The answer to the blog posted by Harriet McKay on 19 May is:
Sid James, Chintz, Eddy Grant and the NMM Royal Brass Foundry, Woolwich are all related to the collaborative doctoral award project that I am undertaking, supervised by the NMM and Kingston University. My doctoral research topic is: Accommodating the Passenger: Interior Design for the Union-Castle Line, 1945 - 1977.
Popular 1960s comic actor Sid James featured in and narrated a 1966 Union-Castle promotional video 38a Bus to Cape Town about escaping from London to South Africa on board Transvaal Castle. (See the blog posted by Phil Rich, another NMM doctoral student on March 10, 2009) James was himself South African.
Chintz was a favourite stylistic device of Union-Castle line decorator Jean Monro. She produced an aesthetic reminiscent of the popular British and North American 'English Country House style' for some of the passenger accommodation on board Pendennis and Windsor Castles, whose first voyages were in 1959 and 1960 respectively.
eddy grant.JPG
Eddy Grant's Anti-apartheid anthem 'Gimme Hope Joanna' contains the lyrics:
She's got supporters in high-up places,
who turn their heads to the City Sun,
Joanna [South Africa] gives them the fancy money,
Oh! to tempt anyone who'd come.
This neatly describes South African immigration policy during the period and Union-Castle's importance in ferrying immigrants to the republic.
brass foundry.JPG
Finally, the National Maritime Museum Brass Foundry, Woolwich Arsenal is where the principal photographic research material for the project is located.
An exploration of a key 20th-century British shipping company, my thesis, Accommodating the Passenger, examines the interior design of the Union-Castle liners in the period 1945-77. In addition to its core - a focused design historical study - this project argues the use of an interdisciplinary approach to design history. It discusses the crucial need to address the political economy of this UK-South African shipping route for an understanding of the design of the ships which sailed it. In contextualising its research in the political and social history of the period it also covers new ground; its overarching theme will be to investigate the impact of Apartheid upon design.
At the heart of the thesis lie ideas about representation and issues around design as cultural practice. Was there a Union-Castle aesthetic and what did it represent if there was? Did this vary according to place on board, or passenger class? Embedded within contemporary social and political culture, does the design of these ships represent their place of origin in the UK, their destination ports in South Africa or both? How might the liners have embodied concepts of national identity and if so, what does this say of British-South African relations in the post war period? Finally to what extent did the ties that Nelson Mandela has described as 'a special relationship and its mutual benefits, which history has bound us in' affect the look of the Union-Castle liners interiors? This project will argue that Union-Castle's passenger accommodation was very much influenced by South African culture and politics of the post-war years.