From its first inception in the 1830s, P&O spent many decades building a business out of mail services and trade routes. By 1904, the shipping giant made its first step into the world of pleasure cruising. They transformed old mail boats into luxurious vessels for the wealthy upper classes to travel to far and exotic locations.
Like much of the country, P&O recovered slowly from the effects of the First World War. However the company continued to work positively, acquiring smaller shipping lines and opening new booking offices in London’s West End. By the mid-1920s, P&O had become the largest shipping company in the world. During this decade of innovation, P&O turned turbo-electric, give much more economical results.
Just as they’d found their feet, P&O was preparing for war again. Ships and staff were moved out of London to Glasgow and Liverpool, and photographers started creating copes of all of the company’s the vital records, contracts and files. Within a month of the declaration of war, the entire passenger fleet had been requisitioned by the War Office.
With the introduction of cheaper, shorter routes, P&O would revolutionise the family holiday for all, while still venturing into other industries. New types of ships, and a new Chairman in Sir Donald Anderson, allowed the company to enter new realms of travel, freight forwarding and the fuel industry. The latter saw P&O supplying the gas and oil rigs of the North Sea from a fleet of small ships.
The 1980s heralded a new era for P&O, with the introduction of the Larne-Cairnryan, Hull-Rotterdam and Hull-Zeebrugge routes, unlocking popular European destinations to the masses.
Tradition lies at the heart of Wallonia, from its Renaissance-style architecture right down to its rich local produce. The French-speaking region of Belgium may not be a well-known holiday destination, but with a range of activities on offer, it’s a true hidden gem that oozes old world charm. With multiple museums, historic sites and more than 1,500 castles to explore, you’ll find plenty to pack in, and all in a picturesque countryside setting.
Reminders of the Great War are present all along the Western Front. Trench lines can be seen for miles across the fields, while once beautifully thick woodlands remain flattened since the fighting and ponds have appeared in the craters left by shells. A visit to the First World War battlefields makes for a stark reminder of those lost in battle and is a moving way to mark Remembrance Day. Here’s our guide to the best routes for a World War I battlefield tour.