Learn about Victoria’s 1862 Bride Ship

Plaque 50 Tynemouth bride ship

Plaque 50

Victoria was not blessed with many respectable single women. The few “good” women there were, were the daughters of the English colonial officials who ran the place. For a small businessman or miner who wanted to settle down and raise a family, access to the daughters of the landed gentry was almost impossible as such families tended to move in closed social circles.

The Fraser River and Cariboo gold rushes made Victoria, for a time, a boomtown. With so many single men in the city, the 1862 arrival in the Inner Harbour of Victoria’s first “bride ship” Tynemouth, carrying 292 passengers including 60 eligible young women created quite a stir. She had departed Newcastle-on-Tyne, England 9 June 1862 under the command of Captain Alfred Hellyer, and arrived in the Inner Harbour on 17 September of the same year. The Tynemouth was followed by a second, and the last bride ship, the Robert Lowe.

Bride Ship women marlene-anotherdayanother story.blogspot.co.uk

Bride Ship women marlene-anotherdayanother story.blogspot.co.uk

A general holiday should be proclaimed; all the bunting waved from flagstaffs; salutes fired from Beacon Hill; clen shirts and suits of good clothes brought into requisition, and every preparation made to give this precious “invoice” a warm welcome”. The British Colonist

The Tynemouth was a three-masted barque outfitted with a steam engine and a screw propeller. She was heavy, clench-built over iron frames, 250 feet long. Built in Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1853 for W.S. Lindsay, she was commandeered as a troopship in the Crimea, and gained notice there as the vessel that had survived the savage winter storm of 1854 on the Black Sea when other like ships foundered. After her 1860 refit she boasted three full decks with second- and third-class passenger cabins behind her tall, slim funnel. On emigrant ships, second class was as good as it got.

Minnie Gillan

We will be updating Minnie’s story shortly with the help of one of her descendents.

“Minnie was A London orphan, raised by the sisters of St. Margaret in Grinstead, Minnie Gillan was as devout as she was poor. After her initial visit to Christ Church Cathedral with the other Tynemouth girls, Minnie was drawn back largely by its friendly pastor. Reverend Cridge wasn’t afraid to modify the service in order to reach his congregation and he was different from the dour, chiding moralists such as Reverend Scott and Bishop Hills. Minnie used to wander the grounds of Christ Church, with its wild flowers and quiet cemetery, and often lingered there after Sunday services, a brief respite from the long hours and hard labour of her life as a domestic servant.

“John Cox was the cemetery keeper at Christ Church and Minnie used to see him, occasionally at first, tending the grounds, chatting with Reverend Cridge, and sitting, always in the same pew at the back, during Wednesday night evensong. Seven years after she arrived, Minnie Gillan married John Cox. When Reverend Cridge left the Anglican Church, John and Minnie and most of the rest of his congregation at Christ Church went with him. John and Minnie Cox served Reverend Cridge and the episcopal movement for the rest of their lives.the

“Minnie eventually bore John nine children – five daughters and four sons. She predeceased her beloved husband by 15 years, and was buried in Ross Bay Cemetery on December 2, 1911.”