On Wednesday, May 20, 1891, eighteen year old George T. Swales and his seven year old niece, Mary Ellen, boarded the City of Richmond steamship at the Liverpool Landing Stage. The two were bound for the New York City harbor and from there would travel to Jamestown, New York in the remote western county of Chautauqua. In Jamestown they would meet up with George’s sister Rose, the mother of little Mary Ellen. Rose had emigrated to the area the previous summer.
For more information on Jamestown and why Rose may have moved there, check out this previous post.
Little did anyone know, the voyage from May 20 to May 30 would be the last Liverpool-Queenstown to New York trip that the City of Richmond would ever make. Half way into its return from New York back to Queenstown and Liverpool, fire broke out spontaneously in the cargo hold among the 2000 bales of cotton meant for the Lancashire textile district. Luckily, the crew acted quickly and by forcing water and steam into the ship’s hold, were able to contain the fire. The cotton continued to smolder for the remainder of the trip. The above photo shows the actual cover of the weekly newspaper, The Graphic, for June 20,1891. A passenger’s sketch inspired the drawing of the flaming cotton bales being extinguished on the night the fire was discovered. For a June 14, 1891 article regarding the fire, check out this link.
The Blackpool Tower, in Blackpool, Lancashire opened 120 years ago today.
The city of Blackpool was a popular summer vacation destination of the Lancashire textile workers from the mid 1800’s through the most of the 1900’s. The seaside city was one of George and Rosanna’s favorite places to spend the traditional “wakes week” holiday when they lived in Lancashire.
The above postcard is one of many Blackpool cards from Rosanna’s collection.
For more information on the 120th anniversary of the Blackpool Tower, check out this article in the Blackpool Gazette.