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Records of the Mersey Mission to Seamen

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Reference 361 MER
Covering dates 1848-1850, 1866-1967, n.d
Held by Liverpool Record Office and Local History Service
Extent 10 vols., 40 docs., 123 photographs

Folder icon  Journal of Robert Day, Agent to the Liverpool Seamen's Friend Society. At the end of the volume is a list: "Boarding Houses that I can with some degree of confidence Recommend as suitable for any Seamen who wish to be comfortable and Honestly dealt with".  361 MER/2/1  11 Feb. 1848 - 26 Mar. 1850

This volume is described by Rev. G.W. Evans, then Chaplain-Superintendent to the Mersey Mission to Seamen, in a letter to Sea Breezes, Sep. 1946 (see Newscuttings: Mariners' Church, George's Dock) and by Kingsford op. cit, p.14, as the diary of the Rev. William Maynard - "Mr. Maynard's daily log of his work and ministry covering the years 1848 - 1850, meticulously kept, is still preserved at the Mersey Mission to Seamen. An interesting entry at the end of the log is a list of "Boarding Houses that I can... Honestly dealt with", (see above).
The Rev. William Maynard (d.1875) was appointed as Chaplain to the Mariners' Floating Church in 1832 and continued as such for over 40 years. The Mariners' Floating Church was an old frigate HMS Tees, a gift from the government to the Mariners' Church Society, which had been towed to the Mersey from Plymouth, converted as a floating church, moored in George's Dock and opened for worship in May 1827. It remained there, maintained by the Church of England, until 1872 when weakened by extensive dry rot, it sank at its moorings.
There was for some years, however, also a Floating Chapel run by Noncomformists, moored in the N.W. corner of King's Dock. This had been opened in 1822 on a ship, once the William, launched in 1785 in Liverpool for "the Greenland fishery". An entry in Annals of Liverpool for May 1850 states "The Floating Chapel "William" lying in the King's Dock, removed, in order to be broken up, she sold for £105. The amount of dock dues incurred for 28 years and 7 months amounted to £1277 13s 7d ..."
The Floating Chapel was run by the Seamen's Friend Society & Bethel Union. According to Gore's Directory of Liverpool, 1849, p.*114, this had been established in 1822 "to promote the present comfort and future happiness of Seamen and their families, and of other persons connected with shipping". There was also a Bethel Room onshore and the Society's officials included Rev. James Buck (author of The Forget-me-not; or Last Hours on the Mersey (1857), Bethel Secretary and Agent, and "Capt. Kitwood, 36, Crown Street, and Mr. Robert Day, 64 Parliament Street, Agents of the Society". According to p.105* of the same Directory for the Floating Chapel "the duties of Minister are discharged by various Dissenting Ministers".
The fly-leaf of this volume is inscribed "Robert Day, No.64 Lower Parliament Street, Liverpool" and, faintly in pencil "Robt. Days Journal". The journal is a detailed day by day account of work amongst the shipping and seamen in the port of Liverpool. There are frequent references to "seeking a Minister" for service to be held during the week, to preaching "on Board the Chapel", to the Bethel, the Bethel Room, to ministers such as Mr. Hulme, Mr. Brice, Mr. Knowles, Mr. Loxton, Mr. Welch, Mr. Brown, Mr. Hibberts, all listed in Gore's Directory for 1849 as Nonconformist ministers of various denominations. There are references to Capt. Kitwood and many references to Rev. Mr. Buck, whose signature appears in the journal after the entries for 29 Jul. 1849 and 28 Feb. 1850. This day by day account therefore appears to be exactly what is started on the fly-leaf - the journal for Feb. 1848 to Mar. 1850 of Robert Day, Agent to the Seamen's Friend Society & Bethel Union. It does not appear to be connected in any way with Rev. William Maynard, Chaplain of the Church of England Mariners' Floating Church, although it is possible that it may have passed into Maynard's hands for safe-keeping and so to the Mersey Mission to Seamen.

No further details   Miscellaneous correspondence  361 MER/2/2-27  Feb. 1878 - Oct. 1927, 1927, n.d
No further details   Miscellaneous papers including statistics, duplicate minutes, reports, newscuttings, accounts etc.  361 MER/2/28-41  Aug. 1877 - Mar. 1953, 1953, n.d

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