Arrival in England, June 11th 1901
Wednesday 5 June 1901 - Tuesday 11 June 1901
It has been two weeks since our first entry following the exploits of Mr. William Hatch as he crossed eastward over the ocean. While he wrote much, a ten day voyage aboard a relatively small ship in the middle of the steel-gray North Atlantic left little more for him to do than observe the other passengers, and read -- as the picture below shows.
With his departure from Portland, Maine on June 1st 1901, Hatch had set out on the voyage of a lifetime. Travelling aboard the RMS Dominion, he remarked frequently on the food, accommodation, and other passengers, as we have already seen. The most common of his descriptions to his wife Nellie, however, was the persistence of the sea; "Think of it, nine days with only water, water everywhere." Hatch often remarks on the fine weather as well - apart from infrequent rain and fog - and finds that "the salt air gives a good appetite." Nevertheless, he is delighted when he "went out on deck before breakfast [and] we were in plain sight of the coast of the Emerald Isle." Mr. Hatch continues, "we expect to reach [Liverpool] at eight or nine to-morrow morning. It seems good to see land. ...Our voyage has been very prosperous and all are happy. I shall not be sorry to get on to mother earth again."
The image above is an 1890 advert for the Dominion Line Royal Mail Steamers. This shipping company bought the "Prussia" from a German shipping company in 1894 and designated it as the lead ship in their fleet, renaming it the "Dominion." It was this very ship aboard which William Hatch sighted the shores of Ireland on June 10th, 1901 and landed ashore in Liverpool, England just one day later. While still aboard the Dominion Hatch had the first of what would be many experiences which only occur while travelling abroad. These are the unique instances in which the traveler is smacked full force with the realization that they are no longer in their home country. Such occasions can be confusing and intimidating, but they are always invigorating -- there is nothing quite like these experiences "back home." Below is an excerpt from his journal in which Mr. Hatch recounts just such an encounter:
Clearly his first interactions with the English had been a bit discombobulating but were far from disastrous. On the contrary, Hatch quickly found the English people, their customs, and especially their countryside to be exceptionally endearing. On Wednesday June 11th, 1901 the Dominion docked in Liverpool harbor, and from there Hatch and his companions traveled to Chester, a town just a few miles south east of Liverpool. His first glimpses of a city that was hundreds of years older than his country clearly made its impression on William:
These first impressions of England are where we will leave off for now. Until next time, cheers!
Interim Director, Rockford Area Historical Society