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the magazine masthead features Neptune in a shell being pulled over the ocean by two sea horses with three mermaids in the water draped over the shell the title The shipping World and the Herald of Commerce surrounds the figures edited by Major Jones cost was sixpence
The Shipping World & Herald of Commerce, May 1, 1896.

The Shipping World: 1940 and the War

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In my first post about Shipping World I looked at issues and articles from 1883/1884, but for this second post I wanted to focus on later issues and how coverage might have changed. I settled on looking at issues from 1940, when the title was Shipping World and Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering. Given the UK was then embroiled in the Second World War, it was obvious that the war would be featured heavily.

Articles that were directly or indirectly about the war featured in every issue. There was a regular article “War and Shipping” which was presented as a series of short notes on activities for particular days and it was often accompanied with a companion piece titled “War Casualties – Allied & Neutral,” which reported on ship losses and the numbers of dead and rescued, as well as charts on shipping losses by enemy action. There were also other occasional articles reporting on war related issues like “The War on Merchant Shipping” from the October 2nd issue.

While Shipping World was a UK publication and concentrated on shipping and shipbuilding in the UK, shipbuilding was and is, an international business, so they did venture into American waters. For example, there was an October 9th article on “Welding in an American Shipyard” and another in the April 10th issue titled “American Shipbuilding Methods.”

Ship construction and the state of the industry were still major topics. In 1940, there were articles in the December 4th and March 13th issues on propellers, and topics like engines, turbines, heat insulators, removal of wrecks, and forecasting for the industry after the war were addressed. The August 14th issue listed “Rates of Hire” for liners and tramp steamers by vessel tonnage. There was also the regular Brokers Log column and frequent articles on firm finances and insurance.

Beyond reporting on the war and general shipbuilding and industry articles, other items I wanted to highlight include an article in the August 21st issue about women working at British Power Boat Company; one about shipping after World War I, which ran in the April 10th issue; and regular articles run about the prices and handling of specific commodities like coal, oil, wheat, and grain.

Of course, there were many advertisements from all sorts of companies that supplied various types of equipment and fittings. Advertisements for firms like Vickers-Armstrong featured images, including HMS Cossack, HMS Ursula (a submarine), HMS Ajax, HMS Sheffield, HMS Thistle, HMS Afridi, HMS Eskimo, and HMS Mashona.

What first caught my attention and really excited me, were the ship layout drawings. Issues for January 3rd and 10th focused on the state of the industry in 1939, but the January 10th issue was a real standout. It featured detailed drawings of the layout and decks for 18 different “Notable Ships of 1939.” The ones for the RMS Mauretania really stood out. There was an illustration of her machinery as well as a cross section of the ship and several other drawings covering each of the decks. Other profile arrangements included one for the Elmdene in the March 13 issue and another for the Dona Aurora, Dona Nati, and Dona Aniceta from the February 28 issue.

"special supplement to the annual review number of "The Shipping World" Contents: Cunard White Star liner "Mauretania," Shaw Savill liner "Dominion Monarch," British India liner "Aska," N.Z. Shipping Co.'s cargo liner "Suffolk," Union-Castle cargo liner "Richmond Castle," Silver Line cargo liner "Silverlaurel," N.Z. Shipping Co.'s cargo liner "Kaipaki," Elder Dempster cargo liner "Sangara," Court Line cargo vessel "Hannington Court," Court Line Cargo vessel "Dorington Court," Norwegian cargo vessel "Gran," Adelaide S.S. Co.'s costal liner "Bundaleer," Union SSW. Co. of N.Z's costal liner "Karitane," Frederick Jones' short sea trader "Tintern Abbey," Dutch passenger liner "Oranje," American passenger liner "Panama," American cargo liner "Donald McKay," American oil tanker "Esso Copenhagen."
Notable ships of the year. Shipping World special supplement, January 10, 1940.

I did want to highlight some of the content relating to one particular ship because it was mentioned multiple times. Images of the SS America built for the United States Lines were featured in the September 25th issue, and she was also discussed in issues for June 19, May 22, and May 29.

Lastly, when I picked 1940, I picked a year that coincided with the 100th anniversary of Cunard and as this was a big anniversary, there were a number of articles on the shipping line and its history. The October 9th issue featured “A Quaker Shipowner – the Founder of Cunard.” July 10th had some items of note including “The Cunard Steamship Company; A Notable Centenary,” which featured a graphic that illustrated the steady development in size and speed, of the various Cunard vessels, as well as “The Cunard Company and the State,” which was accompanied by images of the seven chairmen that the company had then had over its history. And, there were also those drawings of Cunard’s Mauretania in the January 10th issue mentioned above.

For ship enthusiasts there really is a lot in Shipping World, but anyone interested in the Second World War would find many of the articles and statistics important. And if you want more on ships, the Business Section has created the guide, Ships and Ship Registers: Sources of Information.

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