#409 – Library of Congess Images – SS Majestic Outward Bound


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 MorecambeS.S. Majestic, outward bound, clearing the dock

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.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. A fascinating set of photographs, Andy. The Library of Congress is proving to be a treasure trove. The SS Majestic looks quite delicate and you get the feeling that the pressure from that tug in the first shot will be felt and the ship will come round positively. To my uneducated eye, the tugs look like the classic “Long Beach” type, of Revell kit fame- they are fascinating and no doubt a study in themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. andy says:

      Thanks Iain! I fully agree, the archive is a true treasure trove and there’s just so much good stuff in it that I’ve probably got enough stuff to post for the next year or two!

      The accompanying text is what takes the time, even if I just do superficial Wikipedia level research – clearly, doing primary research is difficult from this side of the Atlantic. And finding stuff of interest can be either difficult (due to inconsistent or non-existent key wording or descriptions) or lead to an overwhelming volume of good material. But it’s been very rewarding and hopefully some of the material I’ve found and highlighted has brought it to a wider audience than it would have otherwise.


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