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04 Jan 2008 338 views
 
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photoblog image The Emigrants

The Emigrants


In 1821 the British Government relaxed the anti-emigration laws that were in place making it easier for people to emigrate to America. Liverpool was growing as a port in the early 19th century and had good  passenger traffic links with New York, many shipping lines were created to work the traffic in people and goods.

The emigration movement reached its peak in the 1840s and 1850s, many came frm England, Scotland and Ireland, but they also came from European countries, forced out by war and economic disasters. They passed through Liverpool on their way to the new worlds of America and Australia.

Between 1819 and 1859 it is estimated that 5 million emigrants sailed to the USA and half a million to Canada. Not a romantic journey for many though, crammed in steerage with up to a thousand peolpe, many of whom had not been to sea before. Tossed into a world of ropes, sheets, yards, sailor's oaths, wet and heaving decks and miserable food.

It was not just to America either, more emigrants sailed to Australia from Liverpool than from any other part of the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

This statue of a young family commemorates migration from Liverpool to that new world.

It was given to the people of Liverpool by the Mormon Church as a tribute to the many families from all over Europe who embarked on a brave and pioneering voyage from Liverpool to start a new life in America.

The sculpture by Mark DeGraffenried is cast in bronze. The child stepping forward at the front symbolises migration to the unknown world whilst the child playing with a crab at the back indicates a deep association with the sea.



The Emigrants


In 1821 the British Government relaxed the anti-emigration laws that were in place making it easier for people to emigrate to America. Liverpool was growing as a port in the early 19th century and had good  passenger traffic links with New York, many shipping lines were created to work the traffic in people and goods.

The emigration movement reached its peak in the 1840s and 1850s, many came frm England, Scotland and Ireland, but they also came from European countries, forced out by war and economic disasters. They passed through Liverpool on their way to the new worlds of America and Australia.

Between 1819 and 1859 it is estimated that 5 million emigrants sailed to the USA and half a million to Canada. Not a romantic journey for many though, crammed in steerage with up to a thousand peolpe, many of whom had not been to sea before. Tossed into a world of ropes, sheets, yards, sailor's oaths, wet and heaving decks and miserable food.

It was not just to America either, more emigrants sailed to Australia from Liverpool than from any other part of the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

This statue of a young family commemorates migration from Liverpool to that new world.

It was given to the people of Liverpool by the Mormon Church as a tribute to the many families from all over Europe who embarked on a brave and pioneering voyage from Liverpool to start a new life in America.

The sculpture by Mark DeGraffenried is cast in bronze. The child stepping forward at the front symbolises migration to the unknown world whilst the child playing with a crab at the back indicates a deep association with the sea.



comments (12)

  • Ginnie
  • United States
  • 4 Jan 2008, 01:40
This is a very touching tribute, Les, to a group of people very much in the news these days, at least in America. I love the lighting on this statue and the fact that it's so close to the sea!
Les Auld: Thanks Ginnie, it has know been moved to the other side of the dock and it is not as good a position for getting a decent image, but still close to where many emigrants left for worlds new.
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 4 Jan 2008, 07:31
This is a very dear picture to me, love the story you wrote, my only brother emigrated to Canada 35 years ago, became Canadian citizin last year, no need to say I am touched by this capture!!!
Les Auld: Thanks Astrid, appreciate it that you liked the words as well.
A fine study Les
Les Auld: Thanks Chris, appreciate the comment.
Very nice tribute Les, by the story and the image
Les Auld: Thanks Richard, it is a picture I have had in mind for a long time.
  • Ann
  • SucÚ sur Erdre - France
  • 4 Jan 2008, 11:29
Nice tribute to them ... They seem to be alive ...
Les Auld: thanks Ann, it really is well sculptured.
  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 4 Jan 2008, 12:02
Very educational blog today and a great picture of the statue. In 1820 a first group of british settlers emigrated to South Africa for political reasons that I leave out of this. They landed in the area that is now known as Port Elizabeth and were given tracts of land to farm by the british government. The settlers being mostly city people dug trenches of 3 feet and planted whatever they wished to grow. Grain, potatoes, etc. In this way they used up the last assistance from the then government and found themselves up the creek without a paddle. Things did come right in the end, so not too many perished - only those who fell prey to the wild animals.

Point of the comment is that I think very few people realise what it took to emigrate - the 1820 wave to SA were aided - those going after 1821 were not aided. We know about sweat houses in NY and what happened there. For many it was from the frying pan into the fire.

To say that these people were courageous may not be entirely right. Misguided (by whomever) may be closer to the truth.

There is probably no such statistic, but it would be interesting to know what percentage dreams of emigrants actually realised.
Les Auld: Thanks Louis. I think many of us today have no idea of the circumstances that would persuade people to opt for a solution they know nothing about. Many were beset by con men and thieves at both ends of the journey and many certainly di not achieve their dreams.
  • mickyboy
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 4 Jan 2008, 14:14
Just great. great tribute to some brave people. To up sticks and go so far away is brave indeed.
Les Auld: Thanks Mike, I am fairly certain I would not have the courage to do so.
  • Bill Phillips
  • Droitwich..it has gone all grey and drizzle
  • 4 Jan 2008, 15:35
This looks a wonderful statue and reading your and Louis's comments makes you realise how people have moved around to find a better life. Many probably never found one.
Les Auld: How true Bill, thanks for the comment.
  • tim
  • leeds, uk
  • 4 Jan 2008, 18:12
you really should write a book about Liverpool, what with the superb photo's to go with your history, you would have a best seller Les....smile
Les Auld: Thanks Tim, there are plenty of books about Liverpool, many on my shelf here, so I don't think there is much room for another one. Nice idea though.
Very emotive piece of sculpture and I love the colour and light you have captured on it. (:o)
Les Auld: Thanks Rosalyn, I was surprised when I found out that it had been donated by the Mormon church. It is so full of character that you can not see it all in one picture.
Touching history Les. Of course migration is still going strong today, with Britain as a destination for many - people can be very down on 'economic migrants' but I think switching countries and cultures can't be easy for anyone at any time.
Les Auld: I can only agree Ian, it is estimated that more than 9 million people passed through Liverpool on their way to a new life.
Nicely done and really interresting text to read !
Thank you !!
Les Auld: Thanks Zeb, glad you like it.

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