A Rigger's Licence

Contributed by The BBC Bus

Rita Flanagan - 12/07/2010

This license was issued to my great great uncle to act as a rigger on a sailing ship around 1890. The license appears to have been signed in April 1887. Liverpool was a very important port in those days and ships sailed from there all over the world. The rigging was part of the overall strength of the ship. As a rigger you had to be very fit and able to cope with the difficult conditions.

Discovering this license again has whetted my appetite to find out more about the history of life on board a big sailing ship in the 1890s.

Liverpool's Maritime Museum has a rigger's log book written one year after my great great uncle's license was issued. This is just a short extract

"We had some sail set out and this got torn to pieces on account of spars shifting. Nothing could be done but to have hands go aloft so as to free the rigging. At the time the ship was rolling very heavily. At midnight the Captain was hit by the sailyard and knocked down on the deck insensible".

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Signed in 1887


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