Ben Line

Ben LineWhen we first started to make this series of “The Great Liners”, I only ever thought we just might be fortunate enough to find rare film of the great ocean liners such as Cunard’s Queen Mary and Caronia, or P&O’s Chusan or Arcadia. So when we actually discover rare film of the smaller cargo ships, it really is a very enjoyable experience.

Such was the moment when we came across rare film of those magnificent Ben Line ships, a company that was once so famous and yet now, almost lost into the obscurity of our once proud but all but forgotten, maritime glory.

Ben Line was Scottish of course, but there ships operated from Ports all around the UK, on voyages that took them to the Far East on one of the most exciting voyages of them all.

They had a large fleet of great ships, many of them operating from London’s Royal Victoria Docks, where their pale yellow funnels could always be seen, towering above the quaysides and warehouses.

Ben LineOnboard, they had expensively wood lined bulkheads, which really gave them a touch of luxury splendour, especially for a cargo ship, although they could carry up to a dozen passengers on those voyages.

It’s amazing how those ports out there have changed, places like Singapore and many others, shown in the film as often just tiny little ports, hardly big enough for one ship; ports that today are huge with ships, ships and more ships for as far as the eye can see.

The rare films we have managed to find and restore, really does give a wonderful insight to the Ben Line company and the ships it operated, going back to WW2 and then right on through to the final years of the line, and the most magnificent and fast cargo liners they introduced to the world.

I would love to have sailed with Ben Line and especially aboard one of those latter ships like the Benledi, but I didn’t and that’s a great shame. However, with the help of all this wonderful archive film, that actually took over a year to restore, I can sail with them, and do so from the comfort of my own front room; all I have to do is put on a copy of this DVD and then, as the ship’s whistle blows, the mooring lines cast off and the engines start to churn up a silver wake, I can sail with Ben Line, aboard several of their magnificent ships, as they take me on amazing voyages all the way to he magic and intrigue of the Far East.

View our range of DVD's