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Moustaches from the past

Online exhibition

album title page with illustrations of ships

The beautifully drawn title page of the De Wolf album. reference DX/2243

In this online exhibition, originally launched to encourage, and possibly intimidate, participants in the Movember |charity moustache growing month, the Maritime Archives and Library |presents inspirational images from our extensive collection of men with fantastic facial hair.

While the Victorians favoured the full beard, moustache and side whiskers combination, with the coming of the 20th century facial hair became more controlled and moustaches were the order of the day.

These images are some examples within our collections of elegantly turned out men who embraced the moustache and wore it with pride - and could shave at sea in a gale. 

For 2013 we added some new moustaches which are all from the same book, a volume of photographs of members of the Sailing Ship Mutual Insurance Associations of Liverpool. The album was presented to John Starr De Wolf, a shipbroker for Charles E De Wolf & Company of Tower Buildings, Water Street, Liverpool, to mark his retirement from business in 1915.

There is no picture of Mr De Wolf in the album, so we don’t know if he was moustached or not, but plenty of his contemporaries were. Quite what he made of his gift is not recorded, but the album was gifted to us by the descendent of a member of the Association in 2004 (reference DX/2243).

Moustaches from the De Wolf album

W Roberts, possibly William Roberts, shipbroker and forwarding merchant, The Albany, Oldhall Street, Liverpool. Album reference DX/2243 Edwin A Beazley, shipowner and shipbroker of Gracie, Beazley & Company, Liverpool. Album reference DX/2243 Frank Japp of Japp, Hatch & Company Limited, shipbrokers, shipowners, coal exporters and general merchants and forwarding agents, Liverpool and London. Album reference DX/2243 Henry F Fernie, shipowner of Henry F Fernie & Sons, Rumford Street, Liverpool. Album reference DX/2243 RJ Rowat, shipowner of the Inverkip Steamship Company Limited, Glasgow. Album reference DX/2243 James A Young.  Some of the photographs in the album have produced a mirror image on the opposite page as, over time, the chemicals in the photographic print have reacted with the paper. Album reference DX/2243

Select each thumbnail to see the full image.

More moustaches

Photograph of Captain Moore, 'Howth Head', Ulster Steamship Company, 1907. The magnificently moustached Captain Moore is photographed with one hand on the ship's telegraph, which was used to communicate orders to the engine room.  The 'Howth Head' was sunk during the First World War on 19th April 1917 by U-60 with the loss of two lives.  We do not know if Captain Moore was still serving onboard at the time. (Reference: PHOSAS/PA1906-6) Photograph of Alfred James Meek, seafarer and master. Meek worked for Harrison Line and was awarded an OBE and King's Commendation for Meritorious Service in the Merchant Navy for his actions during the Second World War. Meek was captain of 'Novelist' which was frequently attacked when delivering military supplies to the Allied Armies in French North Africa. He was described as fighting with 'ferocious enthusiasm' throughout these attacks. Meek was born in 1881, retired after the war and died in 1957. (Reference: DX/2412) Photograph of William C Mylechreest, pilot. Pilots would board ships to take charge of navigation through the complex river channels and dock system. Mylechreest was born in 1866 and joined the pilot service as an apprentice in 1885 after several years at sea. He gained his full pilot licence in 1895. In 1909 he was made an appropriated pilot of Manchester Liners Limited, working on vessels belonging to that company in preference to any other pilot. He died in October 1918. (Reference: D/MORR/4/1/1) Photograph of Lusitania Engineers' Football Team, Winners of the Phillip's Challenge Cup 1911-12. There are several moustaches amongst this fine looking group of men, with Mr Kirkwood, Mr Rowlands and Mr Allan sporting particularly fine examples.  Unfortunately W T Smith and P R Duncan were on board the Lusitania when it was torpedoed in 1915 and neither man survived. (Reference: PR/551) Photograph of an employee of Clover, Clayton & Company, Liverpool and Birkenhead, c1920. We don't know the identity of this smart and elegant gentleman, but the photograph was one of a number of images of the staff of Clover, Clayton & Company that were donated to us recently.  The company were shipbuilders and ship repairers, and the firm was founded in 1828 on the site of the Albert Dock.  The rest of the donated photographs are of un-moustached staff football teams or company trips to Cunningham's Holiday Camp on the Isle of Man. (Reference: PR/606) Photograph of two ship's cooks. The caption on the back of the photograph only gives the name of the cook without the moustache - 'Harry Cave, Assistant cook, 'Haverford West', 1903'. The talent and dedication of ship's cooks made a big difference to life on board, although on many cargo vessels even good cooks struggled to produce appetising meals from limited amounts of poor quality ingredients. (Reference: PR/183) Photograph of William Owen Jones, seafarer and master. Jones worked for Harrison Line and was serving as second mate on 'Governor' when it was sunk by the German raider 'Möwe' on 14th March 1917. The wounded Jones and the rest of the surviving crew were taken prisoner and interned in Germany. Jones retired in 1937 and died in 1952 at the age of 68. (Reference: BHAR13-ALBUM49) Photograph of Maddox's Cunard Goteborg Hotel, Great George Square, Liverpool, c1922.  There are several moustaches on show in this photograph of emigrants waiting to board Cunard Line motor coaches to take them safely to their vessel.  Although this scan may not do it justice, the original photograph was taken by the great Liverpool commercial photography firm Stewart Bale and is rich with detail.  Something out of shot has distracted the children at the front to make them turn away from the camera. (Reference: PR/614) Image detail from the obituary of Leonard H Peskett OBE, in the Cunard Staff Magazine, April 1924. Peskett worked for Cunard for 40 years, and at the time of his death was Cunard's naval architect, head of the department responsible for the design of vessels. Ship design encompassed many aspects, from engines to passenger accommodation. Peskett oversaw the construction of many famous vessels including 'Lusitania', 'Mauretania' and 'Aquitania', noted for their graceful profiles and artistic interiors. (Reference: Library journals, Cunard Staff Magazine, April 1924) Photograph of officers and managers of vessel 'Indian', F Leyland & Company Ltd, the majority of them sporting fine moustaches. This vessel, built in 1900, was one of many Leyland Line vessels with a name ending in 'ian'. The company ran passenger services in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean. 'Indian' was scrapped in 1923. (Reference: PR/337) Photograph of Captain James Robert Rae and his wife on board 'City of Corinth'. The couple met when Mrs Rae's brother served as a ship's doctor, as he had been encouraged to go to sea with the hope of improving his health. Rae later became Commodore of the City Line and was knighted in 1920. He died in 1928. (Reference: DX1507) 'Changes in management of Compagnie Nord Atlantique', Cunard Staff Magazine, April 1923. Compagnie Nord Atlantique were agents for Cunard based in Paris, encouraging French passengers to sail with Cunard, especially from Cherbourg. The story reports the retirement of Antoni Drouard after 30 years, to be replaced by R Levaique, a Frenchman, and HG Lawson, originally from Liverpool. All three men are proud moustache wearers. (Reference: Library journals, Cunard Staff Magazine, April 1923) Photograph of George Wake, photographer, who emigrated to the USA from Liverpool between 1900 and 1914. Between 1830 and 1930 more than nine million emigrants sailed from Liverpool bound for a new life in the 'New World' countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia. (Reference: PHOSAS/PEM/31) Image of Lieutenant-Colonel Henderson, Chief Commissioner of Metropolitan Police, London, from the Illustrated London News 13 March 1869. This image is included to give our moustache growers some style suggestions, as it is slightly off topic for a Maritime Museum.  We hold several cuttings from the wonderful Illustrated London News and in between the maritime stories there are plenty of interesting news and images.  There is a maritime link to Henderson as he spent many years as head of the Fremantle penal colony in Western Australia and sailed there on the ship Scindian in 1850.  (Reference: DX/2539/125) Image of His Majesty William II, King of Prussia and German Emperor, from the Illustrated London News 10 August 1889. An example of Imperial German style. Kaiser Wilhelm, grandson of Queen Victoria, is given a gushing biography in the accompanying article in this edition of the Illustrated London News. The tone would be very different later as the outbreak of the First World War approached. Even in 1889 the newspaper reports that the King arrived with a squadron of ships and was greeted by the British fleet at Spithead. In 1898 the Germans began to build up their navy and the subsequent arms race with the British was one cause of the war. (Reference: DX/2539/178)

Select each thumbnail to see the full image.