The introduction of Steam power in the 19th Century revolutionised the shipping industry and made Britain a world leader in ship building. Much of Britain’s wealth relied on merchant ships to carry goods and people across the empire. British ships were amongst the best in the world and the use of steam propelled engineering meant they has a huge advantage. By the time Queen Victoria came to the throne, seam powered vessels were in use around the country, with a regular voyager to North Atlantic by Brunel’s Great Western.
By the 1870s, the American and British economies prospered, and the class of wealthy and high society were eager to travel in luxury. The accommodation was designed with luxury and opulence and soon the ocean liners were famous. These ships relied on the immigrant trade and soon rich and poor crossed the ocean on different decks.
Travel and adventure were the height of fashion in the 1900s and luggage manufacturers were quick to design travel cases and trunks to meet this demand. The 1926 advert for Winship’s ‘entirely different’ 'travel trunk with doors' is a great example.
We have just found an one of these Winship travelling wardrobe. It has original wooden hangers for clothes and a bank of drawers for storage. As the advert explains that they ‘cost more to build and is worth every dollar of the necessary difference’. It has a ‘solid base and centre partition given unequalled strength and durability as well as convenience and beauty’. We could not agree more. The stunning travel wardrobe we have available is in great condition of its age, extremely heavy and a stunning piece.
By the 1930s and after the war, ocean liners marketed their ships for modern middleclass travellers to see the world, travel in style and have fun. The modern sea traveller was born, luggage was smaller and lighter and lead to what is now know as cruising. Ocean travel connects people and markets around the globe. We hardly give sea travel a second thought, yet we all depend on the vessels, ports and workers who keep the network going.