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Nicolette Jones

Oceans Futures Series 2: The Plimsoll Sensation

Hay Festival 2022 , 

The Plimsoll Sensation: The Great Campaign to Save Lives at Sea tells the true tale of the agitation led by Samuel Plimsoll MP, ‘The Sailor’s Friend’, and by his wife Eliza, who worked together to defend sailors against nefarious practices including overloading and the use of unseaworthy ‘coffin-ships’.

The backlash of libel cases and vilification almost ruined Plimsoll, but his drive and passion made him feverishly popular with the public; he was the subject of plays, novels, street ballads and music hall songs. With the demonstrative support of the nation, he faced down his enemies, came close to ousting Disraeli’s government and achieved lasting safety measures for merchant sailors, including the load line that bears his name.

In this illustrated talk, Nicolette Jones throws light on a cross-section of Victorian society and tells the story of an epic legal, social and political battle for justice, which is still an inspiring example of how the altruism and courage of determined individuals can make the world a better place.

Nicolette Jones