..an interesting little book reminding us of the thorough training that ship's crews nmust undergo. One wonders if the larger cruise lines of today have similar training methods.
-- Taken from review in Shipping Today and Yesterday magazine, January 2008
THIS LITTLE booklet was first compiled and printed in 1955 with the assistance of Dr. R. Hope of the Seafarers Education Service. It was intended for Stewards training in the National Sea Training Schools at Gravesend and Sharpness as well as similar institutions. It is primarily directed to those who were intending to join one of the passenger carrying companies of the day as an Assistant Steward. For that reason more emphasis is put on the correct way to prepare and lay tables, serving meals, clearing tables and general behaviour and etiquette. Cleaning and care of equipment is dealt with in detail and useful tips are given (methods of cleaning brass and copper fittings are rather brutal by today's standards).
The book then moves on in some detail to the food on the menus for each meal with a section on menus in French with translations. Also detailed are tourist menus and those to be expected in the officer's mess. The section on wine is interesting as reflects what was available at that time but certainly not now. Lastly there is a small section on the duties of a BR or Bedroom Steward. Peppered throughout the book are hints on behaviour, personal and with passengers or other crew members and also some ship-board terms and common use slang. (one absent is a Liverpool steward's nickname for passengers - Bloods). The adverts, which are plentiful, are of course contemporary with many firms and products long since gone. Last but not least there is an introduction by the Rt. Hon. John Prescott MP who spent almost ten years at sea as `winger' (steward). All in all a most interesting booklet at a modest price well worth a read reflecting the social standards of the day. It brought back memories to your reviewer such as coming in for breakfast to see the fiddles up and the tablecloths dampened which meant the Catering Dept. had advanced warning of bad weather.
-- Reviewed by Richard Cornish for The Review - Journal for the Naval Historical Collectors & Research Association
Whatever your political learnings there's no dispute about former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's abilities as a ship's steward. He's written the foreword to this entertaining handbook. It's a nostalgic glimpse into a world of service in the 1950s in the Merchant Navy and has advice on serving and choosing wine, as well as menus, and even how to lay a table in rough weather. Entertaining, informative and just a little quirky - it could improve the standards of service around your own table (it's so hard to get the right staff these days!) -- Taken from review in Western Mail Series, January 2008
This charming little handbook was first published in the 1950s as an aid for stewards entering the Merchant Navy. It contained notes on the necessary etiquette and skills required to serve passengers on the great ocean liners of the day, whether in first class or the emerging tourist class.Packed with all sorts of fascinating facts, tips and hints and supported by diagrammatic drawings of table settings from breakfast to dinner, this will appeal not only to former ship stewards reminiscing on days gone by, but also to anyone who is part of the burgeoning cruise industry, where people can still enjoy this level of service. Cookery historians will also find much of interest in the menus of the time that are listed together with the handy glossary of French terms at the back of the book. Finally, this is also the book for anyone who ever wondered how to get a drinking glass clean and smudge free: 'Glasses should be washed in warm water, rinsed in cold, dried with a linen cloth (linen does not leave fluff on the glass in the same way as cotton).' or correctly uncork and serve a bottle of champagne.
Its nostalgic impact is further reinforced by the inclusion of the adverts that appeared in the first edition, from Sun-Pat peanuts to Old Charlie Rum.
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