It is noticeable that songs about steamboats rarely mention any of the sailors apart from the occasional mention of the Captain. The songs were written for landlubbers and naturally concentrated on the passengers with whom the prospective purchaser of the song could identify. Sailors had to wait until Plimsoll's campaign of the 1860s until broadsides like 'The Unseaworthy Ship'{V20171} told of their plight and illustrated it with a woodcut of a paddle steamer.

Almost all wrecks happened near to shore and many ballads tell of the heart-rending cries of the drowning.

In the face of all these disasters we are bound to ask why did anybody in their right mind step aboard a steamship. The answer is that a voyage in a sailing vessel was at least as dangerous and generally more dangerous than one in a steamer. (for example, between 1830 and 1900 70% of all the sailing ships of the Tyne were lost at sea). Sailors could expect to be wrecked several times during the course of their career.

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From Peter Strongbow, New York, to His...

bar056: Dates 1835~1841|

In order to escape the police and bailiffs, Peter takes a steam ship which is wrecked. He is washed ashore in America and found by Yankees who...

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Loss of the Governor Fenner

bar231: Dates 1841~1841|

Governor Fenner sank in the Mersey following collision with steamship Nottingham.

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The President Steam Ship

bar247: Dates 1841~1841|

Loss of transatlantic paddle steamer President.

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Rothsay Castle Shipwreck

bar489: Dates 1831~1832|

Translation of a welsh song telling the story of the wreck of the paddle steamer Rothsay Castle

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Burning of the Montreal

bar048: Dates 1887~1857|

Story of the tragedy

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Collision of Dublin and Belfast steamers

bar592: Dates 1856~1856|

story of the accident.

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Foundering of the Hibernia,

bar130: Dates 1868~1868|

24 Nov 1868, foundered 700 miles from the Irish coast as a result of accident to propeller shaft, 78 lives lost

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Unfortunate Victims Scalded to Death on...

bar602: Dates 1853~----|

 Story of the disaster of June 1853

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The Burning of the Steamer City of...

bar610: Dates 1887~1887|

Macgonnagal's poem on the disaster

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