ROBERTS JOHN 25 JAMES & SARAH H799 Skipper 12 Jan 1885 Lost at sea
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LEANDER H1049 Second Hand Mar 1884 .
SUMMER H1045 . Skipper 18 Aug 1884 .
JAMES & SARAH H799 Skipper 12 Jan 1885 Lost at sea Aged 25
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ARTICLES BELOW are By Courtesy Dudley Procter "great grandson of John Roberts".

John Roberts and Eliza Sophia Roberts ( née Girdlestone) were both born in Great Yarmouth, a seaside town which owed much to the herring industry.


Both John and Eliza had moved to Hull before they married and resided at 2 Goulton Street. They married on the 20th June 1880 and their first home was on Hessle Road, near the church where they were married:-

ROBERTS JOHN 25 16 Welton Terrace, Hessle Road, Hull Yarmouth Fisherman 1881 .
. ELIZA 19 . Yarmouth Spouse 1881 Nee Girdlestone

In 1881 when the newly wed parents of Jack Roberts lived at 16 Welton Terrace their neighbours in the other fifteen houses of Welton Terrace included:-


            6 Fishermen, 1 Mariner, 1 Marine Fireman, 1 Shipwright Apprentice,

            2 Railway Porters, 2 General Labourers, 1 Joiner and 1 Sawyer


In these sixteen terraced houses (with just two rooms upstairs and two down) there lived 36 adults and 25 children. Hull’s population grew rapidly from the 1850s led by immigration from other parts of the country with an ensuing high birth rate among the immigrants. This can be demonstrated in Welton Terrace for only 5 of the 36 adults were born in Hull, whereas 24 of the 25 children were born in the City.


The houses of Welton Terrace and the neighbourhood were undoubtedly overcrowded. The whole area deteriorated in the 20th century and the Hessle Road was said to be a dangerous, sleazy and slum area of the City. Much of the housing south of the Hessle Road and immediately to the north of the docks was cleared after the Second World War. In their place, new roads gave enhanced access to the City and new industrial premises and warehousing were erected.

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James & Sarah H799
Date 29 Jan 1885

At 4.30am on the tail end of the Dogger Bank Thomas Parry was washed overboard and drowned the same day at 11.30 am the Skipper John Roberts and the Second Hand Samuel Mann where also washed overboard and drowned.

1884 crew list for the James & Sarah H799


The normal complement was a crew of five so that the last two named Deckhand and Cook above were replacements. Note also that the Skipper and the 2nd Hand received no wages but were entitled to three eighths and one eighth share of the fishing profits. Presumably the owner received the other half. The wages of the rest of the crew were between £1 and 11/- per week and were to be paid to their wives or other women!! The crew were also entitled to specified proportions of the salvage value of the boat, with 40% reserved to the owner. The crew was a cosmopolitan mix from Sweden, France, Prussia and Flensburg, which was on the German/Danish border.



Hull Packet Article 16 January 1885






It is tragic to note that the second hand on the James & Sarah was Samuel Robert Mann. He was the brother in law of John Roberts, having married Elizabeth Girdlestone (sister of the wife of John Roberts and witness to his marriage) in 1882. Samuel Mann and Elizabeth Girdlestone had a five months old son.


Below is the agreement between Robert Gale the owner and John Roberts the Skipper of the Smack James & Sarah








The "James & Sarah" was owned by Robert Gale. He was born in Hull and lived there all his life. He was the son of Thomas Gale, a Rope Maker, who in 1851 and 1861 lived in High Street, Hull with his wife Hannah. They had eight children, Robert being the sixth. Robert was an Apprentice Mast and Block Maker in 1861. Thereafter, he was a Mast and Block maker and eventually in 1901 a Shipwright and Boat Builder. He and his wife Elizabeth had six children and lived in Hull, successively at Albion Buildings, Brunswick Avenue, Day Street and finally in 1901 at 3 Cholmley Street, shown below. Also below is a document setting out particulars of the "James & Sarah