Marine Antiques Shop + First Class Coffee Lounge & Restaurant
The Brixham Steam Packet Co.
About Us - The Brixham Steam Packet Company
As long as I can remember I have had a great enthusiasm (some may refer to it as an obsession) for 20th Century Ocean liners. So, it was only natural that in 2012, when an opportunity arose, that The Brixham Steam Packet Company was formed by way of satisfying that passion.
To explain this obsession let me take you back to the early 1970s. I had just left school aged sixteen where I had not been a particularly good student. Staff found my lack of focus infuriating and it wasn’t until many years later I was diagnosed with ADHD and Dyslexia. Leaving school with no qualifications meant I didn’t have many opportunities open to me. Staying on at school was not an option; I hated it! During a heated conversation with my father he stated, ‘Well, it’s either stay on at school or join the Navy!’
Let’s go back I little further into the family history …. my grandfather discovered the beautiful fishing port of Brixham just after the war and made it his home-from-home. He became an enthusiastic member of the local community and helped set up a holiday park in Fishcombe. He started with 6 caravans and also had a part-ownership in a trawler. Therefore, it was inevitable that as all my holidays were spent here in Torbay, Brixham soon became my family’s second home too. My father was ex-Navy, stationed in Yeovil, and he wanted me to experience what life at sea was like. In 1964 he took me to Plymouth Navy Day. I can still clearly remember our tour around HMS Eagle. I recall meeting the Captain and sitting in his command seat which was the pivotal moment and made a huge impression on this nine-year-old boy. From that moment, I was bitten by a passion for big ships!
After Dad’s, “Join the `Navy” comment I decided to write to Cunard. The QE2 had seized my attention not long after its launch and I dreamt of working on this magnificent ship. I was so disappointed to get a curt reply saying they were not interested. Undeterred by this I enrolled in the National Sea Training School in Gravesend, Kent and became a “Peanut”. This is a term used to describe raw recruits. I was in my element! I found myself soaking up the Catering, Lifeboat and Firefighting training and was awarded Leading Hand Status. After 14 weeks of intensive training I was sent home to await further instructions. My head was full of expectation. I dreamed of faraway travel to exotic ports, of seeing the world. Sadly, it didn’t happen, well not straight away, as I was sent to Tilbury docks to join the MV British Patrol. This was a BP Tramp Steamer plying its trade between oil refineries in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, around the North Sea, English Channel and the Baltic. Life on board was grim and it had never occurred to me I would suffer from sea sickness! My role on board this 65000GRT Midships and Aft tanker was Galley Boy. This is where I learned how to peel potatoes by the sack load and every other menial task you could think of interspersed with throwing up over the side. After 3 months I was given leave and returned home only to discover my parents were in Tenerife on holiday. I let myself into the house and as instructed called the ‘pool’ office in Avonmouth Docks to be assigned my next ship. I had already rehearsed my speech and was all set to plead my case for a passenger liner so I could see the world. When the officer said, ‘If you get on the next train to Southampton you can join the QE2’ I was overjoyed …. and the rest, as they say, is history.
Our first shop opened in Middle Street in Brixham and was a modest premises crammed with antique marine collectables. We soon outgrew this small space and decided we needed somewhere larger to accommodate our growing retail collection. A more suitable retail space was for sale closer to the harbour so we moved.
Nowadays, we are a well-established business with not only our shop (now also on line) but a fabulous Coffee Lounge and Restaurant. The Chart Room First Class Coffee Lounge was opened in 2017 by our very good friend Commodore Ron Warwick, past Captain of QE2 and QM2.
The Coffee Lounge is managed by the Susan Laurie owner of The Farm House Kitchen along with her very talented team. Fresh cakes and Pastries along with mouth watering scones are baked daily on the premises and very popular with locals and visitors alike.
Afternoon Teas, Devon Cream Teas and our Exclusive High Teas and Deluxe High Teas are a speciality of the Lounge. The excellent food coupled with the Ocean Liner themed premises makes for a very enjoyable visit, where visitors can be taken back in time to experience the opulence and splendour of early steam ship travel.
The Coffee Lounge is managed by the very talented Hayley Johnson whose home-made cakes and pastries are absolutely delicious and very popular with locals and visitors alike. Afternoon Teas, Devon Cream Teas and our Exclusive High Teas and Deluxe High Teas are a speciality of the Lounge.
The Brixham Steam Packet Co. holds an amazing array of Marine Collectables including Ocean Liner Memorabilia and Maritime Antiques. This all stems from Bob's passion for and experience serving on ocean liners. We now have an online shop where you can view and buy our fabulous range of marine collectables