musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Tag: Mayflower

Retrospective: The Pilgrim Fathers Memorial

There is one memorial in Southampton that I never really investigated (actually there are two, so I am including it here too), and this memorial will explain why there is a Mayflower Cruise Terminal. To know the context of the memorial we have to go way back to the Mayflower and the Pilgrim Fathers, and her voyage across the Atlantic way back in 1620. 

The ship by the standards of today was a small one, probably about 100 foot long with a 25 ft beam, and she had a crew of about 30. Why the uncertainty? because the measurement standards back then were different to what they are now, and of course there does not appear to be a set of blueprints to check with. We could also put it like this: Shieldhall is 81.69 m (268 ft) with a beam of 13.56 m (44 ft 6 in), she makes the Mayflower look small in comparison. 

The story of the Mayflower and her companion “Speedwell” is not for me to tell, there are places that can give a much better description than I can.  But once they sailed from Southampton they were effectively out of sight; until such times as somebody brought back word of their success in crossing the Atlantic or not. Speedwell did not live up to her name though, as she had to turn back because of persistent leaks.  The voyage took just over a month and it must have been a very crowded ship. As we know today the voyage was a success and Mayflower sailed home after delivering her passengers. She was probably broken up 4 years later, although even that is uncertain. Unlike so many of those sailing ships from back then, the Mayflower sailed into history, even though we know very little about her. We probably know more about those that made that long journey to a new world, and their epic voyage and history is what this memorial is about.

I managed to photograph two plaques and an inscription on the memorial:

There are other inscriptions on the memorial but I did not photograph those as far as I can tell from my images. The tip of the memorial is capped with a nice sailing ship representation, but I never considered photographing it from close up because there was nowhere around that would have given me the height to get a close up of her. 

The memorial from the old city walls nearby

The Google Earth co-ordinates for the memorial are:  50.897951°  -1.406901°.


Memorial number two is one I want to include even though I do not have decent images of it. The story is quite a complicated one and needs to be read in the context of its time. The memorial is known as the Stella Memorial (previously known as The Rogers Memorial and before that The Stella Stewardess Memorial Fountain) and is located on the Western Esplanade in Southampton, and is in close proximity to the Pilgrim Father’s Memorial. 

To my dismay I only have one photograph of the memorial, and it is a poor one. Judging by the filename I took this image when the Rotterdam was in port

I did photograph the plaque though.  It reads: 

“In memory of the heroic death of Mary Ann [e] Rogers Stewardess of the “Stella” who on the night of the 30th March, 1899, amid the terror of shipwreck aided all the women under her charge to quit the vessel in safety giving up her own life-belt to one who was unprotected. Urged by the sailors to makes sure her escape she refused lest she might endanger the heavily-laden boat. Cheering the departing crew with the friendly cry of “Good-bye, good-bye.” She was seen a few moments later as the “Stella” went down lifting her arms upwards with the prayer “Lord have me” then sank in the waters with the sinking ship.

Actions such as these – revealing steadfast performance of duty in the face of death, ready self-sacrifice for the sake of others, reliance on God – constitute the glorious heritage of our English race. They deserve perpetual commemoration, because among the trivial pleasures and sordid strike of the world, they recall to us forever the nobility and love-worthiness of human nature.”

The memorial was unveiled on Southampton’s Western Esplanade by Lady Emma Crichton (daughter of the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire) during the morning of Saturday 27th July, 1901. Mary’s sister, son and son-in-law were also present. 

By her bravery Mary Anne Rogers earned herself a place at the GF Watts Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice. in London. I visited there in 2013 and it was a very interesting place too and is really worthy of being restarted. 

The sinking of the Stella was the subject of a Board of Trade enquiry on 27th April, 1899 and concluded  “…. the SS Stella was not navigated with proper and seamanlike care.” While the wreck was discovered in June 1973, by two Channel Islands divers. It lies in 49 metres (161 ft) of water south of the Casquets which lie 13 km northwest of the island of Alderney. The tragedy is sometimes referred to as ‘The Titanic of The Channel Islands

Mary Anne Rogers went down with the ship, and as such became yet another statistic in the toll of the sea. Nobody dreamt that in 1912 an even larger catastrophe would affect Southampton, and it would relegate the bravery of this stewardess to the back pages of his history. Fortunately her story has not been forgotten and there is a very good resource that tells the story so much better than I do, If ever I return to Southampton both of these places are on the list to revisit. 

DRW © 2013-2018, Created 05/05/2018

Updated: 23/05/2018 — 12:19

Southampton Shipwatch 07: Oriana

When I talk about Oriana I can talk about superlatives. She is probably one of the better looking modern cruise ships afloat (even though she is already over 15 years old). She is on a parr with ships like QE2, the type of ship that people like me look back on and ooh and aah over. She is also a one-off, she does not have a sister ship, and there are elements in her design that point to her illustrious predecessor, the one and only Canberra. I was fortunate enough to sail on her maiden call to South Africa, way back in 1997, and she was unforgettable. The one ship I was hoping to see again in Southampton was her.
She arrived on 14 April, and berthed up at the QE2 terminal which you can’t really see well from Town Quay.  I decided that the time had come for a trip out to Hythe with the ferry, and off I went. I did not see much of the trip though because all eyes were on her. 
The only real change that has been made to her was the addition of a ducktail to her stern, and that makes her look kind of odd from aft. But, she is still beautiful, in fact statuesque is a word I would use to describe her. 
Her sailing was scheduled for 16H30, and there were four ships to get out of the harbour, I expected she would have been the first to go, but it turns out that age came before beauty as Saga Sapphire was first out of Southampton. 
21 April 2013 sailing. 
Oriana was back in Southampton on 21 April, and berthed up at Mayflower. I watched her sail from Town Quay in a blustery and gray afternoon. As expected, she is as beautiful as ever.


And then she was past and heading out of the harbour. Such a beautiful vessel.
Oriana was a regular during my time in Southampton, and I even worked baggage on her at least 3 times, but she is terrible to work and it was always a mad rush to get the luggage on board before she sails. I also had lunch in her crew mess on two separate occasions, and got to take a look around her again while waiting to start. She is looking a tad worn, but is still beautiful on board. She is one of the nicer lookers around nowadays, and long may she grace the oceans.

© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 31/03/2016
Updated: 28/12/2017 — 07:53

Hullo Southampton

Today, 7 April 2013 I packed my bags and headed for the port of Southampton. Like with London I do feel a connection to this city and its port, probably because so much of my maritime literature featured Southampton very strongly, and of course this is where the ill fated Titanic sailed from. When I did my original planning before coming to the UK I had listed Southampton as the destination where I would go once I left London, 
Of course ships will rate very high on my list of things to do/see while I am in this city. In fact, in a short period of six hours I saw two cruise ship sailings already. The first being P&O’s Ventura.


Followed shortly thereafter by Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth.
Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth

Many years ago, during the 1950’s and 60’s these self same Western Docks would see rows of major passenger vessels, Our own Union-Castle Line would have had at least two ships in port every week.

Union-Castle ships in Southampton

So many years later the character of the docks has changed, containerisation has killed the traditional cargo ship and cruise liners now berth where once passenger ships from all around the world plied their trade.
And of course the Queen Elizabeth or Queen Mary would have dominated every other ship afloat when they were calling. Alas those days have passed and today we have to take what we can get. The two cruise ships above don’t really do much for me, I have seen much better looking. And, by the looks of it there are quite a few arrivals and sailings scheduled for the next month. On top of that is the anniversary of the sailing of the Titanic from these very docks 
How long will I be here? till 8 May probably, after that? who knows. I am going to do my job hunting here and hopefully be lucky, or will have to move on. Either way though, I intend to ship watch and visit the Hollybrook Cemetery to pay my respects to our fallen Mendi Men who are commemorated there, and I know that will be a sad occasion.
Till the next time I visit my blog, I shall leave you with photograph of SS Shieldhall, a really nice looking vessel that is more up my line. At any rate, it will be a change from cemeteries.
I finally left Southampton in October 2013, it had been a fascinating few months for me, and this prequel does not even touch the surface of what I saw and did. Follow the story from here, there is much to see, and much to discover.
© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 29/03/2016.
Updated: 02/02/2018 — 07:56
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