Collectables – Remuera Bell

IMG_0089IMG_0091This rather nice souvenir ship’s bell was certainly made between 1911 (when the Remuera launched), and 1940, and at a guess I would say it is 1930s or perhaps a little earlier. I am confident that it is before 1940 because that is when the Remuera was torpedoed by aircraft off Scotland (on 26th August) and sunk. She had been sailing as part of a large convoy.

IMG_0090 IMG_0092The following quote is from Ordeal by Sea – The New Zealand Shipping Company in The Second World War 1939-1945 by Sydney D. Waters (published 1949):

On her last voyage, the Remuera sailed from Wellington on 12 July 1940 for London, with one of the largest cargoes she had carried during her long career but without passengers. … At about 9.15 a.m. on 26 August, the convoy was crossing the entrance to Moray Firth and was about fifteen miles north of Peterhead, when the first attack was made by a single German aircraft, one of whose bombs missed the stern of the Remuera by about thirty yards. At 9.35 a.m., an attack was carried out by torpedo-carrying aircraft off Kinnaird Head. The Remuera opened fire on one aircraft but its torpedo struck her on the port side.

Donate-LemonSouvenirs like this were sold by the ship’s barber. The printed passenger list for the 13th October, 1938 voyage of the Rangitata explained that,

“An experienced barber is carried for the convenience of passengers. A scale of charges for hair-dressing &c., and a price list for certain articles has been approved by the Company and will be found posted up in the Barber’s Shop. The barber is authorised to stock souvenirs, &c., on his own account – the price of which is not controlled by the Company.”

Hairdressing-Saloon

Henry-Keyse-by-Jennifer-Toombs

Henry Keyse, the barber of the Remuera, painted by Jennifer Toombs

This advertising card (above), known to be in use during a 1926 Remuera voyage, shows the large range of products stocked in the Hairdressing Saloon, even including ‘materials for fancy dress’, which would have been very useful for the passengers’ entertainment on the long voyage.

It is an extremely sturdy metal item that has lasted well for more than 75 years. I would be interested to see how many of today’s souvenirs survive in years to come.

Remuera-(from-1923-album)

The Remuera, from a 1923 photo album (probably a real photo postcard)

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