Samuel Plimsoll Further Reading

Samuel Plimsoll, this miniature painting measures a petite 19.6 x 24.8 cm (7¾” x 9¾”).

Plymouth, the ‘Samuel Plimsoll’

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Samuel Plimsoll was launched by the celebrated Mr. Samuel Plimsoll MP, known as “the sailor’s friend”, in October 1873 (September 1873 according to Lloyd’s List) .

The beautiful green hull clipper Samuel Plimsoll  made 15 successful and mostly very quick round voyages.

This fast clipper  loaded migrants from the Plymouth depot, bound for South Australia and she annually sailed for 15 years, returning with wool while racing other clippers.

Something for Plymouthians to be proud of, Plymouth during the 19 th century was the most advanced most, popular, British migration depot.


Samuel Plimsoll was an iron clipper ship built by Hood of Aberdeen, Scotland of very similar lines as the famous Cutty Sark and Thermopylae.

The ship “Samuel Plimsoll” was very well equipped to the most modern standards of the period and intended from the outset for the migrant trade with Australia and New Zealand.

Samuel Plimsoll was regularly converted to carry migrants from London and Plymouth including

for unmarried men and women in separate cabins  and a doctor was always shipped on board.


Samuel Plimsol, clipper
Gilbert Duval with the unfinished frame

Monsieur Duval had been given a beautiful, antique, a small frame to restore with new gold leaf and having long admired my #painting “Plymouth, Emigration“, he asked me to paint this miniature measuring a petite 19.6 x 24.8 cm (7¾” x 9¾”)

Thus we have the clipper ship “Samuel Plimsoll” at Plymouth loading migrants.


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According to the Northern Star, 23.11.1898:
One of the best known, as well as one of the fastest identified with the trade between the Old Country and Australia, the SAMUEL PLIMSOLL“.


Fate : Samuel Plimsoll ended her days ignominiously in Fremantle Harbour having been converted into a coal hulk.

A salute to the ship and her people, this little painting  becomes a part of the big story of the rightly famous man who launched this successful ship and gave her his name, the ‘Samuel Plimsoll‘.


The Location

Plymouth, Devon, the Samuel Plimsoll is shown moored, loading migrants and about to sail,

in the phrase of those days, “ready in all respects for sea”, from Plymouth’s famous Cattewater, where so many famous voyages began.


The middle background shows us  Mount Batten where in ancient times archaeologists tell is Phoenicians traded on the beach for tin.

Mount Batten is unmistakable, with its quarry, its distinctive Martello Tower and at that time, new breakwater built to give additional shelter to Sutton Harbour on the shores of which Plymouth grew out of the Saxon village of South Ham.


The far background shows us Jennycliff and part of ‘The Breakwater’ and the extensive anchorage of Plymouth Sound.

In the distance with a keen eye, one sees the Mew Stone rocks.


You can discover more via my painting and linked further reading page ‘Emigration, Plymouth Australia


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Gordon Frickers © 17.08.2019 updated 16.05.2020

[This Gordon Frickers, art signature is on all my more recent paintings]