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Exercising on the BRITANNIA en route to Australia

Date: late 19th century
Overall: 44 x 106 x 1 mm
Medium: Glass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Glass slide
Object No: 00046942

User Terms

    This glass slide shows a female passenger using a Sandow exercise machine on the deck of RMS BRITANNIA to pass the time. Vessels such as RMS BRITANNIA were equipped with exercise equipment, libraries, musical instruments and promenade areas to help pass the time on long voyages.
    SignificanceThis glass slide provides a visual representation of physical and social interaction on the long sea voyage to Australia. Although the sea voyage from England to Australia had been greatly reduced from over 150 days at the beginning of the 19th century to less than 80 in 1900 - passengers still faced many long days at sea.
    HistoryRMS BRITANNIA along with RMS VICTORIA was built in 1887 to celebrate the 50th Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria and the Peninsular and Orient Steam Navigation Company (P&O). Along with their sister ships OCEANA and ARCADIA which were built in 1888, the four vessels at 6,500 gross tons were the largest ships in the company's fleet. Capable of 16 knots the four luxury auxiliary steamers costs over 200,000 pounds each and could carry 250 first class and 160 second class passengers along with nearly 4,000 tons of cargo.

    RMS BRITANNIA was considered to be one of the most luxurious vessels afloat and its owners P&O specifically advertised it would only ever carry first and second class passengers to the Australian colonies. P&O apparently kept their word and the passengers' lists of the RMS BRITANNIA were frequently published in the papers of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth noting the arrival of Bishops, well-heeled explorers, dignitaries, colonial governors, premiers and nobility to the colonies.

    BRITANNIA and the other three Jubilee vessels, the VICTORIA, OCEANIA and ARCADIA dominated up-market voyages to Australia until about 1910 when the four vessels were gradually replaced with faster larger steam ships.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Glass slide for a Richard Verascope, taken on board the BRITANNIA en route to Australia

    Web title: Exercising on the BRITANNIA en route to Australia

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