Overview of the Songs and Poems in this Category:

The items in this category come from a variety of sources reflecting the rapid adoption of steamboat travel by people of all classes as a both a pleasure in itself and as a means to travel to pleasure resorts, especially the seaside.

The categories river Boats Before and After 1851 also include items touching on the pleasure of steam boat travel.

Main Themes and Motifs

- The pleasures of steamboat travel
- Steamboats as a means of escaping the smoke and noise of cities
- The pleasures to be had at resorts


1810-19  106
1820-29  616
1850-59  426; 655; 738
1860-69  295
1910-19  154


Historical Background

Tourism was an important part of the steamboat economy from the outset. The cargo loaded and unloaded itself; during the course of the trip it could be sold food and drink (and plenty of it); and it might be induced to give money to entertainers busking a living.
Steamboat songs are songs of the cities, when the countryside is mentioned it is as a place of resort away from smoke and noise.
The continuing association of the steamboat with enjoyment and freedom from the daily grind ensured that it was the object of affection in popular songs well into the 20th century.


Sources (texts, music) & Publishing data

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Eagle Steam Packet, the; or, a Trip to...

bar106: Dates 1816~1819|

The passage from Newcastle to Sunderland and back, and the rough weather encountered.

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Charitable Steam to the Nore

bar616: Dates 1818~1828|

Bar616 [Synopsis] 

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Hey! Ho! Can't you Hear the Steamer?

bar154: Dates 1913~1913|

Describes the delights of a pleasure trip. A British song heavily influenced by American popular music.

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On the Sands (The weather was hot...)

bar295: Dates 1861~0|

Man travels by steamboat to Margate  and has misadventures in a bathing machine.

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Funny Doings at New Brighton

bar655: Dates 1850~----|

The pleasures of an excursion by steamer to New Brighton including, dancing, drinking and sexual encounters.

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Glasgow Religion

bar738: Dates 1853~1853|

A poem inspired by the Emperor incident.

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