Celebrating Cunard's 175 years

Exactly 175 years ago, Samual Cunard came up with the idea of a regular mail and passenger ship service across the Atlantic.

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Behind the scenes of Queen Mary 2

175 years ago this summer, Samuel Cunard was in Britain to set up his famous shipping company.

250 ships and the best known line in the world was to follow.

Today, just one liner remains carrying passengers between Southampton and New York.

The company also operates Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.

For the last of his special reports, our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse has been given exclusive access behind the scenes of Queen Mary 2 on her 200th crossing between New York and Southampton.

We talk to Executive Chef Nicholas Oldroyd, Environment Officer Emma Gale, Social Hostess Imogen Smart, Stephen Payne who designed the ship and Commodore Christopher Rynd.


Global events to mark Cunard 175 - Exclusive

Major events are to be held around the world to mark the 175th anniversary of Southampton based Cunard.

Southampton will be the focus and is expected to see some of the biggest maritime commemorations the port has seen for many years.

Schools across the south will be involved in the project.

It is expected members of the Royal family will play a key role culminating in a re-creation of the first ever Cunard crossing to Halifax, in 1840 by the wooden steamer Britannic, by the companies current liner Queen Mary 2.

Cunard President Peter Shanks, in an exclusive interview with ITV News Meridian, said the company had "a remarkable history which would be marked the world over. Details are still being finalised but will start to emerge next month." He added:

"This is not so much a celebration but events to mark a remarkable history of a company we can be so proud of. We will be keen to commemorate the major contribution Cunard has made to wars over the years. 175 years on we still operate services between Southampton and New York leading the way in tradition and customer service."

Cunard anniversary: ships played vital role in wars

All this week we are marking the 175th anniversary of Samuel Cunard coming to Britain to start his famous shipping company, now based in Southampton. Cunard has played a major role in wartime with its ships and liners being used to carry troops.

But the company has paid a high price with more than 40 being sunk in World War One and Two with the loss of thousands of members of crew. The company also lost a ship in the Falklands conflict of 1982 which was torpedoed and sunk with12 lives lost.

More than 600 crew went to the conflict on QE2 which carried thousands of troops.

In this report our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse talks to Tim Castle from Kent and Jacqui Hodgson from Hampshire who sailed to the South Atlantic.

We also hear from Cunard historian John Langley.

Collector has rare Cunard documents

It is exactly 175 years since Samuel Cunard first came to Britain to start his shipping line - and all this week we are marking the anniversary. Over the years the company has owned 250 of the most famous passenger ships ever built.

An army of enthusiasts have spend coutless hours - and money - collecting everything from old menus - and artefacts - from the ships. One of the biggest fans is Andrew Britton from Dorset.

Much of his film collection has never been seen before. Now it's being made public for the first time. Our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse has been taking a look.


Cunard celebrates 175th birthday

Exactly 175 years ago a Canadian arrived in Britain with what at the time seemed a novel idea....a regular ship to carry mail and passengers to America. It ended up as the most successful shipping company ever.

Samuel Cunard came to Britain in the summer of 1838 to set up a regular service across the Atlantic. A year later he won the first Government contract - worth £55,000 a year - to deliver the mail to Halifax in Canada and Boston in the USA.

And it was in July 1840 that a wooden paddle steamer called Britannia made the historic first crossing. All this week we will be looking back at the history of the Southampton-based company.

Our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse talked to Bernard Webb, Queen Mary bell boy and John Langley, Cunard historian.

Cunard crew remember 'good old days'

Exactly 175 years ago, Samual Cunard came up with the idea of a regular mail and passenger ship service across the Atlantic. Many said it would never catch on - but Cunard has gone on to become hugely successful.

Our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse has been looking back at the company's history.

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