Susie studied Art history at University of East Anglia and was first bitten by the heritage bug whilst working as an architectural researcher and writing reports and histories of some the most notable and historic government buildings in Westminster. In 1993 she jumped ship joining P&O to catalogue their art collection. That one year contract has morphed into a lifetime. “In a sense we are still cataloguing – if a company is astute enough to reach the ripe old age of 180 you can be sure they have collected a huge heritage along the way.” Today the role of Senior Curator encompasses much more than cataloguing and with a team of 3 dedicated professionals P&O Heritage manages their vast collections worldwide and works hard to bring what is essentially a private collection to a wider public audience.
When not in the pampered surroundings of the office, Susie can usually be found in a kayak or exploring the arctic on skis. In 2004 she joined (as historian) a (six man, one woman!) Royal Naval Expedition following in the footsteps Sir John and James Clark Ross’s 1828-1832 expedition to find the North West passage. In the frozen north of Nunavut in Arctic Canada, Susie (as historian on the expedition) was particularly fascinated to see, and document, the discarded steam engine parts from Ross’s paddle steamer the ‘Victory’ perfectly preserved in the permafrost. “Although steam powered P&O’s success, in the 1820s it was still in its infancy and had yet to prove itself useful for the exploration of new lands where coal depots were in very short supply!”
All Aboard – A pictorial voyage through the people, places and collections of P&O, once the largest shipping company in the World.
Where better to start our voyage than the port city of Southampton where P&O set up home in 1840? Susie will take us through P&O’s history through the archives and collections of P&O Heritage in a richly illustrated talk to launch us into lunch!
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