Monday, 20 May 2019

Canadian Pacific Steamships Limited Fonds - Part 1

Did an ancestor, or maybe you, travel to Canada on a Canadian Pacific ship? I did, in October 1966, on the Empress of Canada so I was curious to find out what information the National Museum of Science and Technology has in 47.57 metres of textual records and other materials about Canadian Pacific Steamships Limited.
The records date from just before the creation of Canadian Pacific’s steamship services in 1883 to the late 1990s. The fonds includes records showing the management of the CPS and its precursors but also reports from individual voyages of different vessels, all arranged into five series: CPS-1) Business and Operations; CPS-2) Promotional Materials; CPS-3) Voyage Reports and Immigration Records; CPS-4) Musk Collection and CPS-5) Ledgers and Movement Books.
The Museum's Library & Archives Reading Room will be closed to the public from June 2019 to February 2020 so I rushed to consult material for my voyage.
The movement book for 1996 included the page shown. I recall boarding in Liverpool on the afternoon on the 18th and anchoring off Greenock the next day.  Passing Inishtrahull must have been at night. A few days later I was up in the late evening to see the light of Belle Isle. We cleared customs and immigration in Quebec City before the ship continued to Montreal arriving the next morning.
I found much more in the Voyage Report. Embarkation of 36 First Class and 758 Tourist Class passengers started at 13:45 and ended at 16:30 at Liverpool. Another 4 First Class and 231Tourist Class passengers joined at Greenock.
There's a lot of technical information on cargo and fuel, officers by name and crew numbers. The Chief Engineer's Report mentioned "Following a period of heavy weather ..." — nice confirmation of conditions that saw me two days in my bunk trying not to be sick, despite stabilizers that were supposed to reduce a 20-degree roll to six degrees.
Sadly there was no passenger list for my voyage nor any that year. I'm told there are quite a few gaps — you may be lucky. However, for ten passengers on my voyage who had minor accidents — Myznak, Dyke, Zehnen, Shadforth, Haber, Campbell, Deal, Shukla, Corder and Carlson — there's mention of their destination and a brief description of the incident.
Find out more about this collection at www.archeion.ca/canada-science-and-technology-museum-library-and-archives/ or contact reproductions@ingeniumcanada.org/.

1 comment:

Pat Jeffs said...

Well, that brought back memories! I travelled on the "Empress of England" in the opposite direction in August 1965. Some people may think that emigration only occurs from east to west, but I have lived on this side of the pond ever since.

The week was not without its adventures. We had a stowaway. I wonder what happened to him.

/cheers