For the eagle-eyed among our readers, and/or those with long memories, you will notice that the 2015 editions of Ships Monthly form Volume 50 of the magazine. So, as I write these word with the New Year upon us, it is worth reflecting on what has happened in the shipping world during the half century that Ships Monthly has been published.

The first issue of the magazine was produced in January 1966, priced at three shillings. It was 36 pages in total, plus the cover, and featured the tall march ship Sorlandet on the front. The first editor, J. H. Martin, wrote in his first Editor’s Log: ‘This is the magazine for which many have waited’. There was something of an emphasis on sail, with features on the tall ship races, spritsail barges on the Thames, Connemara Hookers and Clydeside clippers. But Oliver Smith wrote about and went on board the British India Company’s C class cargo vessels, his article ending with the poem ‘All seas, all ships’ by Walt Whitman, and Edgar March wrote about British Destroyers.

Since the first issue, the magazine has undergone many changes – and many price rises – but has always covered events in the varied world of shipping in detail, although its focus has changed to look mainly at motor ships. Which makes me wonder: what would Oliver Smith make of the latest cargo vessels – the massive container ships, LNG-powered ro-pax ferries and streamlined coasters? And would J. H. Martin have believed his eyes had heseen one of the new mega cruise ships?



EDITORNicholas Leach


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