In spring 2005 I was fortunate enough to receive a £500 grant from The Friendly Hand which enabled me to undertake one week’s research at the Merseyside Maritime Museum’s Archives, Liverpool as part of my PhD investigating women’s journeys abroad by rail and sea between 1870 and 1940. In addition, I was also able to visit the Special Collections and Archives at the University of Liverpool to scout out further sources for future visits.
It proved to be an invaluable trip as the Museum’s archive was one of the richest sources of original material I found during my research. I was able to study seven diaries that contained detailed accounts of three women’s and four men’s ocean journeys across the world (my work included a comparison of male and female journey accounts). The Archives’ library also contained some very useful secondary resources that I had not found anywhere else. Without the grant from the Trust, it would have been very much harder for me to make this trip as the cost of train tickets, hotels and meals mount up over the course of a week, especially on PhD funding!
The women’s diaries were some of the most used in my final thesis so of course went a very long way towards helping me achieve my doctorate. I am currently adapting the thesis into a book to be published by the University of Manchester Press, which is a very exciting process. I am extremely grateful to the Trust for the extra funding they gave me; financial life as a PhD researcher can be tough and their grant helped me to make one of my most important research trips.