A broadsheet printed by Walker in Durham. It features two ballads, one titled 'The Maniac' whilst the other is called 'The Mariners Grave'.
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.
HistoryTHE MARINER'S GRAVE
I remember the night was stormy and wet
And dismally dashed the dark wave,
While the rain and sleet
Cold and heavily beat
On the mariner's new-dug grave.
I remember 'twas down in a darksome dale,
And near to dreary cave,
Where wild winds wail
Round the wanderer pale,
That I saw the mariner's grave.
I remember how slowly the bearers trod,
And how sad was the look they gave,
As they rested their load
Near its last abode,
And gazed on the mariner's grave.
I remeber a tear that slowly slid
Down the cheek of a meseemate brave;
I fell on the lid
And soon was hid,
For closed was the mariner's grave.
Now o'er his lone bed the brier creeps,
And the wild-flowers mournfully wave
And the willow weeps,
And the moon-beam sleeps,
In the mariner's silent grave.
Broadsheet 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.
The publication of ballads was part of the commemoration and production of material about shipwrecks. Ships were part of the everyday life in the 19th century and stories about their voyages, wrecks, record breaking voyages and commissions often featured in newspapers and commemorative souvenirs.