The Mayflower Departs
On this day in 1620 the Mayflower left Plymouth for North America, carrying on board 102 passengers and 25 to 30 crew members
Having first attempted to make the crossing in August the Mayflower had been forced to dock due to her companionship, the Speedwell, repeatedly springing leaks. It was here that the Speedwell would be left, here condition too poor to make a successful voyage likely.
Now in September, western gales turned the North Atlantic into a dangerous place to sail, yet the Mayflower left port on what William Bradford called "a prosperous wind". They could ill afford to stay longer; provisions were already quite low when departing Southampton, and they became lower still by delays of more than a month.
At about 180 tons, the Mayflower was considered a smaller cargo ship and so the 130 or so people on board would be forced to endure extremely crowded conditions. This would be her first transatlantic trip, having previously been used to ship wine and clothing between England and Bordeaux. She was not in particularly good shape either and would be sold for scrap four years after her Atlantic Journey. The stakes for both passengers and crew was therefore very high.
In our next blog on the voyage, we will look at what life aboard the Mayflower was like for its passengers and crew.
This scene was built by James Pegrum as part of a series of models on the voyage of the Mayflower. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see them first.
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