Between 1860 and 1924 well over 200,000 individuals crossed the Atlantic Ocean from the Port of Londonderry to seek new homes in the United States, Canada and South America, as well as Australia and New Zealand.
In the beginning transportation was mainly on sailing ships where most migrants were crammed into large single compartments with multiple rows of beds. The adequate provision of meals, ventilation and sanitation were sorely lacking in the 30 day passage leaving emigrants hungry, dirty, ill, and totally bereft of privacy.
Eventually sail gave away to steam and on Tuesday morning June 5th 1877, the Devonia, a new steamship and the latest addition to the large and powerful fleet of the Anchor Line owned by the Henderson Bros in Scotland, arrived in Lough Foyle and opened to the public. Besides her cargo space she had accommodation for 240 cabin and 800 steerage passengers. The visitors who thronged her all day were very favourably impressed with the richness and elegance of the whole ship and the complete comfort for passengers in such a vessel. After embarking mails and 150 passengers, she set off at 12 noon for New York on her pioneer 7 day voyage.
This began the very successful continuation of emigration by the Anchor Line from the Port of Derry. The Anchor Line office in Derry was in Foyle Street and from the late 1800’s Sam Henderson was the Manager and they provided transportation to emigrants to all parts of the world.
The Grandfather of Tony Henderson, the owner of Derrywalls.com, could have provided some of the relations of present visitors with transport from Ireland to the New World !
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