Mauretania, the largest and fastest ship at the time, holding a speed record of 26.06 knots / 48.26 kmh for 20 years (held the Blue Riband from 1909 to 1929). U.S. banker, J.P Morgan, acquired the massive transatlantic White Star Line (e.g. Titanic), thus his competitors feared that he was trying to monopolize the shipping trade. The Cunard Line wanted to oppose this development and struck a deal with the British Government for building two superliners, the Lusitania and Mauretania. The Government loaned £2,600,000 (£207 million as of 2012) on the condition that the ships could be converted to Armed Merchant Cruisers. This was necessary when Britain declared war on Germany in 1914, but Mauretania was unsuited due to its size and costly fuel consumption. Her sister ship, Lusitiana, was later, in 1915, sunk by a German U-boat. However, Mauretania was able to serve as a hospital ship, treating wounded from the French and British forces, she also carried Canadian and American troops when the U.S. declared war on Germany in 1917.
Photo caption: The gentleman wearing uniform is Mauretania’s first Chief Engineer, John Currie. Here touring the ship with some stakeholders in Liverpool’s Canada Dock, 1909.
Illustration of the size and weight of Mauretania’s anchor chains.
Some of the workmen who built the vessel.
Transporting large components.
Wallsend Slipway & Engineering Co. display a complete propeller assembly.
Mauretania on her maiden voyage, passing Low Lights at the mouth of the Tyne.
Former White Star Line flagship, Olympic, (left) and Mauretania (right) at Southampton in 1935, awaiting their final voyage. Mauretania left July 1, 1935 for Rosyth, Scotland, where she was scrapped. Many loyal passengers, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt, protested against the scrapping in private letters.
[Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums]