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The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the Victorian Titanic

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  30 ratings  ·  13 reviews
'The moment they fell into the water the waves caught them and dashed them violently against the rocks, and the survivors on shore could perceive the unfortunate creatures...struggling amidst the waves, and one by one sinking under them.' (Hereford Times, 28 January 1854) The wrecking of the RMS Tayleur made headlines nearly 60 years before the Titanic. Both were run by th ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published January 2014 by Pen & Sword Books Ltd
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Christopher Allen
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love cruises. You may have read about my experiences on various AIDA ships and my runner-up fame in the Mr. Pacific Princess contest (I really really should have won with my ballerina performance). The phenomenon of the pleasure cruise with its endless buffets, high-tech gyms, massage therapists and ABBA shows--emotional rollercoasters in themselves; I was the guy sobbing through 'Thank You For the Music' on the first row--is relatively modern. Really really modern in fact.

Just 150 years ago s
Matt Potter
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This must be the first shipwreck book I have ever read! I was expecting something darker, bleaker, more headache-inducing (aka "Victorian") but while the book is about unmitigated tragedy, accidents that could have been avoided and Dickensian fortune and misfortune, the prose is light and involving.

Well-researched and filled with historical colour, it could have been dour and technical but again, it's not. It's really a social history, a look at attitudes and ways of being and living, a 160 page
Angela Buckley
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In this superb account of the sinking of RMS Tayleur in 1854, Gill Hoffs has re-created this terrible tragedy that resulted in a devastating loss of human life. The story of the hopeful passengers who set out for a new life overseas, only to have their dreams dashed by a disaster at sea, has been brought back to life through meticulous research and a rich and compelling narrative. Gill has cleverly reconstructed the incident through the lives of the individuals on board, eyewitness accounts and ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was an exemplary book detailing a horrible tragedy in a respectful way. The author's well-researched tales of how different people came to be passengers, and the individual stories of how they made their escapes or became some of the victims, humanized this tale of shipwreck and suffering. The information related regarding the survivors after the wreck and also later in life tied-up many loose threads that are usually left dangling in books. ...more
Stephen Walsh
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing true story.

It's a must read from start to finish. It made me think of how lucky I am that I never experienced anything so horrific. I pray to God that I or any one else never does. RIP to those people on that ship who did.
Wendy Hannah
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a fascinating account of a little known shipwreck. It is crammed full of detail and information on the circumstances of the wreck and the devastating effect it had on human life. It's interesting, informative and brings a much needed human element to an important historical event. ...more
Maureen Williams
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Excellently researched book on a fascinating topic. Interesting story lines that focus on facts and shed light on a very understudied disaster.
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is well researched, easy to read and uses quotes from people there at the time, contemporary newspaper articles, and interviews with descendants of those affected, to paint a vivid picture of life on board a passenger ship to Australia in the 1850s.

The writing was very evocative, and some parts are particularly heart rending.

Our bookclub was lucky enough to have a visit from the author, who clearly knows her stuff, and kindly brought some artifacts along for us to see, which really bro
Scott Waldyn
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There's a warm heart hidden in the holds of this cold, wet, rough, and deadly nonfiction chronicling of a little-known disaster. It's in the meticulously researched passengers who were on the RMS Tayleur as it went down, in the families and adventurers brave enough to travel across the ocean for a chance at a better life. Most of them didn't make it, but from the survivors, we are given stories to hear and lives to witness.

This book was written with great care. Part analysis of a tragic shipwre
Michelle Higgs
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Before reading this book, I had never heard of the ill-fated RMS Tayleur and perhaps it’s no wonder, given the hundreds of shipwrecks every year in the Victorian period. Gill Hoffs’ The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: the Lost Story of the ‘Victorian Titanic’ is beautifully written in a readable style. Using contemporary newspaper reports and the survivors’ accounts, she tells the story of the RMS Tayleur’s maiden voyage: from the pomp and celebration of its launch in Warrington and the first signs of p ...more
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes a book grabs you by the heart and won't let go. Such is the case of an extraordinary new book by UK author Gill Hoffs, entitled The Sinking of the RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the 'Victorian Titanic'. I have to tell you: I started reading, and couldn't put it down. This story is so well-written that while I was reading, I felt the chills of the brisk winds and rain, imagined the splash of seawater on my face, and heard the frightened cries of hundreds as they tried to escape a sinkin ...more
Suzie Grogan
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! Comprehensive research and fabulous story-telling combine to bring to life the tragedy of the sinking of the RSM Tayleur, a shipwreck that was seemingly preventable and which offers so many heartbreaking stories. Gill has consulted widely in this book to piece together the mysteries of the wrecking, including the disproportionate number of women and children lost, the good compass/bad compass debate and the back stories of some of the passengers and crew that may have contribut ...more
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm not normally one for reading non fiction, but read this on the recommendation of a mutual friend who knows the author. I found myself drawn in to the story by the fact that Ms Hoff's turned a historical event into something very personal by focussing on the stories and difficulties of those involved. Her descriptive skills made the tragedy seem so much more immediate and horrific. I live local to where the ship was built and learning this bit of lost history was fascinating. ...more
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