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Samuel Cunard







Sir Samuel Cunard, 1st Baronet was a British shipping magnate, born at Halifax, Nova Scotia, who founded the Cunard Line. He was the son of a master carpenter and timber merchant who had fled the American Revolution and settled in Halifax.


Born: November 21, 1787, Halifax


Died: April 28, 1865, London


Parents: Abraham Cunard



Children: Edward Cunard





Samuel Cunard was a civil engineer who came to Britain to operate the first mail service using steamships between the UK and America.  He was a highly successful entrepreneur who had been a Captain in the Halifax Regiment of militia in Canada.



In 1839 he submitted a bid to the British government to undertake a regular mail service by steamship across the North Atlantic from Liverpool to Halifax, Qu├ębec and Boston Massachusetts, for £55 000 annually for 10 years. The bid was successful, and in the same year Cunard, with associates in Glasgow and Liverpool, established the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, the ancestor of the Cunard Line.



Britannia Cunards first Ship
The company’s first steamship, the Britannia, sailed from Liverpool to Boston Massachusetts in 1840, on board were Samuel Cunard and 63 other passengers,
this journey was to mark the beginning of a regular passenger and cargo service.
Built in 1840 Britannia was Cunard’s first purpose built Atlantic liner, in terms of passenger accommodation and speed she was way ahead of her competitors, but this was not without its disadvantages. Being built for speed the noise of her engines and the smoke belching from her funnel were not the most pleasant of things for her passengers to endure. However, on the plus side, compared with other vessels her passenger accommodation was considered luxurious with small cabins, neatly appointed and a dining saloon to accommodate 115 passengers. Cows were carried on the deck of the ship to ensure that fresh milk was available.



Author Charles Dickens and his wife travelled with Cunard on a voyage from Liverpool to Boston USA in 1842, and was not enamoured of the accomodation, in his American notes he wrote “Nothing smaller for sleeping in was ever made, than a coffin” So it would appear his first taste of travelling in a ships cabin was not one of his greatest experiences.






RMS Queen Mary at Long Beach

Cunard went on to absorb Canadian Northern steamships and the White Star Line, owners of the ill fated Titanic. Cunard was the driving force behind the Atlantic passenger trade with some of the world’s greatest and most famous liners, such as the RMS Queen Elizabeth 1939-1968 and the RMS Queen Mary launched on 26th September 1934 and in service until 9th December 1967.






RMS Queen Elizabeth




In 1859 Samuel Cunard was created a baronet by Queen Victoria.
He was married to Susan, daughter of William Duffus (on 4 February 1815; she died 23 January 1828) by whom he had nine children. He died in 1865 and was succeeded in the business by his son Sir Edward Cunard, 2nd baronet. His name lives on today in the Cunard Line, now a prestigious branch of the Carnival Line cruise empire.




The Cunard fleet, during the lifetime of Samuel Cunard, all built for Cunard unless otherwise indicated, consisted of the following ships in order of acquisition:

1840–1865


Ship
Built
In service for Cunard
Type
Tonnage
Notes
Unicorn
1836
1840–1846
wood-paddler
650 GRT
coastal steamer purchased for Montreal service, sold 1846
1840
1840–1849
wood-paddler
1,150 GRT
Eastbound record holder, sold to North German Navy 1849
1840
1840–1849
wood-paddler
1,150 GRT
sold to North German Navy 1849
1840
1840–1850
wood-paddler
1,150 GRT
sold to Spanish Navy 1850
1841
1841–1843
wood-paddler
1,150 GRT
Blue Riband, wrecked 1843 without loss of life
1843
1843–1850
wood-paddler
1,400 GRT
Eastbound record holder, sold to Spanish Navy 1850
1845
1845–1860
wood-paddler
1,400 GRT
Blue Riband, sold to Italian owners 1860
1848
1848–1863
wood-paddler
1,850 GRT
Blue Riband, sold 1863 and converted to sail
1848
1848–1866
wood-paddler
1,850 GRT
sold 1866 and converted to sail
1848
1848–1867
wood-paddler
1,850 GRT
Blue Riband, sold 1867
1848
1848–1866
wood-paddler
1,850 GRT
Eastbound record holder, sold 1866 and converted to sail
1850
1850–1868
wood-paddler
2,250 GRT
Blue Riband, sold 1868
1850
1850–1868
wood-paddler
2,250 GRT
sold 1868
Arabia
1852
1852–1864
wood-paddler
2,400 GRT
sold 1864 and converted to sail
Andes
1852
1852–1859
iron-screw
1,400 GRT
sold to Spanish Government 1859
Alps
1853
1853–1859
iron-screw
1,400 GRT
sold to Spanish Government 1859
Jura
1854
1854–1860
iron-screw
2,200 GRT
sold to Allan Line 1860
Etna
1855
1855–1860
iron-screw
2,200 GRT
sold to Inman Line 1860
1856
1856–1869
iron-paddler
3,300 GRT
Blue Riband, taken out of service 1868 and scrapped 1872
Australian
1857
1860–1876
iron-screw
2,700 GRT
built for other owners, sold 1876
China
1862
1862–1880
iron-screw
2,550 GRT
sold to Spanish owners 1880
1862
1864–1878
iron-paddler
3,850 GRT
Blue Riband, sold 1878 and converted to cable layer
Cuba
1864
1865–1876
iron-screw
2,700 GRT
sold 1876 and converted to sail
1865
1865–1878
iron-screw
2,700 GRT
sold 1878 to Red Star Line, and renamed "Zeeland"




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