Director’s Diary: So huge, so beautiful – how classic ocean liners steamed into our hearts

At the V&A a new exhibition Ocean Liners: Speed and Style reminds us that Isambard Kingdom Brunel launched the first modern cruise liner 160 years ago this week. Today every yard in the world has a cruise liner on the order books – if it can – but the first was built and launched here on the Isle of Dogs. The launch ramps are now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, because this is the birthplace of modern shipbuilding. It is also the beginning of today’s multi million dollar business: luxury cruising. Brunel’s ‘Great Babe’ was designed to carry 4,000 passengers in unspeakable luxury, which is ten times more than his earlier ship SS Great Britain. SS Great Eastern was a ship described as ‘four 5 star hotels joined together’. Ian Jack reviews the exhibition in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/global/commentisfree/2018/feb/03/beautiful-ocean-liners-heyday-glamour-victoria-albert-exhibition-shipbuilding?CMP=share_btn_link

So huge, so beautiful: how classic ocean liners steamed into our hearts. Ironically the first charter for Brunel’s luxury cruise liner was as troop ship in 1861, when an anxious government despatched 2144 soldiers to Canada to shore up the border during the American Civil War. This beautiful exhibition on luxury cruising is sponsored by Viking, re-branded since the glory days of the eighth century:

a furore normannorum libera nos, domine 

On Thursday we are proud to host a book launch for Bloomsbury. Author Roma Argawal is a chartered structural engineer based in London and has worked on several major engineering projects, including the Shard. In her book BUILT she takes a unique look at how construction has evolved from the mud huts of our ancestors to towers of steel that reach into the sky.  Agrawal is also an active diversity campaigner, championing women in engineering. http://www.romatheengineer.com/showpage.php?pagename=hometalk

On Saturday the Midnight Apothecary returns to the Tunnel of Love with cocktails and love potions for a Valentine’s Special. Torch songs and love from the Nathan Osgood trio.

This week we have the usual boat trips and river walks and calendar for the week is below:

Sunday 4th Feb

10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks

10.40 riverside walk from Bermondsey tube offered in partnership with London Walks

12.00 Choirs competition in Shaft

Monday 5th Feb

10.40 riverside walk from Bermondsey tube offered in partnership with London Walks

Tuesday 6th Feb

10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks

Wednesday 7th Feb

10.00 Princess May School with Thames Explorer Trust

10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks

12.00 Rosemary Lay group

18.15 riverside walk from Bermondsey tube offered in partnership with London Walks

Thursday 8th Feb

10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks

18.00 Book Launch Roma the Engineer

Friday 9th Feb

10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks

Saturday 10th Feb

10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks and director’s lunch at The Tunnel Club (Mayflower pub, upper room)

18.00 Tunnel of Love Valentine’s Special with Midnight Apothecary

 

 

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