Stenographer’s hat and epaulettes

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This uniform hat and epaulettes belonged to Valerie Taylor, who worked as a stenographer on board Canadian Pacific passenger ships Empress of Britain and Empress of England in the 1950-60s.  

As a stenographer Valerie was kept very busy during a voyage, working for the company but also being available for hire by passengers wanting to conduct business during their travels. She was part of a small team reporting to the Senior Stenographer (later re-named Lady Purser), providing typing and short-hand services for officers on board. Working within the Pursers department (effectively the hotel department), they were responsible for producing crew lists and passenger lists, and would be called on to perform additional duties such as checking passports as passengers embarked or disembarked. 

During the 20th century, the type of seafarers on board passenger ships changed a great deal. As ship technology continued to advance, the number of crew maintaining the liners fell, and there was a huge growth in crew employed to look after the passengers.

This seafaring job wasn’t represented in our object collections until this acquisition so it is an important addition for us.

The hat and epaulettes, which are not currently on display, are part of the Maritime History collection at Merseyside Maritime Museum.

  • Accession numbers MMM.2018.1.1-1.2.2

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