The fascinating past of P&O Ferries told in new book

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 6 Feb 2017

The history of one of Hull's biggest companies is due to feature in a new book.

P&O 180 charts the almost 200-year history of the internationally renowned shipping company, including its popular Hull to Rotterdam route.

The book, published by Lily Publications, will be released this week to mark the company's 180th birthday.

P&O began operating out of Hull in 1965 in a venture many critics said wouldn't last – yet only last month P&O announced a City of Culture themed mini cruise from Hull to both Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

And in November the company confirmed it was investing £8m upgrading the Pride of York and Pride of Bruges – which sail the Hull to Zeebrugge route.

Pride of York in Zeebrugge

Janette Bell, managing director of P&O Ferries, said: "The story of how the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company began life delivering mail on behalf of the Government to Spain and Portugal and within a few decades had become one of the most celebrated and best known shipping lines in the world deserves to be retold as P&O celebrates its 180th anniversary this year.

"The company's founders included two titans of Victorian business, a shipbroker called Brodie McGhie Willcox and his partner Arthur Anderson, whose journey from curing fish on the beaches of his native Shetland Islands to Managing Director of P&O is one of the great rags to riches stories of the nineteenth century.

"Willcox and Anderson expanded P&O's services to the Mediterranean, Egypt and India. By the 1860s, the company was also running services to China, Singapore and Australia. It is no exaggeration to say that the mail service was considered one of the wonders of its age, providing a lifeline to home for the many Britons working overseas, often in the most far-flung corners of the world.

"P&O became a British institution in times of both peace and war, providing vital tonnage for World War One, World War Two and more recently the Falklands War. Today, the services which P&O Ferries run to France, Holland, Belgium and Ireland cover many of the same routes which the company's ships have traversed over the last 180 years."

P&O 180 - the history of P&O Ferries can be ordered online.

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