Emigrants to a New World gallery

Roleplayer dressed as emigrant on a ship

Between 1830 and 1930 about forty million people left Europe in search of a new and better life.

About nine million of them sailed from Liverpool, then the largest emigration port in the world. These people were mostly travelling to North America, Australia and New Zealand - the ‘New World’.

Most who sailed from Liverpool were ordinary people leading ordinary lives. Many found their better life, others were less fortunate.

Many of them, and their descendants, made major contributions to the development of the countries to which they emigrated.

This gallery tells their story, including

  • Tales of hope of the emigrants, leaving poverty and persecution to grasp the opportunities offered by the 'New World'
  • The effect on Liverpool and the shipping companies, lodging houses and other businesses which flourished in the city
  • Life on board the sailing vessels and the dangers faced at sea
  • The growth of steamship companies such as White Star, Cunard, Allan, Inman, Guion and National in the 19th century
  • The great liners of the 20th century
  • The end of an era, as restrictions were placed on the numbers of immigrants to some countries and air travel became more popular

Britain's child migrants

The former exhibition On their own: Britain's child migrants looked at the stories of the children who were sent from Britain to Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries through child migration schemes between 1869 and 1967.

The sinking of the Royal Charter

Find out more about the sinking of this famous emigrant ship in our Royal Charter web pages. This online feature, which was created to mark 150th anniversary of the sinking in 2009, includes a number of items from the wreck that are on display in the gallery.

Leaving from Liverpool

Follow a 19th century family on a journey of discovery as they emigrate to Australia in the Emigration challenge on our kids' website.