This comprehensive little book, produced by the Southampton Isle of Wight and South of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, offers a fascinating snapshot of the south coast of England in the 1930s, including maps, local history, travel information, details of hotels, useful shops, schools, and places of entertainment, all accompanied by advertisements of every kind. It would be of enormous interest to anyone living in the area, as many of the photos feature well-known landmarks, which may (or may not) have altered in the intervening 80 years or so. One picture is of the company's Steam Tug 'Hector' which assisted HMS 'Titanic' at the start of her maiden voyage.
Southampton Isle of Wight and South of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Company Limited (now 'Red Funnel') is a ferry company that has carried passengers, vehicles and freight between the English mainland and the Isle of Wight since 1820, when interested parties in Cowes formed a company to provide transport from the Isle to Southanmpton. In 1826, a similar company was formed in Southampton, and by the following year the two companies had started co-ordinating their operations. By 1861, the merged company was created, its name remaining the longest registered in the UK. The shortened name 'Red Funnel' was adopted after 1935 when all the company ships had a black-topped red funnel. The longer name remains the company's formal name.
Our book is in excellent condition for its age, bound in card covers adorned with a collage of photographs, titles and coloured illustration on the front, and a single advertisement for golfing shoes on the back. There a few signs of external wear (softening and a little loss at top & bottom of the spine, and a slight grubbiness generally), and inside, the stitched binding is firm with no loose pages. A folding street plan of Bournemouth, and a chart showing the Dorset coast, are both present and complete. All pages are clean and bright. Definitely one of the local historian or collector!