With the first cruise liner of the season visiting Liverpool this week and the centenary of the Titanic’s sinking next week, I’ve gone for a shipping theme today.

I love this photo of Mauretania II being launched in 1938, because it really shows the epic scale – not just of the ship, but of the shipbuilding industry in the area at the time. Just look at those crowds.

You can see people climbing up the metal structure in the lower left hand side of the photo and sitting on top of cars to get a better look, using this zoomify feature:

The photograph is from the fantastic Stewart Bale collection held at the Maritime Archives and Library, at Merseyside Maritime Museum.

The 195,445 negatives in the collection are from the family run company Stewart Bale Ltd, which was originally an advertising and printing firm set up by Herbert Stewart Bale in 1899.

The company began to specialise in photography when Herbert brought his son Edward in to meet their demands for good quality images. Read more about them and see more of the stunning photos of 20th century Liverpool in the collection on the Merseyside Maritime Museum’s website.

Photograph copyright National Museums Liverpool

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