British India

British IndiaOne of the biggest British shipping companies to fly the Red Ensign was the British India Steam Navigation Company, fondly known as BI.

They had a huge fleet of ships, most of which were based in overseas ports, operating throughout the Far East and around Africa.

It was a sad day when in the early 1970s, British India were absorbed into P&O and the strong identity of a great company, that first started 1856, suddenly lost its individuality and pride as it became another victim of the then, great P&O monopoly.

Well, that’s the way business works I suppose… the endless pursuit of growing bigger and bigger, with little thought or case for history of nostalgia.

British IndiaSo many shipping companies were swallowed up by P&O’s ruthless pursuit to totally dominate and control the British Merchant Navy and the British India Steam Navigation Company was another of those victims.

Well, it might have been good business sense for P&O, but for all those who loved and worked for British India, it really was a sad, sad moment and the end of a wonderful way of life.

I doubt if any of the hundreds of thousands of people that worked or sailed aboard the magnificent ships in the once mighty British India fleet, ever thought they would ever see those wonderful ships again. Well, thanks to the work we have done in searching the world for the past twenty-years for rare film, we can today give you the most wonderful film of so many great ships in the British India fleet. Ships ranging from the cadet training ships like the Chantala through to fantastic old passenger liners like the Rajula and then up to more modern times with the much loved passenger liners on the East Africa service such as the Kenya and Uganda.

We even show footage of British India Oil Tankers, which is more than rare, but of course, so many people of today will remember British India for the education cruises they once operated and this special British India programme covers many of these as well including voyages aboard the Uganda and Nevasa.

The programme takes you right back to the start of the last century, when the British India Steam Navigation Company was the biggest shipping company of them all. And as a special treat, for our open, we actually set sail from London’s Royal Docks aboard the old SS Malda .

Such an amazing film, allowing us to sail with her and to experience the sense of excitement, adventure and even romance, that people in those days experienced when they set sail on a great ocean liner during the golden age of ocean travel.

The Episode in “The Great Liners” featuring British India is episode number 6. So get your copy now and experience for yourselves, the great British India Steam Navigation Company.

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