Date: 20th February 2018
Location: The Institute of Historical Research, University of London, Senate House, London WE1E 7HU
Time: 17:15 in Wolfson Room I
Dr Caroline Withall, National Maritime Museum
The forgotten boys of the sea: Marine Society merchant sea apprentices, 1772-1854
Dr Caroline Withall will explore the lives of poor boys who went to sea during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Meet apprentices like Edward Kelly, who was beaten so badly he lost the use of his arm, William Cakebread, who was jailed for smuggling, and William Brook, a ‘boy of colour’ recommended by the Lord Mayor of London.
Where did these boys come from? Who employed them and how were they treated? Where were they sent? Did they find better lives at sea? Did they run away? How many of them survived?
The Marine Society is well known for sending boys to the Royal Navy but, as this seminar will show, supplying apprentices for merchant ships became the society’s main focus. Dr Withall will also address broader social and economic issues within British and maritime history, drawing upon data on over 22,000 of these ‘forgotten’ boys.