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MerriTudor
01-06-2018, 12:20 AM
I have an MC who travels from London to New York on a Cunard line ship in December, 1899.

That's the plan, anyway. I've Googled the heck out of this, and found that the average crossing would be 6-9 days, but was unable to determine if this could even happen in December. I assumed it could, but you know what happens when you assume!

Were these ships seasonal? If you needed to get back to the US from Europe in the dead of winter were you just out of luck?

It also occurred to me that maybe she'd have to actually sail from Liverpool, not from London?

Anyone here know about this stuff? Or could direct me to some resources?

Thanks for any clues!

Marissa D
01-06-2018, 12:44 AM
I've done some research on this for a back-burnered story set in 1901, so close enough. Yes, Liverpool would have been the probable embarking point. And while there were probably fewer ships in winter, transatlantic travel didn't stop.

MerriTudor
01-08-2018, 11:28 PM
I've done some research on this for a back-burnered story set in 1901, so close enough. Yes, Liverpool would have been the probable embarking point. And while there were probably fewer ships in winter, transatlantic travel didn't stop.

Thank you, Marissa, and thank you to your back-burnered story! Whew. I'll get her to Liverpool in time for departure. ;)

MDSchafer
01-09-2018, 05:09 AM
You might want to read Thunderstruck by Erik Larson. It's an incredibly well written and researched narrative history novel that covers the Crippen murder and Marconi's invention of the cross-Atlantic wireless network. It's set in 1910, but has a ton of good details about transatlantic passenger travel. You might also want to check out Larson's Dead Wake, it covers the sinking of the Lusitania in 1911.

jclarkdawe
01-15-2018, 12:21 AM
London adds at least a day onto your sailing time. Liverpool or somewhere else on the west or south coasts would be the starting point.

I think 6 - 9 days is a bit faster then I would expect in 1899. Winter sailing times would be longer as the ships traveled a longer distance to avoid the cold and ice of the northern Atlantic. Speed increased a lot after 1900 as the bigger ships with more horsepower were developed. The progress in ship building from 1870 to 1920 is incredible, but there's a lot of difference between years.

Winter in the north Atlantic is a tough time. People traveled at that time because they had to, not because they wanted to. Most of the passengers would spend their time being seasick, as the seas were very rough. Sailings would be based on passenger need, and the need would be a lot less in winter. In the summer in 1910 Cunard would be twice a week. Probably in winter you're more likely to see twice a month.

However, balancing point is the need for the mail to move. This could be spread between several carriers, though.

Best thing to do would be to go down to a library that has microfilm copies of newspapers in that period for New York City. Look at the advertisements. They can tell you exactly who was departing when. Shipping was big news then. (It still is for the people who need to deal with it.)

Peabody Museum in Salem, MA is an incredible resource. https://www.pem.org/

Jim Clark-Dawe

Kitsune
01-31-2018, 05:36 PM
My family has a sometimes annoying habit of recording everything and I do mean everything in journals. From the major events in ones life (ie moving to a new place, ww1 start, ww2 start, etc) to the petty stuff like gossip and grudges.

I know I have several first hand accounts of family traveling from Europe over to the new world, probably at least one from the English, Irish, or Scottish side of my family. If you like I could dig them up, type them up (in a more modern language because it hurts my brain the way they spoke sometimes) and send them to you. I was reading an account a while back from the Irish side that detailed an across Atlantic journey. From the conditions to the individual's thoughts and ponderings to even some conversations and of course the gossip. It also detailed how she was treated as a Irish immigrant alone and female. Most of the journals are quite fascinating and I usually have some that I loan to the museum for research purposes (I don't really want my family's thoughts and personal stuff broadcast to the public so it's not displayed) and when they finish I get it back and give them others.) I'm not quite certain of what years those particular journeys were made so it might not be relevant at all.