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Sport and the sea

Online exhibition

Sport has always been important to merchant seafarers and their passengers. Many of the merchant ships had their own sports teams. The Maritime Archives and Library has a selection of photos of teams from liners including Lusitania, Duchess of Richmond and Empress of Canada.

Select each thumbnail below to see the full image.

'HMS Conway's Athletics team, Summer term, 1955. 'HMS Conway' was a training ship moored in the Mersey, which produced future officers of the Merchant Navy. Sport featured prominently in their extra-curricular activities. (Reference: D/CON/17/2/5) Photograph of the of 'HMS Conway' racing boat crew after their victory in the 'Conway' and 'Worcester' boat race on the Mersey in June 1899.  The 'Worcester 'was a training ship moored in the Thames. The race was an annual event, held alternately on the Mersey and the Thames. (Reference: D/CON/17/3/4) 'HMS Conway' gig rowing team on the deck of the Conway c1936 (Reference: D/CON/18/2/6) 'HMS Conway' boxing team c1943/44 (Reference: DX/897) Boxing match on the emigrant ship, 'SS Limerick', c1910. Before shipping companies began to provide organised programmes of events for their passengers, the emigrants and crew often arranged their own entertainment on the voyage. (Reference: DX/1279) Cover and back page of 'Athletic and Social life among the crew of a Giant Cunarder', Cunard leaflet advertising staff sports and social clubs on board ship. With photographs of crew training in a boxing ring, cups won in various sports and a three men from the Mauretania's Concert Troupe, one dressed as a woman. (Reference: DX/2410) The football team of 'SS Persic', White Star Line c1902 (Reference: DX/1298) The football team of the Canadian Pacific liner, 'SS Duchess of Richmond' with the Mercantile Marine football trophy, 1931. (Reference: SAS/23A/12/1) Invitation to the Captain of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company vessel 'MV Loreto' to a football match between the 'Loreto's football team and the 'Las Habas' Shipyard in Valparaiso, Chile. (Document in Spanish, translated below). (Reference: PSNC/Box 22/31) Photograph from Anchor Line Brochure, c1930.  The gymnasiums on the Anchor Line ships 'Cilacia' and 'Circassia' offered passengers access to some of the Olympic sports, such as fencing, rowing, weight lifting, cycling and horse riding, albeit on a mechanical horse. (Reference: SAS/33F/1/4) Image from a leaflet for the Sitmar Line, showing passengers enjoying a game of deck tennis, c1971. (References: DX/1072)

Translation of Spanish invitation

To Mr P.L. Hockey. Captain of the Motor vessel S.M.B. Loreto

The Las Habas Shipyard sports club has the great honour of inviting you to the great international football match to be played on Saturday 27 [November] at 16.30 hours at the Stadium de Playa Ancha Valparaiso, with the football team formed by the crew of Motor Vessel Loreto which will be played for the beautiful trophy donated by the Las Habas Shipyard Company