Coastwise from Cumberland : Maryport coastal trade, 1855-1889

Clarke, David J. (1997) Coastwise from Cumberland : Maryport coastal trade, 1855-1889. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the British port of Maryport, with an emphasis on its coastal trade. During the period 1855 through 1889 Maryport boasted a lively trade, extending from Wales to Scotland and across the Irish Sea. Although a variety of products were involved, the lion's share of Maryport's shipping, especially across the Irish Sea, was based on the coal industry. This trade, involving Maryport and larger centres such as Belfast, Dublin, Londonderry and Liverpool, will be examined with a focus on three specific facets. The first is coastal capital, that is the actual ships involved and the investors who bought them. Second, there is the human capital, the crews who manned Maryport's coasters, from masters down to apprentices. Third, we will look at the actual voyages made by coastal vessels. This section will also focus attention on the Irish Sea and the coal industry—the physical boundary of the voyages and the industry which spurred many of them. -- This study is one of the few to examine specifically the coastal trade of a single British port. Although there are numerous essays on the general shipping of UK ports, most study foreign or colonial shipping, with only passing reference to the portion of trade comprised by coasters. Since the tonnage of British coasting prior to the 1890s was much greater than deep-sea shipping, it stands to reason that a substantial part of many ports' trade was accounted for by coasters.1 This was certainly the case in Maryport, where coasting accounted for a third of all shipping tonnage entering and clearing as late as 1900. Since so little has been written on this portion of any port's trade, this thesis makes an important contribution to the literature. -- This study demonstrates that Maryport coasting retained much of its sail character well into the age of steam. Despite this, the coastal trades continued to be important into the new century. This is another side of British coasting, where the bulk of scholarly work has been done on trades most receptive to technological change. It also challenges the belief that only innovative trades enjoyed long-term success, particularly in the late Victorian period. The essentially local nature of Maryport's shipping, both in terms of investors and the men who actually crewed the vessels, is stressed. From the middle of the nineteenth century, extensive sea links were maintained with western England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland's east coast. In this respect, the thesis is not only the story of a single port but also says much about the United Kingdom's Irish Sea trade in general.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/855
Item ID: 855
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [155]-164
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1997
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: England--Maryport
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Coastwise shipping--England--Maryport--History; Coasters (Ships)--England--Maryport;Coal trade--England--Maryport--History

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