Cunard liners mark 175th anniversary in Liverpool

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionAlison Freeman reports on ''a river dance of regal proportions''

Three famous ocean liners have sailed together in Liverpool for the first time to mark Cunard's 175th anniversary.

The Queen Mary 2, the Queen Victoria and the Queen Elizabeth saluted the city where Samuel Cunard began his transatlantic line in 1840.

Thousands of people lined the River Mersey to watch the "three queens" perform a synchronised sailing display.

As the fleet completed its manoeuvres, the Red Arrows performed a fly-past.

Captain Christopher Wells, who was at the helm of the Queen Mary 2, said it was a "very special weekend".

"It allows us to celebrate our anniversary in the city where the company was founded.

"To have that celebration is very important not only to us, but also to the city," he said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The three Cunard Queens sailed on the River Mersey
Image copyright
Image caption Crowds gathered at Crosby Beach
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption As the fleet completed its manoeuvres, the Red Arrows performed a fly-past
Image copyright PA
Image caption The event celebrates the famous shipping line's formation 175 years ago in its original home port
Image copyright
Image caption The display was part of a three-day celebration

The display was part of a three-day celebration, which ends on Tuesday, marking the company's first transatlantic crossing from Liverpool.

Sir Samuel Cunard, who founded the service, sailed aboard the RMS Britannia to Boston on its maiden voyage on 4 July 1840.

The Cunard company revolutionised travel in the 19th Century with its steam ships which added speed and safety to journeys which had previously been made on less reliable sailing ships.

By the early part of the 20th Century, the company's "big three" liners - Mauretania, Berengaria and Aquitania - were the primary means of passenger transport across the Atlantic

The shipping company moved its headquarters from the Cunard Building on Liverpool's waterfront to Southampton in 1965.

Cunard at 175: Facts and figures

  • Since the first scheduled service across the Atlantic, Cunard ships have crossed and re-crossed the Atlantic, in peace and war, without fail every year
  • More than 109,000 bottles of red wine are consumed every year on board Queen Victoria
  • The annual sugar consumption on Queen Mary 2 is enough to make eight million scones

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites