The SS Majestic was launched in 1889 and so was maybe 12-15 years old when this photograph was taken. She held the Blue Riband for a brief 2 weeks in 1891 with an average speed of 20.1 knots.
She was taken out of service in 1912, replaced by Titanic. She was placed in reserve in Birkenhead, but then brought back into service after her replacement sank in April 1912. Following another years service, she was sold for scrap, and was broken up at Thomas Wards yard in Morecambe.
As is often seen in these old liner photographs there is a definite sense of occasion – there’s not too much of the crowd in the dock visible, but the all the bowler and boater hats suggest a very middle class audience – I’m not sure whether it’s because it was a fashionable thing to do, or whether it was because of the travelling clientele they were waving off.
I like this little sequence of images, the sense of recession, of departure as the ship gets smaller in the scene. I’ve had to heavily crop the last one below due to the negative being heavily damaged, but the files are so big and with so much detail, it really doesn’t matter.