Samuel Plimsoll | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Sir Samuel Plimsoll, inventor of ‘the Plimsoll Line’

Newspaper report from 1898 on the life and achievements of Sir Samuel Plimsoll

Samuel Plimsoll
Illustration of Samuel Plimsoll | Evening Telegraph | 3 June 1898

On 10 February 1824, Sir Samuel Plimsoll, ‘the Sailors’ Friend’, was born in Bristol.

The MP for Derby, philanthropist and social reformer had an amazing life, including a period of destitution in London, when he failed in business as a coal merchant.

Today, he is mostly remembered for inventing ‘the Plimsoll Line’, which is a set of measurements and symbols on the side of ships indicating how much cargo can be safely carried.

It was his legislative work in this area that named him the nickname, ‘the Sailors’ Friend’.

To mark the day of his birth, we’ve posted below a fascinating newspaper obituary and tribute from 1898 that celebrates Plimsoll’s life and many achievements, with particular emphasis on his work to improve the working lives of sailors.

To find out more about Samuel Plimsoll, read the following article about the life and death of ‘the Sailor’s Friend’, printed in the Evening Telegraph on 3 June 1898.



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