The history of press-gangs

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Mitford WI

NEVER have the Mitford WI ladies felt more relaxed and informed at the same time following our October meeting.

The threesome group Old English had been entertaining us with Northumberland pipes, tin whistle, guitar and song to give a fascinating history of the press-gangs of the 17th and 18th centuries, all under the title of Pressed.

We learnt, through a selection of ballads, all about the cruelty, violence and injustices of being pressed into the service of the Royal Navy and were shown some excellent old prints illustrating punishments on board ship and the sadness of a family losing their bread-winner.

The topic is especially relevant to the North East as the Tyne was second in importance only to the Thames as a naval port.

All in all, it was an evening of great entertainment with a fascinating subject, giving much to think about how people coped with the difficulties of life in those days.