Tuesday 9 March 2010

Vintage ferries

How realistic is that charming cross-channel ferry on the ceramic map at Victoria Station? A vintage poscard of the ferry Dinard, which sailed the route from Southampton to St Malo in Brittany, shows that it really was very similar to the map illustration.

In fact, the steamer on the postcard was effectively owned by the same company as the steamer chugging down the map. Dinard came into service in 1924, a year after the Southern Railway had been formed by the merger of several companies including the London, Brighton and South Coast whose map featured our first steamer. It was built by William Denny & Bros of Dunbarton for the Southern Railway Company and could carry 1500 passengers. The ferry crossings went on until 1960, interrupted only by World War II when it became a hospital ship and participated in the Dunkirk evacuations. In 1946, it was converted to a car ferry with a capacity of 900 passengers and 80 cars, the latter loaded and unloaded by crane. Finally, it was sold to a Finnish company before being withdrawn from service altogether in 1970.


Adam said...

A very elegant looking ship, but judging from the trips I've taken on that route, it must have provided some rough rides sometimes!

By the way (and speaking again of 1924), I found some more information on the food that the British Olympic team rejected in Paris in favour of their own chef. Here is a typical daily menu, with wine at lunch and dinner!

"Petit déjeuner. — Café au lait ou chocolat ou thé avec pain, beurre et confitures ou deux oeufs au jambon avec thé.

Repas du midi. — I Hors d’oeuvre, — I poisson, ou I entrée, ou I oeuf, — I plat de viande, — I légume, — fromage,—- fruit. — ½ bouteille de vin rouge ou blanc, ou I canette de bière, ou ½ bouteille d’eau minérale, ou du café au lait ou du thé. — une tasse café.

Repas du soir. — I potage, — I entrée, — I plat de viande, — I légume, — I entremets, — desserts. — Boisson comme au repas de midi. — I tasse d’infusion"

. said...

But why Dinard? Must be some breton connection for you to dig into!

CarolineLD said...

Transpontine, I imagine Dinard because it was the nearest fashionable resort to St Malo (they're just across the Rance estuary from each other) so it would be the ultimate destination for many of the passengers. Looking at the list of Southern Railway ship names on Wikipedia, they were fond of place names (or not very imaginative!). There was also a Brighton, Canterbury, Arromanches, etc - and a Brittany.

Adam, that menu looks both substantial and alcoholic! It's sad to think of the British team saying 'Actually, we'd prefer over-boiled vegetables and over-cooked meat, thank you'.