The Quaker ship Sirius

SS Sirius

SS Sirius

For those interested in Quaker history, the Jack Phillips (of the Titanic) memorial exhibition in Godalming museum has a display of tiny and exquisite models of various ships to the same scale as a drawing of the Titanic. One of these is the little Quaker ship Sirius, the first to cross the Atlantic entirely under steam. (Brunel’s huge ‘Great Western’ arrived a few days later, and – because bigger ships needed prortionately less fuel – was more sucessful.) The Sirius ran out of coal and had to burn her masts and spars to make port!

The Titanic disaster 74 years later, incidentally, occurred because the captain was pressured by the White Star Line into steaming at full speed at night despite many warnings into an area rtiddled with icebergs when all other ships had stopped. The White Star director on board took at least one warning message from Phillips but ‘forgot’ to give it to the Captain! The surviving crews pay was stopped from the day of the sinking, and Ruth Martin tells me that none were ever re-employed by White Star.


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