Liverpool Seamen’s Friend Society, annual report and statement of accounts.



Formed in Liverpool in 1820 as the Liverpool Seamen’s Friend Society and Bethel Union, it was non-denominational and offered support to seamen, their families and departing emigrants, and also loaned portable libraries to ships. The Society also supplied religious publications in respective languages to emigrants at their boarding houses and at embarkation. The Society established the first floating chapel in Liverpool, on the William, sometimes called the “Bethel” ship, an ex-whaler built in 1775 and anchored at Salthouse Dock. In 1881 the Liverpool Seamen’s Friend Society made its first move towards accommodating seafarers when it obtained a room in the Mariners Parade for use as a free sitting and reading room. In 1900 the Right Honourable Samuel Smith, M.P., erected and furnished a building as a memorial to mark the death of his son, J. Gordon Smith. The Gordon Smith Institute, Paradise Street, became the headquarters for the Liverpool Seamen’s Friend Society, accommodating up to two hundred seafarers a night. In 1975 the Institute went into liquidation and the Liverpool Seamen’s Friend Society ceased its operations. For further details see the attached catalogue or contact The Archives Centre for a copy of the catalogue.