17 February 2011 by Sarah Starkey
There has been a recent change to the regulations regarding the number of non-EU immigrants that can work in the UK. In 1850 emigration from the UK was seen as a good way for the unemployed to seek new opportunities. Government supported emigration required more regulation. This image from the Illustrated London News shows the Medical Inspectors Office. Destination countries obviously wanted healthy new arrivals and the spread of disease on a crowded emigrant ship could cause many deaths. I hope that dog isn’t being left behind.
As emigrates were leaving, as the name suggests, there was not much interest from the authorities in recording information about them, to the frustration of family historians. More information is found in the countries to which they were travelling. However, the Maritime Archives & Library does hold a good collection of journals and letters that give some insight into the emigrant experience. Most voyage experience follow roughly the same pattern – excitement and sadness at leaving, smugness at their good sea legs, terrible seasickness once out of the Mersey, then settling down into a routine broken only by food and an obsession with the weather, and back to excitement once their destination is sighted. They actually make very good reading.
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