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The number of seamen who entered this harbour in 1876 was 5,660, of whom 300 belonged to Ipswich, 2,760 were engaged in the coasting trade, and 2,600 in the foreign trade. Of these 1,120 were foreigners, chiefly Danes and Norwegians, so that 5,540 were sailing under the British flag, exclusive of those in vessels lying at the anchorage in the river below Harwich. The sailors' boarding-houses are situated in the parishes of St. Clement, St. Peter, St. Mary Stoke, and St. Mary Key.

There would be ample room for seamen in the church of St. Mary Key, and there is a fine floating-ship church provided for their use at the south end of the dock, but no means are taken to induce them to attend divine service; only a very few sailors ever do so, and there are many dens of iniquity of the worst description tempting seamen through drink and debauchery. To remedy such a sad state of things £100 has lately been collected towards providing spiritual assistance for the seamen of Ipswich, and the Missions to Seamen Society has just provided a lay reader, whose duty will be to visit ships coming up the River Orwell, to hold services on board, to distribute bibles, and to warn seamen against the evil practices of publichouse keepers and crimps.

A small sailors' home has lately been established here by the Rev. Granville Smith, honorary chaplain to the Missions to Seamen Society, close to the dock, where board and lodging are provided, which is likely to prove most valuable. Here, also, is a temperance coffee-house, but it is not much liked or used.

At Pin Mill, a small village on the bend of the river, half-way between Ipswich and Harwich, is an anchorage for ships, where they discharge cargo by means of barges, before they enter Ipswich Dock. Here a mission-boat, and a missioner in some form of the Church of England, would be very valuable, for the purpose of influencing seamen at this point when comparatively free from distraction and temptation, and also of waiting upon bargemen and their families, living on board numerous barges here, and at present isolated from the means of grace on shore. The Missions to Seamen reader for the Orwell visits the shipping at Pin Mill weekly.

Extract from “A Church Work Amongst Sailors in 64 Home Ports”

as set forth by The Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury and adopted by it February 15th 1875

Linked toSource: S363; Thomas Pechell (Document written)

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