Monthly Archives: August 2017

Sailor’s Grievances

A life at sea is not an easy one on many different levels. But when the crew of a ship fail to deliver on their contracts it is harder still. Edward Weddall had spent over half of his life at sea when in July 1883 he wrote to the Shipping and Mercantile Gazette. His writing was in response to a Mr. W. Clark Russell’s letter who wrote to the publication about hard working life of sailors. 

Edward Weddall was aggrieved at this and wrote immediately to give his opinion on the matter. From Sailors jumping ship to tardy firemen and errant doctors, the captain experienced all of the above on one voyage.

Mr Clark Russell responded to the captain’s letter, this time he was more sympathetic to the sea captains. Emily’s husband was well able to make his point.



Shipping and Mercantile Gazette 26 July 1883
Shipping and Mercantile Gazette 02 August 1883

Emily Weddall 1

Edward Weddall married Emily Soutter at Eton Buckinghamshire on May 27 1871. He was 27 and she 23. Emily, unlike the rest of her family was born in London in 1848. She was a daughter of an ironmonger from Hedon, Yorkshire. Her parents Selina and Joseph Soutter appeared to have only one other child, Clara who was two years Emily’s junior and curiously were both baptized the same day.

Emily’s birth family is shrouded in mystery, it appears that her father Joseph went to America at some stage and died there in 1870. Her mother Selina and sister Clara disappeared from records altogether, suggesting they died. The Soutters lived in a time when an accident or even a fever could take you easily. It was the age before antibiotics or medication that alleviate fever easily.

Emily went live with her uncle and aunt, William and Catherine (twin sister of her father Joseph) Tomlinson according to the 1961 Census. She was thirteen at the time and attended a local school.The Tomlinsons owned a large farm and butchers at Preston, Yorkshire. The couple had no children of their own and had a large house with many servants. Emily lived there until she married in 1871 and thereafter as her husband as a sea captain was away at sea most of the year.

Her aunt, a widow by now  had two other nieces living with her along with servants, making for plenty of company for Emily, while Edward was away. Sadly it was at her aunt’s residence she died in May of 1894, still a young woman of 46.

Catherine lived on for another eight years until she died at the age of 80 in 1902.

York Herald 15 January 1870
Yorkshire Evening Post 29 May 1894
Hull Daily Mail 16 January 1902