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On the late fearful collision at sea, between the French Atlantic steamship, VILLE DU HAVRE, and the LOCH EARN Scotch clipper

Date: 1873
Overall: 255 x 191 mm, 0.022 kg
Medium: Woodcut engraving and printed text on paper mounted on card.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00017417
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    A broadsheet ballad titled 'Lines on the late Fearful Collision At Sea, Between the French Atlantic Steamer, VILLE DU HAVRE, and the LOCH EARN Scotch Clipper. When 226, Men, Women, and Children, were launched into Eternity without a moments notice'. The ballad refers to the sinking of the VILLE DU HAVRE en route from New York when on the 22 November, 1873 it collided with the clipper LOCH EARN.
    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 and migration.

    HistoryFearful Collision at Sea

    The ship was far, far on the sea,
    Bound to France from America,
    The foggy sky had cleared at last,
    They thought all dangers they had passed;
    The Captain to his rest went down,
    In hopes that safety reigned around,
    But ere he closed his eyes in sleep,
    His ship had sunk in the boundless deep.

    The ship was struck and soon went down,
    Two hundred and twenty-six were drowned,
    One prayer to Heaven for mercy they gave,
    And now they live in the Sailor's grave.

    The Ville du Havre steamed away,
    On the 15th. from New York bay,
    With about 300 souls on board,
    Their sad loss will be deplored.
    Through foggy nights and gloomy days,
    This splendid ship went on her way,
    Bright weather came, wind fair and free,
    And the glittering stars shone o'er the sea.

    The sparkling waves from her bows did glance,
    On their way to the coast of France,
    The passengers retired to sleep,
    While sailing o'er the mighty deep.
    When, God of Heaven! a fearful crash,
    The ship was struck like a lightnings's flash,
    Her iron sides to pieces were torn,
    In ten minutes more the ship was gone.

    The Lochearn had met them on the sea,
    A collision caused this calamity.
    Cries of help from drowing men,
    The cold, cold waves surrounded them,
    Women and children half undress'd,
    In the open sea what wretchedness;
    To broken spars for life they cling,
    And only death relief could bring.

    Midst fervent prayers and screams so wild,
    The mother cries, "O save my child!"
    Husbands risk their precious lives,
    To save their children and their wives,
    The sea rushed in, how sad to learn,
    And swept the ship from stern to stern,
    With a fearful sound like the oceans roar,
    The ship went down and was seen no more.

    In the arms of death, 'neath the ocean tide,
    en and women lay side by side,
    Children brought up so tenderly,
    And reared in the lap of luxury,
    The rich and poor, the feeble and brave,
    Are equal now in the sailor's grave.
    No monument of, or costly display,
    Can mark the spot where the drowned lay.

    The Lochearn and her crew so brave,
    That night they done their best to save,
    Then at last at break of day,
    With sorrowful hearts they sailed away
    The passengers whose lives were saved,
    Think of the dangers they have braved,
    And blessed kind heaven o'er and o'er,
    When they were landed on Cardiff's shore.

    Around 2am on 22 November 1873 the transatlantique passenger liner VILLE DU HAVRE, on route from New York, collided with the iron clipper ship LOCH EARN and split in two. The VILLE DU HAVRE sunk in 12 minutes with the loss of 226 lives. 61 passengers and 26 crew members were rescued by the LOCH EARN but had to be saved from that vessel, by the TEMOUNTAIN, as it took on water and sank.
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