The British Contribution to Seafarers’ Welfare in Mediterranean and Black Sea Ports Since the 1820s

By Alston Kennerley, published February 2007


The seamen’s mission movement was globalized from the 1820s. In Mediterranean and Black Sea ports welfare was early provided by the Nonconformist BFSS (the British and Foreign Seamen’s Friend Society and Bethel Union), conducting shipboard services on Sundays. From the 1830s to 1860s the society declined, but the Consular Advances Act (1825) gave state support to local chaplains. On its repeal in 1873 the Bishop of Gibraltar encouraged seamen’s missions; favouring a parish-based approach for Anglican activity, the revival saw emphasis on day centre facilities, halls for worship and entertainment, and accommodation, with ship visits and short services still the focus. Postwar, the Mediterranean Missions to Seamen (MMS) continued chaplaincy based seamen’s missions; the Second World War curtailed its activity.

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Filed under: Interwar | Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines | Navies

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