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Scenes from the Emigrant Experience

Intermediate Port of Transition: Hull on the Humber

By Bruce Weaver II

Many Norwegian emigrants began their epic journey to the New World with an initial landing in Hull on the Humber, on the eastern coast of Britain. From there, they would find their way to Paragon Station for the railway trip across the narrow part of the north of England to Liverpool. Leaving the landing stage on the Mersey, they would then embark “across the pond” for the ports of Quebec, Boston or New York…

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Under the auspices of Thomas Wilson, Sons & Company, the Steamship Angelo, among others, carried passengers and cargo between Hull, Christiana (Oslo) and Gothenburg. A number of Valdris boarded this three masted vessel, including Erick Amundson Haugen Bang, Signi Olsdatter Bagnsberget and their family in 1884, who were ultimately bound for Spring Grove, MN. The Angelo was 262 ft. long, with a breadth of beam at 33 ft., 6 inches. Placed on the Christiana line, in addition to the sails, she was propelled by, “a pair of compound surface condensing engines of 300 horsepower, nominal, which are expected to develop 1400 horsepower,” according to the Illustrated London News of August 29, 1887 in text which accompanied this engraving of the Angelo

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Hull from the Humber River. Arriving passengers at Hull would have encountered a scene such as this. From The Graphic, Supplement, March 11, 1882.

 

The Albert Docks, immediately behind the Promenade landing stage. After eight years in construction, it was opened by the Prince of Wales in 1869. It was the largest dock at Hull at the time, covering 24 ½ acres until superseded by an even larger one of 46 ½ acres which began construction in 1881. From The Graphic, Supplement, March 11, 1882



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The Prince’s Dock with the Dock Offices in center background—as depicted in the Graphic, Supplement, March 11, 1882

“During the past two or three years every few days large groups of Norwegian, Swedish or German peasants, in their picturesque attire, are seen wandering about the quays. They are on their way to their way to their new Transatlantic homes. They bring with them their little children, their aged grandsires and granddames, and the most precious of their household treasures. Now they are eager and expectant. Strong hope is nerving them for the discomforts of their voyage. When they reach their distant destinies, however, the recollections of their native land will come back to them with increasing intensity of tenderness every day, and often will the eye be wet and the heart be sad with thoughts of the dear old homes which they have for ever left.” From the Graphic, Supplement, March 11, 1882, Page 243

Map of Hull from Blacks Road and railway Guide of England and Wales, 1887. The wandering of Scandinavian emigrants between the docks referred to above can be recreated by following the outlines of the various wharves. The Dock Office is at the top of the Prince’s Dock, indicated as number 5. To the left is Paragon Station


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View of Station Hotel, at Paragon Railway Station. From The Graphic, Supplement, March 11, 1882 Interior view of waiting area at Paragon Station, depicting various Scandinavian—and perhaps, Valdris, emigrants. From the The Graphic, Supplement, March 11, 1882, Page 243  

 

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