FROM CABIN 'BOYS' TO CAPTAINS: 250 Years of Women at Sea


FROM CABIN 'BOYS' TO CAPTAINS: 250 Years of Women at Sea

JO STANLEY    Book Number: 86086    Product format: Paperback

The image of the girl who follows her lover to sea dressed as a cabin boy is the basis of many a romantic novel, and an appendix to this fascinating book lists 49 women who joined the Merchant Navy, Royal Navy or Marines disguised as men between 1690 and 1899. In the late 17th century a few women were officially employed aboard as laundresses and nurses, traditional women's roles, and a breakthrough was achieved in 1821 when women were appointed as stewardesses on passenger ships. Shortly afterwards "matrons" are recorded as watching the behaviour and morals of female convicts being transported to the colonies or on prison ships. The first woman to captain a ship was Betsy Miller in 1833, when its master, her brother, died in an accident. Betsy acted tough, took over control and ran the company for the next 30 years. Kate Tyrell was the owner and navigator of a schooner carrying brick and tiles in the late 19th century, but Board of Trade records omit her name, suggesting that other women captains may also have been erased from history. The 20th century saw a steady rise in qualified women seafarers, starting with Catherine Leith as the first woman purser's assistant in 1908. By the mid-century, ex-Wrens were widely employed as assistant pursers, but were often treated with unwelcome chivalry and given a feminised version of the work. In the 1970s women served on warships, and in the 21st century even Cunard and P&O now have female captains. 304pp, paperback, black and white photos.
Published price: £20
Bibliophile price: £5.00


Additional product information

ISBN 9780752488783
Browse these categories as well: History, Transport

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