A descendant of an intrepid Hartlepool man has revealed his ancestor’s round-the-world adventures.
Daniel Whitehead plans to publish the full story of his great-great grandfather William Whitehead online next year.
In the meantime, Hartlepool Mail readers have been given a wonderful insight into the story of a man who made his fortune in business before setting off on a well-deserved voyage.
Here is the first in a four-part extract from his travel diaries.
Saturday, January 15, 1898 – the SS Victoria, English Channel.
Maybe I should detract from interest were I not to revert to the parting at West Hartlepool.
Willie & I had a very pleasant & cheery set off. The good wishes of the friends there for a happy time & safe return brightened the present & shone on the future.
We had a very pleasant journey to the City, & after a wash & tea, made our way to Cook’s, Ludgate Circus, with a view to making final arrangements.
On Thursday morning, a very dense fog hung over the City & all was lighted artificially till near noon.
On Friday morning, we made a good start & got to Liverpool St. Station to join the Boat Express, due to leave at 11 a.m. for Tilbury.
On arrival at the station, 10:30, it was very much crowded with passengers and friends.
So very crowded was the special train, a second had to be employed. We were in time for the first & it left the station 7 minutes before the appointed hour.
However, it gave Willie a longer stay with me on board the Victoria.
On arrival at Tilbury, we stepped on to the tender & soon was in midstream alongside the huge steamer, & on stepping aboard her we soon found berth 66, where we satisfied ourselves that my baggage was all there, then hurried on Willie’s account to view the saloon & other parts of interest.
Soon after the passengers were off, the tender the bell rang “visitors ashore” & then a rush took place. Not many minutes elapsed before the tender loaded, steamed away. The scene was moving.
The many hats, handkerchiefs and waving, and the voicing of parting goodbyes, was a sight we can’t soon forget.
As the tender steamed round our bows & sailed by us, the same signalling as before from friends then a right good round of hurrahs again & again being reciprocated, till we could no longer distinguish individuals, & so ends the last look on my first born & well beloved Willie till, God willing, we meet again.
At 1:30, the bugle sounded lunch & there was a big muster, every chair being filled, & as we sat 1:55, we felt a silent motion & sure enough looking through the port hole, passing objects were on view & we were on our voyage.
* Watch out for more on the voyage of Wlliam Whitehead next week.