From humble beginnings in the 1830s, The Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company grew to dominate British mercantile shipping for much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Initially, the company's paddle steamers carried Her Majesty's Mail to the Iberian Peninsula, as the name implies, but over time P&O extended its routes across the Mediterranean and onwards to the Middle East, Far East and Australasia. Besides the mail, P&O liners carried bullion, silk, tea, and even opium as well as passengers.
The company came to represent the British Empire at sea - but as the Empire waned and British travellers took to the air, so a golden age of travelling by sea came to an end. Ruth Artmonsky here delves into the P&O Heritage Collection to take a nostalgic glance astern at all those who travelled P&O.