Lanarkshire Philatelic Society




Mr. Colin Breddy


Colin Breddy of the Caledonian Philatelic Society gave members of the Lanarkshire Philatelic Society a most informative evening with his display of stamps, postcards, covers, postmarks all relating to ‘Cunard’.

Samuel Cunard made the statement, ‘I want a plain and comfortable boat – to ship passengers and mail – bring them safely over and safely back.’ In 1838 he won the contract for a fortnightly Mail Service - he was in business! In 1840 he initiated ‘The British and North America Royal Mail Steam Packet’ – this was later renamed as ‘Cunard Steamship Company – and the 4th July, 1840 saw the first voyage of a Cunard Steamship – the ‘Britannia’. One of the world’s greatest fleets was born.

There was much fascinating material to view – including postcards of the various wooden hulled ships – of the ships which carried sails – and the later steel hulled ships. The many ships built on the Clyde were featured – as was a sheet of headed notepaper ‘Cunard Royal Mail Steamship ‘Scythia.’ The ‘Umbria’ and ‘Etruria’ were the last Cunarders to carry sails.

The luxury liner of 1892 – ‘Campania’ was shown as also was the ‘Carpathia’ which picked up survivors from the ‘Titanic.’ Various ships which were torpedoed during the First World War – and a German postcard celebrating the sinking of the ‘Lusitania’ in 1915 – were shown.


After tea, there was much material relating to the rebuilding of the many ships lost in the War – and of the ‘Laconia’ the first Cunard liner to make a world cruise. The 1930s saw financial difficulties and Cunard and White Star Lines merged. In September 1934, Queen Mary launched the ‘Queen Mary’; in 1940 she became a troop ship; in 1946 she was restored to a passenger liner. The years passed and air travel became ‘the way to travel’ to the detriment of travel by sea. In 1982 the ‘Queen Mary’ became a museum ship and hotel berthed at Long Beach, California. 

In September 1938, the Queen Mother launched the ‘Queen Elizabeth’ – which, at that time, was the largest cruise liner built. Unfortunately she ended her days in a fire in Hong Kong Harbour. In September 1967, the Queen launched the ‘QE2’ – she was the last oil fired passenger steamship to serve on the Atlantic. She became a troopship in 1982 during the Falkand War and in 2008 was sold and became permanently berthed in Dubai.

This wonderful display ended with postcards and covers depicting the historic rendezvous of the ‘QE2’, ‘Queen Mary 2’ and ‘Queen Victoria’ in New York Harbour on 13th January 2008.


Dr Ken Liddell led members in giving the Vote of Thanks for a truly interesting and most informative display.