Broadsheet ballad titled 'Feyther's old Sow'. A comical love song telling of a man tying to convince a woman to marry him.
SignificanceBroadsheets were designed as printed ephemera to be published and distributed rapidly. This also meant they were quickly disposed of with many of them not surviving the test of time. The museum's broadsheet collection is therefore a rare and valuable example of how maritime history was communicated to a wide audience, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries. They vibrantly illustrate many of the themes and myths surrounding life at sea. Some of them also detail stories about transportation, migration.
HistoryBroadsheet rhymes and verses were the cheapest prints available during the 18th and 19th century. They were sold by street sellers known as Flying Stationers, who charged a minimal fee of a penny or half-penny. They featured popular songs that were often sung in homes, inns and taverns and covered a range of themes relating to contemporary events or stories. Printed alongside the songs were woodcut illustrations. Most of the broadsheet publishers did not date or mark their works, making it difficult to pinpoint when they were produced.
Maritime scenes, events and stories were commonly depicted on sheet music and ballads. The launch, commission or arrival of a specific ship was often commemorated in the lyrics and cover designs. For people living in the 19th century the sea and maritime vessels was an everyday accepted part of life, necessary for the transportation of commercial cargo, passengers, whalers, mail and naval forces.