Author Topic: What did people wear and do on sailing ships in the 1840s, 50s & 60s?  (Read 428 times)

Offline kiwihalfpint

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Re: What did people wear and do on sailing ships in the 1840s, 50s & 60s?
« Reply #9 on: Wednesday 13 March 19 07:57 GMT (UK) »

what they would have taken, eaten

On one of the sailing ships that my ancestors came out on, the sailing company gave them a list of what they needed to bring for the long journey, bedding, summer/winter clothes to change into depending on seasons, enough food to cook for the journey, pots/pans etc.  There would also be Sunday Church service.

Cheers
KHP
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Online Skoosh

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Re: What did people wear and do on sailing ships in the 1840s, 50s & 60s?
« Reply #10 on: Wednesday 13 March 19 07:58 GMT (UK) »
@ Jaybeinz, a couple of low-blows there!  ;D

Not the Oz passage but an idea on the conditions endured by emigrants to the US at that time can be got from Robert Louis Stevenson's "An Amateur Emigrant!" who crossed from the Clyde to New York on an emigrant ship. You can read this account online!

Skoosh.

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Offline Mart 'n' Al

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Re: What did people wear and do on sailing ships in the 1840s, 50s & 60s?
« Reply #11 on: Wednesday 13 March 19 09:53 GMT (UK) »
Read this.

https://www.thenoones.id.au/11_MARTIN_SHIP/m_ship.html

It is a slightly fictionalized account of how one of my ancestors, Ellen Loughborough and another girl were incarcerated in boxes little larger than a coffin, for unruly behaviour during a voyage to Australia. Subsequently the other girl slipped and fell, leading to her eventual death. The whole matter was a cause celebre at the time.

Martin
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My ancestors are probably turning in their graves, not that I can actually find any of them.

Offline BumbleB

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Re: What did people wear and do on sailing ships in the 1840s, 50s & 60s?
« Reply #12 on: Wednesday 13 March 19 10:25 GMT (UK) »
I have a book "Dear Louisa" a compilation of letters written by Ellen McLeod who was one of the Byrne Settlers to South Africa in 1850 and travelled on the "Minerva".  This is one of the illustrations from the book.

17 May 1850, she wrote "...... But we are always glad to get to bed as we get up with the first dawn of light, and George takes all the children up to deck and throws a bucket of salt water over them.  At 8 o'clock we breakfast, and at ten all the children go to school where they learn reading, writing and arithmetic......."
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Online goldie61

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Re: What did people wear and do on sailing ships in the 1840s, 50s & 60s?
« Reply #13 on: Wednesday 13 March 19 20:06 GMT (UK) »
I have a book "Dear Louisa" a compilation of letters written by Ellen McLeod who was one of the Byrne Settlers to South Africa in 1850 and travelled on the "Minerva".  This is one of the illustrations from the book.

17 May 1850, she wrote "...... But we are always glad to get to bed as we get up with the first dawn of light, and George takes all the children up to deck and throws a bucket of salt water over them.  "

Think I'll tell my grandchildren about that one!  :)
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Offline searchr

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Re: What did people wear and do on sailing ships in the 1840s, 50s & 60s?
« Reply #14 on: Wednesday 13 March 19 20:48 GMT (UK) »
Hi All,
Thanks again. This is fantastic!
I'll investigate more about what they brought on board. Thanks. From Bill Barlow's City of Brisbane book, they had to buy a "ships kit" on top of their fare. It had bedding, eating utensils, buckets for water and refuse, and possibly soap that wasn't very useful. They also had to pay for accommodation and luggage cartage while they were waiting to get on board. I'm not sure from the way it's worded whether or not this was in the "ships kit", but I think not. From Bill Barlow's book, people would try overcharging them for accommodation before, and there would be special shops in London to sell them what they needed. From https://www.gjenvick.com/Steerage/1879-SteerageAccommodations-Cunard.html, lots of people would try selling them stuff as they got on board.

The more I read the more questions I have. I love the bucket of water bit especially! Mart'n'Al's https://www.thenoones.id.au/11_MARTIN_SHIP/m_ship.html
had that the passengers were taken up on deck in groups of about 50 or so to strip and bathe in seawater. They could wash their clothes each week. In the picture "Life on Board" on that site are they on deck? That goes toward answering one of my questions. It looks like they were allowed to be together on deck. The link then to the thing about the girls in the boxes was horrific. I like his little comment about his ancestors turning in their graves though. 

My extra questions seem to be forming about the differences between what the men, women and children could do and wear, especially on deck. We have some quoits that my grandparents used to play, and hookey. Did they play them on the ships? Oh! The New Zealand site https://teara.govt.nz/en/the-voyage-out/page-2
 says yes, at least for quoits and at least for the cabin passengers, who also had books, chess and cards. It sounds like all could talk, dance, sing, play music, recite, have concerts and fish and some slept. Could only men sleep on deck?
The church services seem to be on deck too e.g. https://teara.govt.nz/en/community-contribution/4314/the-mccaw-chronicles
On no.... sometimes below too https://teara.govt.nz/en/the-voyage-out/page-3

There was school too, from Bill Barlow's book at least. I'm not sure where it would have been held.

There seems to have been a lot of cooking and learning to cook, cleaning and some sewing too. You'd think the cooking would mainly be below, and probably the cleaning too. I'm not sure about where they'd sew.
One of the pictures on the site Tony gave us http://www.maritimetas.org/collection-displays/displays/over-seas-stories-tasmanian-migrants/journey-sailing-ship
 was a little montage of shipboard life. One of the little pictures in that had (I guess) passengers scrubbing the decks in front of someone throwing water on the deck.
Did the clothes mean something about class? Did only certain men wear caps and others wear certain type of hats? Why did some women wear no hats, some bonnets and some wraps? Did it depend on the time of day and where they were? Were the family people's clothes different from the single ones somehow? Did the clothes have names? Did they wear special clothes to board and get off?
One thing I was amazed about was the age that the children could not stay with their parents. At 12 they were on their own. The legal age for marriage seems to have been 12 for females and 14 for males. I wonder so many things. I wonder how much they were thought of as children by their parents.
(By the way no more convicts to New South Wales after 1840!)
It goes on and on and on. That's what I love about this stuff. It's so addictive.

Offline searchr

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Re: What did people wear and do on sailing ships in the 1840s, 50s & 60s?
« Reply #15 on: Thursday 14 March 19 22:09 GMT (UK) »
Hi,
I just wanted to say thanks again. I've now been really motivated and thought someone might be interested in my extra findings.
I went to trove, now that I've learned that they had to have a ships kit. That got me at least this one: (mentioning clothes and ship-kits in 1866)
https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/1276739?searchTerm=%22ships%20kit%22&searchLimits=l-decade=186
Trove Australia: The Brisbane Courier (Qld.: 1864 - 1933) Fri 6 Nov 1866 p. 3 IMMIGRATION
e.g.
I observe, by your remarks on the subject
of the condition of some of the navvies, that
you have not exactly understood what is called
ship-kit. This has been provided by my order
through an outfitting house, Mr. Percival's, of
New Quay, Liverpool, to the whole of the free
and assisted passengers, including the navvies.
It does not consist of clothing, but of bedding,
and other necessary articles, for which the
people pay into this office either 10s. 6d. or £1,
according to which of the two following lists
they desire to be provided with :
"10s. 6d. Ship-kit: 1 bed, 1 pair sheets,
1 water bottle, 1 wash basin, 1 plate, 1 pint
drinking mug, 1 knife and fork, 2 spoons, 3 lbs.
marine soap.
" £1 Ship-kit : 1 bed and pillow, 1 pair of
blankets, 1 pair of sheets, 1 counterpane, 1
water bottle, 1 wash basin, 1 plate, 1 pint drink-
ing mug, 1 quart, 1 knife and fork, 2 spoons,
3 lbs. marine soap, 1 slop-pail.
" The clothing, which it is considered necessary
that persons should possess before they em-
bark, they have, of course, to obtain for them-
selves. As provided in the ' Instructions,' they
must have clothing about equal to the following
list of articles (see, also, Government pamphlet,
page 16, and here appended) : -
For Males.-6 shirts, 6 pairs of stockings, 2
warm flannel or Guernsey shirts, 2 pairs of new
shoes, 2 complete suits of strong exterior cloth-
ing.
" For Females.-6 shifts, 2 warm and strong
flannel petticoats, 6 pairs of stockings, 2 pairs
of strong shoes, 2 strong gowns, one of which
must be warm.
" I may here appropriately speak of arrange-
ments I am now making for securing the supply
of those necessaries called ship-kit to all remit-
tance emigrants, by requiring them all to pay
the usual amount into this office, like the other
free and assisted passengers. I should have
deferred this until I had communicated
with the Government on the subject,
but, in reply to a letter I have written
the Emigration Commissioners, soliciting their
advice and assistance in taking precaution-
ary measures against cholera in our ships, they
have expressed very decidedly the opinion that
no one should be allowed to take any but new
bedding on board ; and experience shows me
that the only way of securing this, and the most
economical to the passengers, is to furnish them
in the usual way, through an outfitter, who
supplies them at the lowest possible price, of
one uniform size, filling the berths, and made of
materials which are not objectionable. As you
are probably aware, the Commissioners strictly
prohibit the use of feather beds in their ships,
and I have thought it important to adopt the
same rule.


More investigating of Shadwell Basin, where the City of Brisbane left from in 1862, got me these:
https://alondoninheritance.com/londonpubs/the-prospect-of-whitby-and-shadwell-basin/
not som much about what they wore and did, but where they could have left from
&
http://spitalfieldslife.com/ e.g. Watermen’s Stairs March 14, 2019
& http://spitalfieldslife.com/2012/04/01/in-the-footsteps-of-charles-dickens-in-shadwell-limehouse/
It has little Dickens excerpts with pics
e.g. Shadwell Church, where they talk about what emigrants took on board, from The Uncommercial Traveller, Bound for the Great Salt Lake
& marine store dealers, which talks about the clothing and more that sailors pawned or sold, from ”Sketches by “Boz”, Illustrative of Every-Day Life and Every-Day People, 1836.

Thanks again

Offline jaybelnz

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Re: What did people wear and do on sailing ships in the 1840s, 50s & 60s?
« Reply #16 on: Friday 15 March 19 09:13 GMT (UK) »
Hhhhhh
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Offline loobylooayr

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Re: What did people wear and do on sailing ships in the 1840s, 50s & 60s?
« Reply #17 on: Friday 15 March 19 09:42 GMT (UK) »
Not the Oz passage but an idea on the conditions endured by emigrants to the US at that time can be got from Robert Louis Stevenson's "An Amateur Emigrant!" who crossed from the Clyde to New York on an emigrant ship. You can read this account online!

Skoosh.

Thanks for this Skoosh - I'm writing a short story based on an ancestor's voyage from the Clyde to New York in the mid 1880s . Stevenson's account (which I never new existed) will give me an insight to what the journey was like.

Looby :)