If you can see it, don’t miss this cracking little BBC programme, with great rememniscences, some lovely old films, some nice history, and some great stories. It’s one of the things that makes the BBC great – and makes me wonder whethe the folks who would get rid of it know what they’re doing…
And example of the stories is the one about the Queen Victoria. It seems the Cunard folks commissioned John Brown & Company to build a new liner on Clydebank, and decided to name her the Queen Victoria. Being upright, proper gents with a bit of access, they decided to as the King for permission to use the name.
So they went to see King George V, and duly asked ‘We would like permission to call the ship Queen… ‘
They hadn’t got to the ‘Victoria’ bit when the Royal personage butted in with ‘Mary would be delighted to have the ship named after her’. So they went back to their office and were unable to change the plan.
A small problem was that there already was a Queen Mary, a steamer operating on the Clyde. So a deal had to be done… Cunard got it’s Queen Mary, and the Clyde steamer became Queen Mary II.
The blurb, by the way, says:
‘Far more than a means of transport, these steamers attracted a devoted following, treating their passengers, whatever their pocket, to the adventure and trappings of an ocean voyage whilst actually rarely venturing out of sight of land. A highlight of the great British seaside holiday from the 1820s until the early 1960s – and open to all – they were “the people’s liners”.’