A LOOK BACK IN TIME: Supporting families of those lost on Goodwin Sands

The front page of the Isle of Wight Observer of December 10th, 1853 carries a prominent appeal for funds to support the families of nine men and lads lost on the Goodwin Sands, a 10-mile-long sandbank six miles off the coast of Deal in Kent, earlier in the year. More than 2,000 ships are thought to have been wrecked there.

Following the appeal there is a list of 106 donors along with the amounts they have given. The ‘Owners of the Ship’ kicked off the fund with one of the largest donations of £5 (equivalent to almost £650 today), a sum matched by the ‘Misses Ward’ and ‘A Friend, Vernon Square’. The smallest donation is 2s. 6d. (just over £16), given separately by two members of the Dashwood family. Col. F. V. Harcourt, MP gave £1. The masters of the ships, ‘Emma’ and ‘Triton’, gave 10s. each, as did ‘The Widow’s Mite’.


During the late gales the Brig. “HARRIET,” of Cowes, Capt. Joseph Taylor, on her passage from Sunderland to Cowes, was lost on the Goodwin Sands on the night of the 25th of April last, when melancholy to relate, the whole of the crew, nine in number, perished in a terrific storm.

Capt. Taylor, (a man of most excellent character) has left a Widow and a very numerous family (the youngest in arms) to deplore his loss; one son was lost on board the ship; the remainder of the crew wholly belonged to the Island. The Mate, with two of the Seamen have left Widows, with Children, at Cowes and Newport, where also resides the Mothers of the poor Lads.
The Owners of the Ship feeling it to be their duty to alleviate the distress of the Widows and Fatherless Children to the utmost of their power they are thus induced to appeal to the kind feelings of the C

Charitable and Humane to lend their help in rendering assistance to the sufferers of this dreadful calamity.