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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Humber

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Immigration and Emigration
SS Cato
The SS Cato belonged to the Wilson Line of Hull who dominated the transmigrants trade in during the 19th and early 20th Centuries.

© Courtesy of Hull Maritime Museum
A piece of Britain that shall forever remain foreign

For anyone familiar with the subject of European history, one period stands out alone as the epoch when mass migration, on a scale never before imaginable, saw over 60 million Europeans move to the far flung corners of the world.

Between 1830 and 1914 an increasingly mobile Europe was equipped with steam trains, steam ships and reliable systems of communication. As competition between rival providers of transport intensified in the late nineteenth century, and as demand from the consumer to experience such travel emerged, Europeans were increasingly able to leave their native homelands in search of political freedom, social opportunity and the economic advancement.

Britain played an essential role in this migration, as a stop-gap between Europe and America. Many of our ports grew to cope with the increasing demands placed upon them by this migration; new structures were erected to house, clothe, feed and transport the travellers, but very few of them remain. One living memory of this migration remains, in Hull, in the form of a railway platform.

Words: Nicholas J. Evans More...

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Your comments

1 Raymond P. Williams from San Francisco, USA - 31 October 2003
"Enjoyed your article on Hull's roll in the migration of those looking for a better way of life. I have visited Hull and stood on the very platform shown in the article. I had no Idea that I was standing in the same place my grandfather (Emil Volkmann) had stood some 100 years before on his way from Rahoff, East Prussa to Liverpool, New York and finally; San Francisco. As if this were not enough, my paternal grandfather (John Francis Knowden Williams) had emigrated from Liverpool in 1853 as a ships carpenter and ultimatly found his way first to Austraila and in the 1880's to San Francisco. It is truly a small world! Thank You"

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