Tag Archives: Northern Capitals

The Last Afternoon At Sea

Over the last couple of months I have been slowly scanning my way through a 1925 photograph album I bought on a second hand stall. Entitled “Cruise To The Northern Capitals of Europe on the SS City of Nagpur, July-August 1925“, the album contains over 50 sepia photographs our unknown photographer took on a cruise to Denmark and Norway. In addition to showing some wonderful 1920s fashions and some tram-lined streets, the photographs illustrate a relaxed atmosphere on board a small cruise ship of ninety years ago.
It is perhaps fitting that I am now getting to the end of the album – the photograph above is entitled “The Last Afternoon At Sea“, because I am starting top pack my bags for my own cruise to the Norwegian fjords in a few days time. Perhaps I will ask the First Officer on my oversized cruise ship to pose on a deckchair with the Good Lady Wife.

Who Is Crossing The North Sea?



One of the most difficult challenges with old photograph albums is identifying the albums creator, as – by definition in those pre-smart phone days – the photographer rarely features in the photographs themselves. In the 1925 Northern Capitals album, there is an intriguing series of photographs taken whilst the cruise ship was “crossing the North Sea” which seems to identify a series of potential photographers.

‚ÄčSurely it must be possible to analyse who is missing from each photograph and thus equate it with the four named photographers and thus identify who took the one marked “mine”. Good luck.

Northern Capitals 16 : Arrival In Oslo



The caption under this photograph states “Oslo and the SS City Of Nagpur from the mountains”. The camera lens clearly was not up to the challenge: either that or the ship has sunk beneath the sepia waves.


This time the caption says “Carl Johans Gate, Oslo – with the Grand Hotel”. I instantly recognised the scene as I had walked down the very same street less than two years ago.

Northern Capitals 15 : Veranda Gong


18DB33These days on the cruise ships, passengers assemble outside the restaurant doors like expectant gulls following a herring boat, waiting for the doors to be opened. Back in 1925 on our tour of the Northern capitals, things were much more stately: a smiling restaurant steward would bang a gong to summon the guests into the Veranda Cafe.


Northern Capitals 13 : Flora, Matilda And Reg


We are a third of the way through the 1925 photo album of a voyage around the Northern Capitals and by now I feel as if I am getting to know some of the passengers quite well. I give them names – that’s Flora on the right and Matilda on the left. The ship’s officer (Reginald) appears to have had his head cut off and pasted onto a different body.


Northern Capitals 12 : Now You See Her


18DA52wPage 12 and at last we have a clue. The photographs on page 11 and 12 are the same except for the exchange of the ship’s officer with the bow tie for the young girl in a chequered dress. The album is unlikely to belong to the ship’s officer, but could our mysterious photographer be the young girl in the chequered dress?

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