This project engages with two groups of marine workers: 'British' sailors, which often included other Europeans, and the non-European sailors known as 'lascars'.
The Great Hall at the Strangers' Home West India Dock Road, The Graphic, 1889.
In the nineteenth century, the British Merchant Marine was transformed by the employment of 'Lascars', a term used for seamen predominately from Asia, as well as Africa and the Caribbean. On the outbreak of war in 1914, 30% of merchant crews were born abroad. The majority were lascars, who comprised 1 in 6 of these men.
During the 1800s, British sailors, along with many European sailors from Scandinavia and the Baltic, were essential to Britain's marine industries. Despite facing dangerous working conditions, language and cultural challenges, these seafarers significantly contributed to Britain's maritime dominance in a time of booming coastal and global trade and exploration.
In this section we look at some of the key men and women who were patrons, founders, and missionaries, involved in the lives of seafarers, who came from around the world, to British ports.