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R.M.S.P. History and Ephemera

R.M.S.P. Historical Archives

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.

From the date of the Inauguration of the line, in 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 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.

R.M.S.P. Collections

1923-12-19 SS Orca

R.M.S.P. Passenger Lists

Passenger Lists of the R.M.S.P. - The Royal Mail Steam Packet Company that provided transatlantic passenger services to and from Hamburg, Cherbourg, Southampton and New York and on occasion Quebec.

Vintage Brochures

RMSP - Service to New York - First and Second Class - 1921

RMSP - Service to New York - First and Second Class - 1921

Superb brochure from the R.M.S.P. (Royal Mail Steam Packet Service) described accommodations and services for first and second class passengers. Thier fleet of ships provided service betwen New York. Hambourg, Southampton, and Cherbourg. 11 Interior Photographs and a large fold-out Route Map.

Original French Brochure: La Compagnie Royal Mail Steam Packet - RMSP Service de New York - Premières et Deuxèmes Classes

Other Historical Articles and Documents

  • History of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company (RMSP) (1911)
    Soon after British-owned steamships began to run to America a company was formed by leading business men interested in the West Indies, to carry the mails from England to that part of the world. The charter of this company, to be known as the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, was granted in 1839.
  • Royal Mail’s New Atlantic Service Will Mark another Epoch in History of Line (1921)
    Weekly Sailings Ultimately Contemplated with Steady and Finely Appointed “O” Boats—Company’s Remarkable Progress during Past Eighty Years. Unusual interest has been aroused in shipping circles by the announcement that, beginning May 21, with the sailing of the Orbita, the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company will inaugurate a fortnightly passenger and freight service between New York, Cherbourg, Southampton and Hamburg.
  • Royal Mail Enterprise Adds Lamport & Holt Liners to Its Transatlantic Service (1922)
    In order to accommodate the* unusually heavy passenger traffic during the coming season, arrangements have been made by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company to add the well-known Lamport & Holt liners Vestris. Yandyck and Yauban to its transatlantic service. These steamers will make special voyages from New York to Cherbourg. Southampton and Hamburg on May 20, June 3 and July 12, thus enabling the Royal Mail to practically maintain weekly sailings during the late spring and summer months.
  • RMSP Passenger Lists

RMSP Documents in the Archives

Royal Mail Cabin Class Service to Europe - 1920s Brochure

  • 1920s Travel Brochure: Cabin Liners to Europe (Shown at right) : Royal Mail - The Comfort Route. 19 Page brochure for Royal Mail Cabin Class Service to Europe - Southampton, Cherbourg, and Hamburg includes interior photographs: Entrance Hall and Enquiry Office; Social Hall, Dining Saloon, Ball Room (Orduna & Orbita), Smoking Room, State Room, Three-Berth Cabin, Four-Berth Cabin, Gymnasium, Verandah Cafe, Promenade Deck and Exteior Photographs: Orbita, Orca and Orduna.
  • 1921-11-04 First and Second Class, R.M.S.P. Orbita, Hamburg to New York via Cherbourg and Southampton.
  • 1922-07-28 List of Passengers (Class Not Stated), RMS P. Orduña, Hamburg to New York via Southampton and Cherbourg
  • 1923-08-13 Cabin, R.M.S.P. Orbita, Hamburg to New York via Southampton and Cherbourg
  • 1923-12-19 First and Second Class, R.M.S.P. Orca, Hamburg to New York via Southampton and Cherbourg, Captain E. Clarke, R.D., R.N.R.
  • 1924-07-06 Cabin, R.M.S.P. Orca, Hamburg to Quebec and New York via Southampton and Cherbourg, Captain J. E. P. Matthews
  • 1924-07-22 Cabin, R.M.S.P. Ohio, Hamburg to New York via Southampton and Cherbourg, Captain W. H. Lainson. Page + Autographs of fellow passengers including Rose Braudenburg, Cora Hallaway, H. Gebers, J. R. Miur - 3rd Officer, B. C. Dodds - 2nd Officer.
  • 1924-08-01 Cabin, R.M.S.P. Orbita, Hamburg to New York via Southampton and Cherbourg, Captain W. H. Parker, C.B.E., R.D., R.N.R.
  • 1924-10-20 Cabin, R.M.S.P. Orbita, Hamburg to New York via Southampton and Cherbourg, Captain W. H. Parker, C.B.E., R.D., R.N.R.
  • 1926-09-17 Cabin, R.M.S.P. Ohio, Southampton to New via Cherbourg. Captain E. Clarke, R.D., R.N.R.

 

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. In addition to this, a service of pleasure cruises to Norway was successfully inaugurated in 1909, while soon afterward a regular service from New York to Bermuda, which was subsequently 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, by which the 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 whole of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company's share capital and has thus acquired control of its fleet and interests, thereby practically circumnavigating the continent of South America.

The most important 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.

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