c/o Cunard House

c/o Cunard House

88 Leadenhall Street, London EC3

Bill Ferguson

  • Records the life of a mariner in the Merchant Navy in its heyday and explores all aspects of working for a premier shipping company
  • Features the demise of British-owned companies such as the Cunard Line, P&O Line, Ellerman Line, and Furness-Withy
  • Recounts the introduction of containerisation
  • Encompasses the era after the Suez crisis


Print edition: £18.99
240 x 170mm
224 pages
60 b/w and colour illustrations
June 2024

This is an unusual maritime story in that the author looks at life from the lower echelons of a merchant ship’s company and the relationship between officers and crew, deck department and the catering staff, recounting his life and experiences with people and places in Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

The title relates to Cunard House, the headquarters of Port Line Ltd at 88 Leadenhall Street, London EC3, where all mail for the sea staff was addressed before being sent to the appropriate vessel, hence the adoption of  ‘Care of’. The building was a regular haunt for some staff going to, or returning from, a port ‘Boat’.

For the average Briton, overseas experience was mainly confined to war-time service and with those serving in both the Merchant and Royal Navy foreign places were an adventure – sights, sounds and smells would never be forgotten from their first voyage to sea. c/o Cunard House provides an intimate account of a life and career on these vessels, from the hardships to the adventure and wonder of travel.

These ships carried a small number of passengers, often older folk making the trip to or from the Antipodes for probably the last time. Several events are recorded that display the varied aspects of human life and attitudes, between passengers and crew, from the pompous to the polite! This era of shipping has long gone, but in this book the memories remain as fresh as ever.

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