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Royal Mail Steam Packet Company History and Ephemera

AKA La Compagnie Royal Mail Steam Packet. The Royal Mail Steam Packet Company was a British shipping company founded in London in 1839 by a Scot, James MacQueen. The line's motto was Per Mare Ubique (everywhere by sea).

The Royal Mail Steam Packet Company that provided transatlantic passenger services to and from Hamburg, Cherbourg, Southampton, and New York and on occasion Quebec.

Since September 1839, the vessels of the company have been remarkable for the grace of the design upon which they have been constructed, while, keeping In advance of the times, the "A" and "D" steamers of the R. M. S. P. have In recent years become a household word for "Luxury Afloat."

In 1932 the company was liquidated, and its assets were taken over by the newly formed Royal Mail Lines after financial trouble and scandal. Over the years RML declined to no more than the name of a service run by former rival Hamburg-Süd.

RMSP Ephemera in Date Order

Couverture de la Brochure Avant, Service RMSP New York - Première et Deuxième Classe - 1921.

1921-06 Brochure - RMSP Service de New York - Premières et Deuxèmes Classes

Superbe brochure de 1921 contenant de nombreuses photographies extraordinaires des intérieurs de première et deuxième classe des paquebots de la Compagnie Royal Mail Steam Packet qui naviguent d’Europe à New York.

Front Brochure Cover, RMSP New York Service - First and Second Class - 1921.

1921-06 Brochure - RMSP New York Service - First and Second Class

Superb brochure from 1921 documents with many extraordinary photographs of the first and second class interiors of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company ocean liners plying from Europe to New York.

1921-10-22 SS Orbita

1921-10-22 SS Orbita Passenger List

  • Class of Passengers: First and Second Class
  • Date of Departure: 22 October 1921
  • Route: Hamburg to New York via Cherbourg and Southampton
  • Commander: Captain J. E. P. Matthews
1922-07-26 Passenger Manifest SS Orduña

1922-07-26 SS Orduña Passenger List

  • Class of Passengers: Cabin
  • Date of Departure: 26 July 1922
  • Route: London to New York via Southampton and Cherbourg
  • Commander: Captain W. H. Lainson
Front Cover of 1923 Brochure "Cabin Liners to Europe" from the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company.

1923 Brochure - RMSP Cabin Liners to Europe

Believed to be one of the earliest brochures produced by the RMSP to promote their newly acquired ships Orbita, Orca, and Orduña, in 1923 provides numerous interior photographs. The ships were only operated by RMSP for 3 years before being resold to the PSNCo in 1926.

Prepaid Certificate for Second Class Passage - Royal Mail Steam Packet Company - 1923

1923-01-27 Prepaid Certificate - Royal Mail Steam Packet Company

Very rare prepaid certificate for second class passage on the RMS Reliance of RMSP. The passage for the 18 year old German immigrant girl was paid for by a relative, Bernhard Mayer, who immigrated in 1892.

1923-03-27 SS Orduna

1923-03-27 SS Orduña Passenger List

  • Class of Passengers: Cabin
  • Date of Departure: 27 March 1923
  • Route: Hamburg to Bermuda and New York via Southampton and Cherbourg
  • Commander: Captain G. E. Warner
1923-08-01 SS Orbita

1923-08-01 SS Orbita Passenger List

  • Class of Passengers: Cabin
  • Date of Departure: 1 August 1923
  • Route: Hamburg to New York via Southampton and Cherbourg
  • Commander: Captain W. H. Parker
Front Cover, RMSP SS Ohio Cabin Passenger List - 29 August 1923.

1923-08-29 SS Ohio Passenger List

  • Class of Passengers: Cabin
  • Date of Departure: 29 August 1923
  • Route: Hamburg to New York via Southampton and Cherbourg
  • Commander: Captain W. H. Lainson
1923-12-19 SS Orca

1923-12-19 SS Orca Passenger List

  • Class of Passengers: Cabin
  • Date of Departure: 19 December 1923
  • Route: Hamburg to New York via Southampton and Cherbourg
  • Commander: Captain E. Clarke
1924-07-06 SS Orca

1924-07-06 SS Orca Passenger List

  • Class of Passengers: Cabin
  • Date of Departure: 6 July 1924
  • Route: Hamburg for Quebec and New York via Southampton and Cherbourg
  • Commander: Captain J. E. P. Matthews
1924-07-22 Passenger Manifest for the SS Ohio

1924-07-22 SS Ohio Passenger List

  • Class of Passengers: Cabin
  • Date of Departure: 22 July 1924
  • Route: Hamburg to New York via Southampton and Cherbourg
  • Commander: Captain W. H. Lainson
1924-07-29 SS Orbita

1924-07-29 SS Orbita Passenger List

  • Class of Passengers: Cabin
  • Date of Departure: 29 July 1924
  • Route: Hamburg to New York via Southampton and Cherbourg
  • Commander: Captain W. H. Parker
1924-10-08 SS Orbita

1924-10-08 SS Orbita Passenger List

  • Class of Passengers: Cabin
  • Date of Departure: 8 October 1924
  • Route: Hamburg for New York via Southampton and Cherbourg
  • Commander: Captain W. H. Parker
1926-07-30 SS Orca

1926-07-30 SS Orca Passenger List

  • Class of Passengers: Student Tourist
  • Date of Departure: 30 July 1926
  • Route: Southampton for New York via Cherbourg
  • Commander: Captain H. A. Le Brecht
Front Cover - SS Orca Farewell Dinner Menu - 8 August 1926

1926-08-08 SS Orca Farewell Dinner Menu and Music Program

Vintage Student-Tourist Saloon Farewell Dinner Menu and Music Program from 8 August 1926 featured Poached Halibut, Oyster Sauce, Sirloin of Beef, Yorkshire Pudding, and Vanilla Blancmange and Fruit for dessert.

1926-09-17 SS Ohio

1926-09-17 SS Ohio Passenger List

  • Class of Passengers: Cabin
  • Date of Departure: 17 September 1926
  • Route: Cherbourg for New York via Southampton
  • Commander: Captain E. Clarke

 

History of the RMSP

The Royal Mail Steam Packet Company is one of the most ubiquitous of the British steamship companies. Incorporated in 1839, the company received a payment of £240,000 a year for the carrying of the mails to and from Great Britain, the West Indies, and North and South America.

The West India Mail Line was extended to Colombo in 1868, while the following year the South American Mail Line was continued to Buenos Ayres. The company now runs steamers from New York to Jamaica, and vice versa, while in 1905 it acquired a half-interest in the Australian mail services.

Two years later it also acquired a half-share in the "Shire" Line, by which its services are extended to the Far East; while, still more recently, Messrs. Forwood's Line has been acquired, and vessels are now run to Gibraltar, Morocco, the Canary Islands, and Madeira. RMSP started offering pleasure cruises to Norway in 1909, and soon afterward a regular service from New York to Bermuda, which was later extended to Antilla, Cuba, was commenced.

The company also has a large number of small vessels employed in the West Indian coastal and inter-colonial services. Produce from the various islands is collected and taken to Barbados or Trinidad, where it is embarked by the mail steamers.

And in June 1910, this enterprising company purchased the Pacific Steam Navigation Company its fleet and interests, whereby effectively circumnavigating the continent of South America.

The most famous vessels of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company are the mail steamers Asturias, Avon, Araguaya, Amazon, and Aragon. These vessels, which are all driven by twin screws, vary in size between 12,000 and 9,500 tons. Their accommodation for passengers is amongst the most luxurious afloat, and a specialty is the number of single-berth cabins provided.

Y. M. C A. Secretaries on Steamships 1913

The Young Men'» Christian Association announces that the Royal Mail Steamship line has granted the association permission to place secretaries on board the company's Teasels to conduct schools for immigrants.

The association reports that 190,000 immigrants attended the lectures given in twenty-five European ports this last year. Negotiations are being forwarded to place secretaries on the vessels of other steamship lines.

The Continent, 13 November 1913, p. 1581

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