Time to use your imaginations.
You’re a strong-willed factory worker at the beginning of the golden age of industry in dead of winter,,,,England,,,,1864. You’ve worked in a steel smelter since you were 7 years old, so you know nothing else,,,,but the old salts tell the tales of grand flying birds of white on the sea, flowing with the wind. At the age of 20, the typhoid has taken your mother but your father is still alive, working 18 hour days in the harbor, most often spending all the money on cheap booze and floozies. You’re bright enough to know there’s not much of a life for you in the factory and you want to control your destiny,,,,especially in January English weather as you toil to run a smelter engine. Another year goes by,,,,and you’ve learned to read from one of your younger sisters who’s still alive and the nanny who looks after her own children as well as your siblings,,,all 19 of them crammed into two rooms of a second floor flat. From a paper you pull out of the trash to light a fire with,,,your imagination lights up,,,,a steamship built in England has caught the fancy of the King of Brazil. Emperor Pedro the II visits the massive ship 1865 while ported in Brazil to look at its innovative steam engine technology and its massive bronze propeller, the first such ship so equipped to visit Brazil. A fast and seaworthy ship, she’s coming home to England to prepare for another run to the East Indies and South America,,,,but even third class passage is a massive amount of quid for a factory laborer in 1865 England. You will need to work overtime and save everything if you ever want to afford passage and means to eat,,,,but perhaps you make this a two-year goal? From 1865 to 1866 you save every penny, avoid the bars and betties with your mates and slowly come to realize you may be able to afford passage on a massive steam ship,,,,but there’s another problem. On a ship this size,,,,there are many First and Second Class berth spaces available, because that’s where there’s money to be made. But in third class, there’s only 30 berthing spaces, so you’ll have to get one of those spaces quickly. In the 1860’s ships that sold passage across the sea,,,,the third and fourth class passengers were treated worse than the livestock,,,often with third and fourth class as far below decks as possible with NO ventilation, buckets for heads and positioned mid-line, above the ships ballast. This created terrible groaning sound effects, thus third class was usually between the bottom of the ship,,,,and hell. The same massive and innovative ship completes her last run to Brazil in early 1867 and is soon put into East Indies service,,,,,where fast ships were run hard to deliver a new trend throughout the British Imperial Holdings,,,,mail. Back in England,,,,you decide to go all in,,,,and purchase a third class bunk the day they go on sale on board one of these famed flying mail carriers,,,,the same ship that Emperor Pedro the II had stepped aboard in 1865,,,,the Royal Mail Ship, Rhone.
I’ve been on board the RMS Rhone several times myself,,,,but now she’s under a blanket of Caribbean Ocean, the last resting place of many like the young man described above. I’ll finish my story tomorrow night,,,,but best of all will be LOTS of pictures from our one of our very own Blog photographers. So stay with us and tell your friends. If you like us,,,,follow us,,,we’re growing and we need your support. And if you’re some of the folks from France or other places who looked over and possibly followed this blog in the last few days,,,,thanks.