Celebrating 175 Years of P&O: A History in Photos

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    P&O Cruises' Grand Event –- in which all seven ships meet in Southampton on 3 July –- is the culmination of the line's 175 years of history. The occasion will be marked with a Red Arrows' fly-by, a visit by Royalty –- HRH The Princess Royal –- and a spectacular "daytime pyrotechnics" display as each ship leaves port. --Photo appears courtesy of Andrew Sassoli-Walker.
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    Southampton has long been P&O Cruises’ home port. By 1842, the "new" Outer Dock in Southampton (shown in the drawing) was close to completion. The first two vessels to berth were Tagus and Great Liverpool, both P&O ships. The dock, now Ocean Village Marina, has steps in the northwestern corner that are still known as ‘The P&O Steps’. --Photo appears courtesy of the J&C McCutcheon collection.
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    An early atrium on P&O's Narkunda (1920-42). Spanning two decks, the mezzanine level was the music room, which can be seen in slide 8. --Photo appears courtesy of the J&C McCutcheon collection.
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    A more modern atrium is topped by Tiffany-style glassworks in the three-deck high central space onboard P&O's Oriana. --Photo appears courtesy of Andrew Sassoli-Walker.
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    Pictured is an artist's rendering of a P&O liner transiting the Suez Canal. Prior to the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, the only route from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea was an overland route across Egypt. The journey involved canal boats from Alexandria to the Nile, a river steamboat up to Cairo and an 84-mile desert crossing by horse-drawn carriages.

    --Photo appears courtesy of the J&C McCutcheon collection.
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    In addition to its use as a cruise ship, P&O's Canberra briefly saw duty as a troop carrier in Her Royal Majesty's Navy during the Falklands War in 1982. The menu in the photo is from a dinner held aboard Canberra to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the voyage to the Falklands and the ship's impending retirement. --Photo appears courtesy of Andrew Sassoli-Walker.
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    P&O's Strathnaver (1931-62) is shown while undergoing a refit in dry dock. --Photo appears courtesy of the J&C McCutcheon collection.
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    The mezzanine level music room on P&O's Narkunda (1920-42). --Photo appears courtesy of the J&C McCutcheon collection.
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    A horse-drawn cart makes its way toward P&O's Canberra. --Photo appears courtesy of P&O.
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    Pictured is a first-class single cabin on P&O's Himalaya (1949-74). --Photo appears courtesy of the Sharon Poole collection.
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    Passengers enjoy the swimming pool on P&O's Carthage (1931-61). --Photo appears courtesy of the J&C McCutcheon collection.
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    Dame Clara Butt, a well-known English contralto singer, boards P&O's SS Mongolia in Tilbury, U.K., 1907. --Photo appears courtesy of P&O.
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    Pictured is P&O's Victoria, one of the four Jubilee ships of 1887-88. The message on this postcard, sent on 26 July 1904, reads, ‘The above is a drawing of the Victoria in which I am travelling. We are due at Port Said this afternoon. Very hot. Sea rough. Love to all from Uncle Alexander.’ --Photo appears courtesy of the J&C McCutcheon collection.
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    Officers onboard P&O's Mongolia pose for a photo. The ship operated between 1923 and 1950. --Photo appears courtesy of P&O.
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    Officers on P&O's Maloja pose for an official photograph. --Photo appears courtesy of P&O.
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    The poster shown was used in advertising the first two of P&O's five Strath ships, Strathnaver (1931-62) and Strathaird (1932-61). Marketed as the ‘White Sisters’, they were the first of the large express liners to bear the white hull and buff livery familiar to P&O ships today. --Photo appears courtesy of the J&C McCutcheon collection.
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    Darcey Bussell, former principal ballerina with the Royal Ballet and Godmother to P&O Cruises' Azura, on the ship's bridge during the launch. --Photo appears courtesy of P&O.
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    Dame Shirley Bassey, Godmother to P&O Cruises' Adonia christened the ship in 2011. --Photo appears courtesy of P&O.
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    This rendering shows P&O's newest ship, which is scheduled for launch in 2015. The ship, weighing in at 141,000 tons, is being billed as Britain's first "mega-ship." The new build will reportedly cost £340 million and will have the capacity to carry 3,611 passengers. --Photo appears courtesy of Andrew Sassoli-Walker.
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