From the days of sail to the majestic ocean liners of the twentieth century, this is a history of British sea travel from a passenger's point of view. Each chapter narrates one traveller's voyage based on their first-hand description, and the day-to-day details of their experience. Their stories, some previously unpublished, illustrate the evolution of journeys by sea, exploring three and a half centuries of maritime travel. Simon Wills transports readers from Elizabethan times to the eve of the Second World War, on voyages to destinations all over the world. The passengers featured in this book came from all walks of life, and travelled for many different reasons. There were emigrants seeking a new life abroad, such as the pilgrims on the Mayflower, and others hoping to be reunited with their families like Phoebe Amory on the ill-fated Lusitania in 1915. The author Henry Fielding travelled to improve his health, whilst the wealthy George Moore crossed the Atlantic on Brunel's Great Western to do business.
Yet, whether travelling in steerage or first class, every passenger could experience trials and tribulations at sea - from delayed sailing schedules and poor diet, to the greater hazards of disease, enemy action, and shipwreck. This engaging collection of stories illustrates the excitements, frustrations, and dangers of sea travel for our forebears. Family historians will perhaps identify with a voyage taken by an ancestor, while those with an interest in maritime or social history can explore how passenger pursuits, facilities, and experiences at sea have developed over time.
Simon Wills has been researching maritime ancestors for over 25 years, and he writes for a variety of national genealogy and social history magazines including Discover Your History, Who Do You Think You Are? magazine, and Family Tree. Simon also has a long-standing interest in the history of healthcare and works part-time as an information adviser to the NHS.