My latest book is soon to be published! This work tells the story of the women who lived both on the sea and on the shore line during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Their lives were mainly dependent on an income generated directly from the many industries connected with seafaring.
Women and their families were directly impacted when their men-folk would be forceably pressed into the Royal Navy. The men would often leave their wives and families desitute because they were not paid until they returned home, which could mean months and even years going without pay. Included are many tales of women who attacked and even murdered members of the press-gang to drive them out of town and prevent their men-folk being snatched away.
Another aspect of Nautical Women is the sub-culture that existed of women dressing up as men and disguising themslves as sailors. Small glimpses of the the roles played by these women are to be found secreted in ships’ journals, court records, ballads and artistic portrayals. Women who wanted to escape poverty, had a lust for travel, or might be even trying to find a lost sailor lover would sail for many months along side the male sailors before being dicovered. Of course it is only the ones that were discovered that we know about. Some appeared in court, while others made sensational news copy.
But the women who were left behind, often living in poverty in our British port towns had to survive the best way they could, and the book takes a look at how women found work, or not, as the case may be.