At our January meeting of the shipping club, one of our senior members, Alan Johnson, whose latter part of his working career was spent as a senior lecturer at the famous South Shields Marine School and who currently in his retirement enjoys the subject of Local History.
Well, he handed me a couple of interesting documents to have a look at A Passenger List and a Menu
dated February 12th 1930 for the luxury passenger liner RMS “Majestic”, part of the White Star Line. He told me that these are the property of a good friend of his, Ann Robson and the documents had belonged to her father who had come into possession of these documents when he sailed as a passenger from Southampton to New York on this ship in order to join, as far as known, a Furness Withy ship in some American port.
Sadly, Ann only new her father Harold Ernest Beverley from a picture by the fireplace at her home: as she was only three when he died, from a suspected brain tumour at the young age of thirty five.
Harold had two brothers and four sisters. The three boys all chose sea-going careers, Harold into Engineering, Herbert and Philip preferring the deck department. All three attended the South Shields Marine School, which was at
that time in Ocean Road, South Shields. In those days, of course, it was up to the individual to pay their own way through college and examinations, as there was no funding – if you weren’t working on a ship, you didn’t get paid. It is also sad to record that Philip too had an untimely death when only in his forties.
However, Herbert, who was born in 1893, five years older than his brother Harold, had a very distinguished career in the Navy as the following extracts taken from uboat.net show
It is interesting to note that in 1930, Britain’s Merchant Fleet was just over the 20 million gross tons, the Shipping industry was still struggling in the less favourable post 1918 era – after suffering severe losses during the war. Nevertheless this figure still constituted almost 30% of total world tonnage.
The North East of England continued to be a major centre for Shipping and Shipbuilding; this naturally gave rise to the desire for the young men of the day to choose a career at sea; as well demonstrated by the Beverley family.
See also the story – RMS Majestic