The 'Three Graces' at Liverpool Pier Head.

From left to right: The Royal Liver Building,

the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building.

On the right is the tower of the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.




Hi, I'm John. I built this website. I thought you might like to know how it all started and why I built it.

John Shepherd and 'Freddie'


 One evening recently my partner and I had been reminiscing about voyages long past and he said: "John, I wish you would write up some of those things which happened. I mean, write literally all about it, not just the technical part. All about  what caused the EMPRESS OF CANADA fire, and why the SYLVANIA ran aground in the St Lawrence in 1967. Why not describe a typical round voyage on the CARINTHIA, and include some of those people you knew, such as Captain Nicholas whose chief delight in life was blowing the CARINTHIA's steam whistle at any opportunity. Mention the occasion on which the CARINTHIA and the SYLVANIA were berthed adjacent to each other at Madeira, and the resulting confusion that occurred at sailing time with passengers (and some crew) boarding the wrong ship!  In fact all the bits that made it fun.

 We shall forget what really happened in a few years time, and we'll have lost something worth having."

 "That's not a bad idea," I said, "It would be better than sitting down worrying about these accounts."

 And so <   > just happened along.


 After a slow start with maybe 5 'hits' a day on the website, now receives over 300 unique hits a day.  So, the website has achieved its original aim, namely to keep alive those halcyon days of Liverpool's passenger liners of the 1950s and 1960s. 


j.s.  23.ii.2013.


contact me at <   >



A busy day at Princes Landing Stage, Liverpool, in 1962.

In the foreground the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's passenger-car ferry

MANX MAID loads for Douglas. Astern of her, Canadian Pacific's new flagship

EMPRESS OF CANADA is disembarking passengers after arriving from Montreal;

whilst at the north end of the landing stage is the Cunard Line's CARINTHIA,

loading for another voyage to Quebec and Montreal, via Greenock.


At the time this photograph was taken (by the Liverpool Daily Post), a scene such

as this was a way of life on Merseyside which seemingly had no end, but by the

end of the 1960s it had all but disappeared.



Liverpool Ships include the Cunard and Canadian Pacific passenger liners on the New York and Montreal services; the Elder Dempster ships on the West African run; the Pacific Steam Navigation Company's two 'Reinas' sailing to the West Coast of South America, and finally the Booth Line's

'Hilary', sailing 1,000 miles up the Amazon.


The EMPRESS OF BRITAIN backing off Princes Landing

Stage, with Elder Dempster's AUREOL alongside.




I am the author of all the text which appears on this website. The various articles (now 'webpages') have been written over the past ten to fifteen years, and I have consulted the publications listed in the Bibliography for this purpose.


As far as the photographs are concerned, it's just impossible to credit the various sources. Many of them I have taken myself; most of them have been submitted for inclusion by interested visitors to the website as it progressed; but a fair number have been culled from the Internet and there has been no credited photographer. If one of your photographs has found its way on to this site, please let me know and I can then either remove it from the site, or immediately give you the credit.

A special 'thank-you' to < > who have kindly allowed me to use several of their superb black-and-white photographs on this website.


visit also:


 j.s.     May, 2011


The SYLVANIA on her trials over the Arran Mile in May 1957







Great Passenger Ships of the World, Volumes 4 & 5, (Arnold Kludas), 1977

Harrisons of Liverpool (Captain Graeme Cubbin) : World Ship Society / Ships in Focus

Last White Empresses, (Clive Harvey) : Carmania Press, 2004

Liverpool's Last Ocean Liners, (John Shepherd) : The History Press, 2008

Lloyd's Register of Ships - various editions

Saxonia Sisters, (Clive Harvey) : Carmania Press, 2001





Journal of Commerce

Liverpool Daily Post

Liverpool Echo

Sea Breezes

Shipbuilding and Shipping Record

Ships Monthly


The EMPRESS OF SCOTLAND on passage between Quebec and Montreal