Disasters and Calamities, 1840-1867
Group of sailors, about 1880, copied for F. Scott in 1926
Anonyme - Anonymous
1926, 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin silver process
25 x 20 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords: male (26812) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
Keys to History
In the 19th century, most seamen, generally hired by officers working out of a specific home port, came from different countries, since they were recruited at ports of call. Seamen had a hard life, and they were often endangered by the raging seas over which they sailed. Under high winds, the boat tossed and rolled over dangerously as sometimes gigantic waves swept over the bridge. Since seamen suffered deprivation during long voyages at sea, when they came on land, they indulged - sometimes excessively - in the good things they had missed. However, they would have to go back to sea soon enough!
The captain, surrounded by sailors in characteristic dress, is holding a sextant, one of the main instruments he used to check the boat's position.
In ports such as Montreal and Quebec City, sailors visited chapels where they prayed for protection during their next crossing.
During the entire 19th century, but especially in the first half, trade with the United Kingdom and the United States favoured the hiring of thousands of sailors aboard merchant ships.
Sailors aboard ships registered in Windsor between 1848 and 1914 came from the United Kingdom, the United States, Norway, Sweden and Germany.