This weeks find is courtesy of Helen, one of our Neighbourhood Engagement and Delivery Officers.  She found and liked this small scrapbook of cuttings about a Blackley man and his exciting voyage.

Mr J White, manager at F Cawley and Co, Printworks in Blackley was a passenger on the steamship “Sarnia” travelling from Montreal to Liverpool in 1893.  Here is his story told by his own scrapbook.

Mr J White cuttings book contents“Cuttings relative to the home voyage of the steamship “Sarnia” from the 31st July to the 1st September, 1893.”

Back in 1893 communications and travel were very different to today.  There wasn’t any Facebook or Twitter.  Email hadn’t been invented.  Commercial airlines were a good few years in the distance.  If you wanted to travel from Montreal to Liverpool, as Mr White did, then you had to be willing to spend around 10 days, and sometimes more, at sea.  While you were at sea, your family and friends didn’t expect to hear from you.  Very unlike today with our constant social media updates from airport passenger lounges.  However, when Sarnia has been at sea for almost four weeks, people were starting to worry.

Mr J White cuttings book lostDespite the obvious concern, there was a sense of optimism in this news report of 28th August 1893.

Mr J White cuttings book worriedFinally on 30th August, a telegram arrived letting everyone know that Sarnia, it’s crew and passengers were safe.  They had suffered from a broken propeller shaft and were being towed to Queenstown by the steamer Monte Videan.

Mr J White cuttings book telegramMr White’s friends and family at home in Blackley gave him an ecstatic welcome as this cutting shows.

Mr J White cuttings book safeThe workers at Cawley’s didn’t get their general holiday, but they did all get an invitation to tea at Belle Vue in order to celebrate Mr White’s safe return.

Mr J White cuttings book invitationThis final cutting says that 120 staff attended the tea at Belle Vue and it sounds like they all had a fantastic time.  Particularly amusing is the quote from Mr White who said that he would not have missed the experience for £1000, but added that he would not go again for £10,000.

Mr J White celebration

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