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The Plimsoll Sensation: The Great Campaign to Save Lives at Sea

Nicolette Jones

4 Reviews

Rated 0

Prose: non-fiction, History

Now in B format.
The story of a Victorian philanthropist who reformed shipping laws, saved thousands of sailors' lives and became a national hero.

Samuel Plimsoll was a nineteenth-century hero whose tireless campaigning ended scandalous shipping malpractices and saved hundreds of sailors' lives. Prior to the introduction of the 'Plimsoll Line', greedy shipowners would send dangerously overladen ships to sea, which even light breezes could capsize and sink. The Board of Trade acknowledged that lives were being unnecessarily lost, but it took Plimsoll's loadline to end the practice. He also campaigned to stop the abhorrent insurance scam of 'coffin-ships', by which sailors were forced to put to sea in unseaworthy vessals. These inevitably sank leaving the owners with the insurance money.
Lauded by the public and slandered by the powerful shipping magnates, Plimsoll was a philanthropist whose notions of reform characterised the Victorian era. Nicolette Jones's book captures the spirit of a period when less than ten per cent of the population had the vote and public opinion found expression through extra-parliamentary pressure.

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Praise for The Plimsoll Sensation: The Great Campaign to Save Lives at Sea

  • Excellent . . . Nicolette Jones charts [Plimsoll's] course with skill, insight and elegance - SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

  • [Jones] is sure-footed, never allowing her empathy with her subject to blind her to his failings. Her comprehensive biography ... will be the first port of call for all future researchers - SUNDAY TIMES

  • Expertly tracked - OBSERVER

  • Jones clearly loves her subject ... Her set-pieces mix sensitivity and narrative gusto. Dickens ... would have delighted in this story - Jonathan Keates

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Nicolette Jones

Educated at Oxford and Yale, Nicolette Jones is a journalist who has freelanced for the arts pages of all the British broadsheets and writes a column for The Bookseller. She regularly chairs book festivals and appears on radio and TV. She was one of the judges for the 2003 Orange Prize.

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