hiles, M. M., R. F. A. (Bristol Office), visited Liverpool during a fortnight’s leave from the Italian Front. We learnt that he had been fortunate in love and war, having just taken unto himself a life partner. We also noted he was wearing the ribbon of the Military Medal. He has our sincere wishes for life long happiness.’

Extract from Cunard magazine March/April 1918 issue [D42/PR5/1].

This Week’s War: 189

Aside

‘We are awaiting the Boche onslaught: the latest date is March 25th. Meanwhile both sides practice raids and so far we have had much the best of the exchanges as our men are ready and able for the fight while the Boche is the very opposite.’

Letter sent to Percy Bates from a friend at the General Headquarters of the British Armies in France, dated 18th March 1918 [D641/2/1/6].

This Week’s War: 184

Aside

Wounded Soldiers’ Concerts

‘The second concert was held on February 9, Alderman M. H. Maxwell, J. P., presiding. The proceedings were an unqualified success. The star turn was Miss Ella Shields, whose songs were greatly appreciated by the wounded soldiers.’

Extract from Cunard staff magazine, February 1918 issue [D42/PR5/1].

This Week’s War: 174

Aside

November 1917

FROM NEW YORK
1 C/s Hospital goods consisting of 
2 Doz. Hot Water Bags                         6 Doz to Seaforth Military
13 ” Tooth Brushes                               Hospital
6 ” Calox                                               Comrades Assn.
12 ” Face Cloths                                    ” ”
4 ” Hair Combs

Items donated by the wives of active servicemen aboard Cunard ships to be distributed to the indicated areas. From the Cunard Archive [Cunard Women’s War Service Association Report for 1917, D42/C1/1/22/2].

New Accession: Cunard Associated Deposits

Earlier this month SC&A received a donation of material commemorating the Queen Mary and her launch in 1934 and memorabilia from a Sylvania Mediterranean cruise in 1965. These items were donated by Kit Syder in memory of her Grandparents, Tom and Hilda Roby who collected the items through their connection with the John Roby Ltd Company (later Roby & Utley) and as passengers on a Cunard cruise. This accession is particularly timely as today marks 50 years since the Queen Mary made her final voyage from Southampton to her new home in Long Beach, California.

D1169/1/1 – The Journal of Commerce and Shipping, Telegraph (1 Oct 1934)

It is perhaps difficult today to appreciate how significant the Queen Mary was when she entered service, for not only was she the largest and fastest ship the world had ever known but she was also the most expensive. Items within this new accession help to demonstrate the impact the Queen Mary had on the country and her wide-ranging appeal.

They include a supplement from The Journal of Commerce and Shipping, (as the first ship to be launched by the newly formed Cunard White Star Line Ltd. the Queen Mary dominated news headlines); a scale model by Bassett-Lowke Ltd, complete with printed instructions and a fold-out scale drawing; a hand-held Queen Mary puzzle from the ‘R. J. Series of Popular Puzzles’ and collectable confectionery and cigarette cards that used illustrations to demonstrate the scale and features of the Queen Mary to the public and potential passengers.

D1169/1/2 – The Queen Mary puzzle

The new accession also includes items relating to Thomas Utley (Rainhill) Ltd (a brass foundry which made fittings for the shipping industry) in the form of a promotional booklet and catalogue, staff photograph and news clipping. The promotional booklet as shown was produced by Thomas Utley (Rainhill) Ltd. Rainhill Liverpool to highlight a selection of the sidelights and windows supplied to the Queen Mary.These items will be of particular interest to those who are researching suppliers to the Queen Mary and will complement Sir Percy Bates’ correspondence that can be found within the Cunard Archive’s ‘Chairmen’s Papers’.

D1169/2/2

 

Pictured below is just one of the menu cards collected by Tom and Hilda Roby on their Mediterranean cruise on the Sylvania in 1965. Further items from this cruise include copies of the Cunard Ocean Bulletin and even Cunard-themed cocktail stirrers, matches and a bar of soap!

D1169/3/1 – Dinner menu card from a Sylvania Mediterranean Cruise (15 Feb 1965)

The full catalogue for this new accession (D1169) will be available online via the Cunard webpage.

This Week’s War: 166

Aside

October 1917
Goods Received                                  Goods Distributed
12 Doz. Face Cloths                             10 Doz to Casualty Clearing stn. B.E.F
” ” Tooth Brushes                                   6 ” ” ” ”
4 ” Hair Combs                                      To Comrades Assn.
2 ” Packages Calox                               ” ”
2 ” Hot Water Bottles                             Casualty Clearing stn. B.E.F
1 1/2 Bath Gowns                                  ” ”

Items donated by the wives of active servicemen aboard Cunard ships to be distributed to the indicated areas. From the Cunard Archive [Cunard Women’s War Service Association Report for 1917, D42/C1/1/22/2].

This Week’s War: 163

Aside

September 1917
Goods Received                                  Goods Distributed
From Boston per Mr Stewart
Playing Cards                                        To No. 57 General Hospital B
Books                                                     To Comrades Association
Games                                                    ” Y.M.C.A Camp B.E.F

Items donated by the wives of active servicemen aboard Cunard ships to be distributed to the indicated areas. From the Cunard Archive [Cunard Women’s War Service Association Report for 1917, D42/C1/1/22/2].

This Week’s War: 161

Aside

August 1917
Goods Received                                  Goods Distributed
From Boston
2 C/s [cases] from Franklin Relief        To Bureau
Assn.
1 ” Magazines                                        Recreation Camps in France, books,                                                                                      magazines, playing cards, dominoes, draughts and                                                                boards. To 2 Casualty clearing stations – Playing                                                                  cards, Cigarettes.

Items donated by the wives of active servicemen aboard Cunard ships to be distributed to the indicated areas. From the Cunard Archive [Cunard Women’s War Service Association Report for 1917, D42/C1/1/22/2].

International Cat Day

Today we are feline very good in Special Collections and Archives – August 8th 2017 is International Cat Day. As we are cat-loving librarians and archivists, we have selected a taster of our best cat themed items from the Children’s books, Science Fiction Foundation Collections, Cunard Archive, and University Archive fur you to enjoy.

Children’s Literature

SC&A houses more than 7000 pre-First World War children’s books, of which the tale of mischievous cats throughout is a common feature. In The Tale of Tom Kitten, Tom and his siblings Mittens and Moppet play outside in their best clothes, only for them to be stolen by ducks (Oldham 173). Tit, Tiny, and Tittens: The Three White Kittens are a handful, too – they get themselves in all sorts of predicaments (JUV 308:60).

Oldham 173

JUV.308:60

The History of Whittington and His Cat is the feline rags to riches story we are all familiar with. The copy held here in Special Collections is in the form of a chapbook, a small paperback for children which would sell for a cheap price and provide a story with a moral message. This copy also includes the alphabet, allowing children to practice their reading skills from the most basic stage (Oldham 43).

Oldham 43

Science Fiction Foundation Collections

Continuing the theme of children’s literature, the below novel from the Science Fiction collections is written for the young adults audience in the Bantam Action series. In this short novel, robot cats are created to clean-up the city, but are hijacked and used for evil deeds (PR6061.I39.C99 1996). Cats also crop-up regularly in Science Fiction as representation of earth-like normality and domesticity on space ships (for presumably a similar purpose as a ships cat; see below). A personal favorite is Jonesy, Ripley’s ginger tom, from the Alien franchise.

PR6061.I39.C99 1996

Cunard

Cats were commonplace aboard ships for many reasons – they caught vermin, provided comfort to crew, and even predicted storms through their enhanced sensitivity to low pressure environments. Some ships cats have become famous; ‘Unsinkable Sam’, a German cat, survived the sinking of three ships during World War II! From the Cunard archive here, we see below Captain Rostron’s cat and her adorable kittens aboard the Mauretania, from the Cunard Magazine during the mid 1920s (D42/PR5/12).

D42/PR5/12. Cunard Magazine, Vol. 16.

University Archive 

A prominent deposit within the staff papers of the University Archive are the papers of Professor (and Sir) Charles Reilly. One of the most important figures in the history of twentieth-century architecture in Britain, Sir Reilly dominated architectural education and had a profound influence on architectural practice. The below photograph shows Sir Charles Reilly holding a rather uninterested Timoshenko the cat, in the garden of his home in Twickenham during the the World War II era (D938/2/15).

D938/2/15. Photograph by Louise Sedgwick ©

The Special Collections and Archives Cats

From the top left to the bottom right: Audrey and Lilly (Jo Klett, University Archivist), Clara (Katy Hooper, Special Collections Librarian), Chester (Robyn Orr, Library Assistant), Yan, Barry, and Hamilton (Jenny Higham, Special Collections and Archives Manager), and Reginald Ecclefechan (Lucy Evans, Assistant Librarian – Special Collections).

All of these items are available to view right meow in the Special Collections and Archives reading room (except our pet cats – we wish, though…). Please do see our website for more information on visiting us.