Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about Russian History => Imperial Transportation => Topic started by: Chris Snyder on January 28, 2004, 07:42:54 PM

Title: Polar Star
Post by: Chris Snyder on January 28, 2004, 07:42:54 PM
Does anyone have any information on the fate of the Polar Star?  I am curious to know what happened to it.
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: JamesHogland on February 03, 2004, 01:46:14 PM
I do know that during the 900 days of siege by the Germans of Lenningrad the Polar Star was moored on the Neva quay next to the Winter Palace. Lines were strung to the palace and the ship's engines provided electricity for the Hermitage museum during the siege.
I could find no information as to whether it was re-named by the Soviets or as to what eventually happened to her. I too would be interested if anyone has any further information of this ship. I understand that after the Standart was commissioned the Polar Star served mainly as a yacht for the Dowager Empress until the Revolution.
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Joanna on May 09, 2004, 12:09:28 AM
Glasgow University has an interesting photograph album of a Baltic Cruise in 1902 with a photograph of the Polar Star:


http://special.lib.gla.ac.uk/exhibns/month/mar2003.html

"Shown here, for example, is a photograph of Czar Nicholas II's yacht, the Etoile Polaire (Polyarnaya Zvezda or Polar Star). Built in 1891 by the order of the Russian Imperial Court, she was one of a fleet of yachts at the call of the Imperial family during this period."

Joanna
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Mike on May 31, 2004, 09:13:01 AM
Here Alexander III, Maria Feodorovna and GD Xenia are pictured aboard the Polar Star in Finnish fiords:
(http://erastimes.8m.net/alex3_fiords.JPG)
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Louise on May 31, 2004, 10:46:35 AM
That is a fantastic picture. Thank you!

Louise
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Greg_King on June 01, 2004, 05:38:20 AM
This is from memory, so I may have a few details wrong.  After the Revolution, "Polar Star" was taken by the Soviet Government and turned over to the Navy.  It was stripped and re-fitted as a cruiser and stationed at Kronstadt.  The original interior woodwork from some of the cabins was saved and is now preserved.  Between 1930-36 it was re-fitted with arms, including a number of machine guns and artillery, and 76 mm. and 45 mm. guns were mounted on the decks.  In 1939 she was sent to Finland as part of the Soviet Navy stationed there.  During the Second World War she served as a cruiser in escort for various battleships in the Gulf.  Apparently she was never, as was "Standart," renamed-at least not as I recall off the top of my head, though this could be wrong.  In 1954 she underwent another re-fitting, and served as a training ship.  In 1961 (about the same time as "Standart") she was, if I recall, towed to a yard in Helsinki and apparently broken up.  She disappears from Soviet registries in that year.  I have complete details round here somewhere that I have to find to finish up my next book, so when I do I will post more information or correct anything in error above, but I hope this helps.

Greg King
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Mike on June 01, 2004, 07:55:43 AM
This is how the Polar Star looked in 1891 during her maiden voyage (http://www.bz.ru/images/shpzvezd.jpg)...
... and 70 years later (http://sovnavy-ww2.by.ru/depots/polar.htm#polar), when it was used as a floating target for the Baltic fleet artillery exercises - after serving as a submarine support ship and a floating barrack. Sic transit gloria mundi.


Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Joanna on August 06, 2004, 10:48:32 PM
The Central Naval Museum, St. Petersburg, has a model of the Polar Star:

http://www.museum.navy.ru/zall_e_2.htm

Has anyone visited this museum? From the website their models of the different ships look incredible. I wonder if they have anything on the Standart.

Joanna
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Mike on August 07, 2004, 01:28:34 AM
If I remember correctly, they were keeping the whole Russian Admiralty's collection of ship models. By Peter I's never-annuled decree, an exact scale model had to be made and kept of every single new ship of the Russian navy. They used to display a part of this enormous collection in the basement of the former Stock Exchange building.
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Douglas on August 07, 2004, 11:25:22 AM
Yes, the Naval Museum in St. Petersburg has a 1/4 inch scale model of the Standart but I understand that it is not currently on display.  The model is in the museum storeroom.
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Joanna on August 07, 2004, 08:09:09 PM
Many many thanks Mike, Douglas & Harald! This museum is on my list for my next visit to ST.P! Just to see the display that they show on their website would be incredibly fascinating!

Does anyone know who made the models of the Polar Star and Standart of these photos?

http://groups.msn.com/ImperialDynastyTheROMANOVARCHIVES/imperialyachts.msnw?albumlist=2

Harald, did the curator comment of any plans in the future of publishing a book on the Standart and Polar Star with the photos, documents, etc from their archives? Has the museum published any booklets?

Joanna
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Robert_Hall on August 07, 2004, 09:53:56 PM
I do not read Russian, but I do have a great "coffee table" book on the Imperial yachts.  Peter I to Nicholas II.  The ISBN is 5827600164. Sorry I cannot translate or even type the title & author.
It was published in 1997, includes a lot of lavish pictures
of not only the yachts, but flags, china, furniture, heraldic devices.
Someone asked  earlier on another thread I think, the arms as depicted in this volume are indeed gold with a red shield. I do not recall what I paid for it, but it was not cheap.
Hope this helps someone,
Robert
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Antonio_P.Caballer on August 07, 2004, 10:13:56 PM
Hello Robert,

I bought this book in Petersburg and itīs really wonderful. The title is "Russian Imperial Yachts, late XVII- beginning XX century" or "Russkie Imperatarskie Yakhti, konets XVII- nachalo XX veka"

The authors are: V.V. Znamenov, A.L. Larionov, T.N. Nosovich.

Hope this helps...
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Robert_Hall on August 07, 2004, 10:24:37 PM
Thanks Antonio. I pretty much figured that was the title, but not sure.Also was tempted to tanspose the cyrillic to roman alphbets. Sometimes I can get away with that, but it is not always successful.
Robert
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Joanna on August 08, 2004, 06:29:26 PM
OH MY Harald do you have photos of the Alexandria? Of its interior? And of the Polar Star's interiors?  Will you be expanding your site to include both of these yachts with their history, etc., ? Also please write when you receive more information of this exhibition in 2005/6 ok!

"...Who tells us we couldn't write THE standard work ...in a joined effort ..." For sure we can :) Along with my research I am feverishly pursuing other ideas also! It is beautiful passion to have no  :)

Joanna
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Douglas on August 09, 2004, 04:52:56 PM
Hello Joanna, Harald and friends:

The 'private person' who built the model of the Standart some 20 years ago is myself: Douglas Huntzinger

Harald is a friend of mine and we have shared much data on the imperial yachts.  

I built the model of the Standart  because of my interest in the imperial family and steam yachts.  The model has been in many model boat shows and has caught the eye of several judges and she has therefore collected a few award ribbons.

I will always remember the day the plans of the Standart arrived on my front porch.  They were sent to me by the Maritime Museum in London back when they could be purchased for a reasonable price.  

I also  have the complete plans for the Polar Star and the  deck plans of the Imperial Yacht Livadia.

I obtained the plans for the Polar Star from a mysterious  undercover source in Moscow. Sort of a James Bond  007 affair.

Douglas Huntzinger
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: nerdycool on August 09, 2004, 07:57:09 PM
Wow, Douglas.... my hat's off to you!

I found a picture which I was so excited to come across... I would post it, but unfortunately, I don't know how to do that (anyone want to help me learn how?). It's a picture of 3 of Alexander III's children on a ship on which I assume is the Polar Star. I would try to identify the kids, but I am not so good at that. My first guess would be Nicholas, Xenia, and George... but I've been wrong before, so anyone know for sure?

http://groups.msn.com/ImperialDynastyTheROMANOVARCHIVES/onefamily.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=62
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Joanna on August 09, 2004, 08:28:27 PM
OH MON DIEU  Douglas I am in awe of your model  :) Do you ever send it to US or Canada for viewing although insurance would be prohibitive?

Harald will you be adding photos of Douglas' model as an adjunct to your site? It is a great idea so that others can find it there as your site is the definite source today on the Standart  :)

Nerdycool, I think like you it is Nicholas, Xenia and George!

Joanna
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Douglas on August 09, 2004, 08:29:58 PM
Nerdycool:

That does not appear to be the Polar Star.  The photo is taken at the stern of the yacht, hence the flag, but the PS did not have a raised sternside that the threesome are sitting on.  The PS had a flush deck and railings  all round.

My guess is that it  is one of the other imperial yachts or even one of the Russian warships of that era.

Douglas
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Douglas on August 09, 2004, 08:40:07 PM
Given the age of Nicholas in the photo at the stern....the yacht in the photo could be the Alexandria.  It is definately not the Standart or the Polar Star.

Thanks all for your kinds words on my model.  Yes, I think that it is a great idea for Harald to include some photos of my model on his website. ;-)

Harald:  Thank you also for the heads-up on an exhibition of Imperial Yachts in Russia in 2005/6.  I had not heard of this. ;)
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Douglas on August 10, 2004, 10:06:59 PM
Harald:

I will be happy to send you some photos of my model of the Standart.  I  have them in two formats:  high res and low res.  Which  would be best for your site?

Also, I agree with Harald that  the photo mentioned above appears to be the yacht Alexandria.  Is the name "Derzhava" a name that was later given to the vessel by the Soviet Navy?  The yacht Alexandria was built in 1851 and was used by four Tsars.

As for my official title, how about the 'Tsars' Official Model Maker'?  I am  one of the tsars on another thread,  which is a full time job with lots of responsibilities! ;D
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Mike on August 14, 2004, 02:36:52 PM
Quote
Derzhava (meaning "Orb")

Derzhava has also a second meaning: Power (in its meaning of "State"), e.g.:
Morskaya derzhava = sea power; Druzhestvennaya derzhava = friendly power, etc.
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Douglas on September 20, 2004, 11:16:54 PM
Hello Joanna:

Thank you so much for adding to my knowledge of the Livadia and Mr. Murdoch.

The imperial family was very attached to their various yachts.

The heir Alexie was naturally supposed to wear a sailor suit while on the Standart during their summer cruise. This was tradition that was over  a hundred years old at that time.    Alexie was so very impressed with the life of the sailors on the ship that he insisted on wearing his sailor suit all year round.  Just a typical little boy.   :)
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: ChristineM on September 21, 2004, 06:14:59 AM
Firstly, thank you Joanna.   I am particularly interested in the theme 'Scots in Russia' and this is a new one for me.   Could you please let me know your source.

Secondly, the Alexandria was built on the Clyde.   There is a scale model of this very peculiar paddle steamer  (she looked more like a flounder - she was virtually circular) in Glasgow Museum of Transport.   There is also a model of another imperial yacht commissioned to be built on the Clyde, but for some reason, this was not realised.  This gives me the impetus to go to the museum and find out more.

According to the legend attached to the model of the 'Alexandria' - she ended her days as a coal tramp on the Black Sea.

tsaria
Title: Re: Polar StarI
Post by: ChristineM on September 22, 2004, 06:40:17 AM
Dear Harald

Beneath you will find information regarding the 'Livadia' (you were correct).   My husband, who is a documentary film maker made four, fifty minute long programmes for BBC television entitled 'Clyde Built'.   He has given me these research notes.

'Only the best would do when the Tsar of Russia, Alexander II, was looking for a new royal yacht in the last quarter of the 19th century.   He engaged his own country's top designer and took the building work to Scotland, to the Glasgow shipyard of John Elder and Company at Govan.

'In doing so, he was ordering the most eccentric vessel the Clye had ever seen - a fat-bodied ship more than half as broad as it was long, rather like a flatfish.

'Inside this oddity, to be called the 'Livadia', you would find the most luxurious imperial quarters, estimated to have cost half a million pounds, complete with rose garden and illuminated fairy fountain.   The floating palace to end them all.

'This construction was the brainchild of Vice Admiral Popov, who had distinguished himself in the Crimean War and would go on to become the Russian Navy's chief designer.   Interior planning would be left to the highly-talented Glasgow architect William Leiper, who was tempted home from Paris by the imperial commission.

'With the 'Livadia's' shape, Popov was aiming at a stability which would cut down on royal seasickness while, adding to the unorthodoxy of it all, there was breadth to place the three funnels in a side-by-side array.   He also wanted a double bottom and an outer belt of armour to protect the actual hull.

'The Clyde never having seen anything like it, older heads shook in doubt and disbelief that such a contraption could ever be launched let alone reach the minimum 14 knots, below which the Russians would not accept delivery.   But Sir William Pearce, boss of the yard and alter the local Member of Parliament, had tested a model on Loch Lomond, knew he could get the speed - and was in no doubt about the publicity value of such a venture.

'The Tsar's yacht did indeed cause a bigger stir than anything since the 'Great Eastern, giving a foretaste of public fascination over the 'Queen Mary' half a century later.

'When the 'Livadia' was launched on 7 June 1880, Admiral Popov himself was there.   The Tsar was represented by the Grand Duke Alexis, who raised a few eyebrows in his speech by calling Glasgow 'the centre of the intelligence of England'.

'The royal yacht sailed off on a sea of publicity and easily reached fifteen and three quarter knots, as Pearce knew it would.   As public interest followed her from the Clyde to the Black Sea, word came back that her head tended to dip into the sea, disappointing her designer.

'However, more serious dramas lay ahead.   Before the Tsar could make acquaintance with his Scottish yacht he had been assassinated by the Nihilists, who were out to change the system.

'So the Romanovs never did know the charms of this amazing construction.   It lay rusting in the Black Sea, her engines given to a lesser craft, and survived wars and revolutions till her freakish outline was finally broken up in 1926.   Without a career of any sort, the 'Livadia' had known her greatest glamour in the confines of a Govan shipyard.'

I will try to get to the Museum soon and hopefully get a photograph of the model of the 'Livadia.   I will also get details of the other yacht (which I think was provisionally named the 'Alexandria') and perhaps a photograph of this vessel too.

I trust you find these details of interest.

tsaria
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Mike on September 22, 2004, 09:08:30 AM
The reason why "Livadia" was never used by Alexander III might be his known loathing of the Admiral Popov's peculiar design for coastal defence ironclads, similar to that of "Livadia". In his letter to GD Mikhail Nikolayevich, the then Tsesarevich Alexander calls it "that nasty popovka".
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Antonio_P.Caballer on September 25, 2004, 02:23:21 PM
Thanks so very much Douglas!!! Itīs great to see the plan at last. I know nothing about ships but after seing this plan i assume that the main halls were all on an upper deck(i hope you understand what i mean), no? I mean that i cannot find the main dinning room in that plan and from the old photographs i supposed it was in the highest deck(board? really, i cannot explain properly...)
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Douglas on September 25, 2004, 02:29:20 PM
Hello Antonio!:

The Main Deck plan of the Polar Star is the deck just below the weather deck.  The dining salon is on the Main Deck at the stern or back of the yacht.  

The  weather deck, to use the British term, is the one that is open to the sky.  At the stern of the yacht was a small pavilion that was used to keep one out of the sun and rain.

You can see the Tsars cabins just forward of the dining salon.

I will post more plans of this yacht later today or tomorrow.

Douglas
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Antonio_P.Caballer on September 25, 2004, 02:38:03 PM
Thanks so much for your explanations! So weather deck is what i meant. Now i understand. I thought that dinning room was too big, and supposed it was for the ship crew. Then, there were no other pavillions for rooms in the weather deck of the Polar Star?
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Antonio_P.Caballer on September 25, 2004, 03:06:20 PM
Quote
Antonio:  I just posted the internal side view of the Polar Star.  This should answer your very good question.  I am not placing the  plans on this site because they are too big for the pages.  More info will follow.   :)


Thanks Douglas, iīm really looking forward to read your new information!
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Douglas on October 26, 2005, 08:31:52 PM
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v475/Douglas606/4ba076c7.jpg)
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Douglas on October 26, 2005, 08:56:18 PM
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v475/Douglas606/ResizeofPolarStarsideview.jpg)

side view of Polar Star
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Douglas on October 26, 2005, 09:16:50 PM
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v475/Douglas606/Resizeofpolarstarmaindeckplanlarge.jpg)

Main Deck of Polar Star.
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Douglas on October 26, 2005, 09:28:38 PM
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v475/Douglas606/ResizeofPolarStarmodel.jpg)
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Douglas on October 26, 2005, 09:38:00 PM
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v475/Douglas606/ResizeofUpperDeckPlan.jpg)


Upper or Weather Deck of Polar Star....lower part of plan shows the underlying frames of the ship.
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Robert_Hall on October 27, 2005, 11:09:28 AM
Great deck plans, Douglas. Do you happen to know which cabin were for the Dowager Empress ?
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Douglas on October 27, 2005, 11:49:53 AM
Hi Robert:

Her suite would have been the six cabins to the lower right of the dinning salon [aft part of Main Deck].  
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Douglas on October 27, 2005, 01:55:09 PM
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v475/Douglas606/PolarStar-SternQTRnew.jpg)
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Alexandre64 on October 25, 2008, 03:08:46 AM
(http://i273.photobucket.com/albums/jj213/Alexandre64_2007/Photo/252.jpg)
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: rgt9w on May 24, 2010, 07:58:04 PM
A Polar Star Jeton by Faberge


http://www.sothebys.com/app/ecatalogue/fhtml/index.jsp?event_id=29927#/r=index-fhtml.jsp?event_id=29927#/r.main=lot.jsp?event_id=29927&id=688&imgSize=369/
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Douglas on May 25, 2010, 10:34:42 PM
A Polar Star Jeton by Faberge


http://www.sothebys.com/app/ecatalogue/fhtml/index.jsp?event_id=29927#/r=index-fhtml.jsp?event_id=29927#/r.main=lot.jsp?event_id=29927&id=688&imgSize=369/

This is only the catalogue cover.  Can you post the actual object?  If not,  what is the lot number for this object.
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: rgt9w on May 26, 2010, 01:59:08 PM
Douglas,

For some reason the link to the actual object is not working. The lot number is 688 from the London Sotheby's sale L10113 on 9 June 2010.

The object is a boxed Polar Star jeton by Faberge, workmaster Oskar Phil, in its original box.

The jeton is very similar to image at the top of this menu of the left. (Double click for large view)

http://highway55.library.yale.edu/ROMANOVIMG/size4/D0001/00014003.jpg
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Constantinople on May 29, 2010, 05:34:48 AM
nice postings Douglas
You get a sense of the loss that Russian imperial families experienced when you look at their yachts.
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Douglas on May 30, 2010, 01:32:58 AM
nice postings Douglas
You get a sense of the loss that Russian imperial families experienced when you look at their yachts.

Thank you Constantin, yes the yachts were such a wonderful expression of royal style, recreation and romance with nature.

I always enjoy anything about the yachts.  Yes, when they lost their yachts, they lost a lot.  I always wished that they could have sailed on them to freedom  and a new life.
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Constantinople on May 30, 2010, 02:54:42 AM
When I was small we travelled by steam ship so I got a taste of what that was like but to have a whole yacht that size would have been amazing. I had contemplated writing a series of books on royal yachts but never got further than the initial stages.  I contacted a few members of the Romanoff family that i know and they thought it was a great idea.
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: rgt9w on May 30, 2010, 10:37:42 AM
Here is another attempt to post the Polar Star badge:


http://www.sothebys.com/app/ecatalogue/fhtml/pdf.jsp?event_id=29927&id=688
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Constantinople on May 30, 2010, 10:50:54 AM
That should be an interesting auction for anyone interested in imperial Russian items.  I noticed that prices have decreaesed a bit from a couple of years ago.  Lots of nice Faberge cigarette cases up for auction at that saile.
Title: Re: Polar Star
Post by: Constantinople on May 30, 2010, 10:56:56 AM
here is the original so you can use the zoom to look at it in detail

http://www.sothebys.com/app/live/lot/LotDetail.jsp?lot_id=159589503