Shipping expert Peter sets sail on new online venture

Renowned Merseyside journalist and maritime expert Peter Elson launches his new Shipping Lines website showcasing his books, guided tours and all-round knowledge of the sea. Tony McDonough reports

Peter Elson
Maritime expert Peter Elson has launched his Shipping Lines website. Picture by Tony McDonough


For almost three decades Peter Elson immersed himself in the rich maritime heritage of Merseyside.

A long-time shipping writer on both the Liverpool Daily Post and the Liverpool Echo, Peter also showcased his maritime expertise on local, regional and national TV and radio and is the author of a number of books.

Now a project that has been several years in the development has finally gone live. Shipping Lines is Peter’s new website which highlights his work across multiple platforms. It recreates one of his old newspaper columns of the same name.

His books include Great Mersey Liners and Liverpool River and the site and offer a fascinating insight into the history of the shipping world and what is one of the world’s most famous ports.

On the site, designed by Nonconform, Peter also highlights his experience as an accomplished speaker on the history and heritage of the maritime sector.

From the sinking of Lusitania and Titanic to the history of the great liners and the Battle of the Atlantic, Peter has spoken at numerous events offering fascinating insights and snippets of humour.

You can also find out more about Peter’s guided tours of Liverpool which focus not just on the city’s rich maritime history but also its architecture, links with the American Civil War and the US, music and religion.

And, if you want to dive into something a bit feistier, Peter puts his journalistic experience to great in the blog section where he is not afraid to be outspoken on the maritime issues of the day.

“As the Shipping Lines newspaper page was so popular I’ve finally achieved my goal of recreating it online.

“The Shipping Lines website is very much a personal view, rather than a record of events. It features past, present and future matters which intrigue me and I hope interest other readers.”

A love of the sea may well be in Peter’s blood. Captain James Cook is his great uncle times seven. He was born in South Africa and commuted with his British parents back and forth to the UK more than six years.

He lived in Liverpool from 1964 until 1976 and finally he and his young family made Merseyside their home in 1996.

His work on the Liverpool Post & Echo saw himl presented him with the British Maritime Writer of the Year 2009 (Maritime Foundation Desmond Wettern Award) at the Institute of Directors, London.

He also received the Merseyside Civic Society Award 2014 for his campaigns about Liverpool’s historic architecture.

During his time as Senior Features Writer at the Liverpool Daily Post he ran successful campaigns including Get On Board (to overturn the ban on cruise liners operating from Liverpool).

Peter added: “An important element will be campaigns and I know I’ve hit upon a real winner with the first, which aims to save the Beatles Salvor mast from being scrapped.

“This is the mast of the Salvor salvage ship which features in the first official photoshoot of the Beatles with Ringo Starr.

“The mast stood for decades on The Strand, but was removed three years ago in a new road scheme and in spite of city council promises for relocation it faces destruction.

“This is a massive part of Liverpool’s Beatles and maritime history and must not be destroyed! Already people are contacting me from the US asking about its fate.”


Peter Elson
Peter Elson pictured on board the Cutty Sark at Greenwich
Shipping Lines
Peter Elson will be promoting his collection of books on Shipping Lines


Peter has also written speeches and copy for former ‘Minister for Merseyside’ Lord Heseltine and former Cammell Laird chief executive John Syvret, among others.

He has also written for The Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, The Times, Daily Mail, The Guardian, Observer, The European, Newcastle Chronicle, Travel Trade Gazette (TTG), TTG Europa and Travel Weekly. 

He is married to Valerie and they have two sons James and Alex. Family aside, to relax in his spare time Peter writes press releases for MAST – Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust and DAPS – the SS Daniel Adamson Preservation Society.

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“I also get to exercise my inner grumpy old man through my Captain Brocklebank alter ego,” Peter also said.

“This is once again recreated by super talented cartoonist Phil Disley, who illustrated my Mr Brocklebank social diary in the late lamented Liverpool Daily Post. 

“As with my LDP&E career I’m keen to showcase the personalities and colourful stories around the Mersey which would otherwise just disappear into the ether and be so easily lost.

“I believe this aspect of helping to mould the region’s character through its mosaic of personalities is now entirely absent from the current media.”

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