The Epic Voyages of Maud Berridge : The seafaring diaries of a Victorian lady
by Sally Berridge
Editor: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
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Maud Berridge (1845-1907) was the wife of a Captain at long voyages, and she travelled with him on at least five occasions (1869, 1880, 1882, 1883, 1886), sailing in Melbourne with emigrants and freightersThe first opportunity was 1869, just after they were married, when Henry was Captain of Walmer Castle, and they returned via New Zealand, instead of travelling east and Cape HornHowever, most of Henry and Maud’s trips were undertaken in the three-masted clipper Superbe, sailing from Gravesend in early summer and leaving Melbourne for home at the end of the year (the southern summer, the best for the east heading with the trade winds and rounding Cape Horn)Recording of catch times from London to Melbourne by Captain Henry of 79 days (1878), 76 days (1881) and a final time of 74 days (1886)In 1880, Maud and Henry took their two sons (aged six and eight)In 1883 they sailed from Melbourne to Newcastle in New South Wales to take a load of coal, then across the Windward Islands to San Francisco (51 days)Here they stayed two months exploring SF and surrounds it, unloading coal and taking a load of wheat (in large bags) to the Port of CostaThey then sailed on the west coast of America, around Cape Horn and Queenstown in County Cork (134 days)The whole trip lasted 14 months.There are also some photographs of Henry, Maud and the crew taken in San Francisco, and a photo of the Victoria State Library, showing the Superbe docked in Melbourne.Maud wrote a diary of these voyages, one in particular, that of the 1883 voyage, representing about 50 000 wordsMaud’s book history through his own words and through a number of documents of the time and will paint an image of the life of a woman captain of the Victorian era as well as aspects of society in Britain, the United States and Australia at the timeHis enthusiasm for new experiences shines through his writing
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