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False Shipwrecked Sailors

April 23 @ 7:00 pm 8:30 pm

Griset’s Grotesques; or, jokes drawn on wood, with rhymes by Tom Hood. One hundred quaint designs by E. Griset. Engraved by the Brothers Dalziel. British Library.

Beggars, posing as shipwreck victims to gain sympathy, were found in coastal areas, port cities, and even inland locations. This deceptive practice, known as a ‘dodge,’ was prevalent in the 19th century, with maritime philanthropic organisations like the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society expressing concerns about these impostors threatening benevolence and charity. This prompts questions about their identity, methods, and the strategies employed by shipwreck societies to address this societal issue.

Cathryn Pearce, a senior lecturer in naval, maritime, and coastal history at the University of Portsmouth, is developing this paper as part of a broader project on shipwrecks, lifesaving, and coastal communities in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The presentation explores how beggars portrayed themselves as shipwreck victims, exploiting others’ compassion, and examines the measures taken by shipwreck societies to address this societal problem.

Ticket information: £6, £4 Concession, free to UoP students via SPiA and Historical Association Members

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