The Transports Human Cargo


Human Cargo comes to Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on 5 June. We're delighted to be partnering with Support Wigan Arrivals Project (SWAP) for Parallel Lives.SWAP provides asylum seekers and refugees with practical hands-on support through a range of services, including 1:1 advocacy and case work, educational and support groups working across Wigan Borough.

Above, you can see LILY NIXON, aged 13 in 1902. She’s just been admitted to the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges & Homes, along with her two younger sisters. When both their parents died, they tried living on in Hulme. But when the NSPCC found them in the house of a prostitute, it took them into care. Lily then found herself admitted to an ‘emigration training home for girls’.

Six months later, she was on a boat to Quebec. Canadian farms needed labour. British authorities had spare children. It’s not clear whether her sisters went with her. Young people in Liverpool have been finding out about the lives of people like Lily through the Together Trust.

MARGARET KIRBY was a 19 year old servant from Liverpool, transported to Tasmania in 1838 for ten years - for stealing five silk handkerchiefs. It’s likely she fell prey to a policy of convicting single, young women for tiny offences – to, effectively, traffick them as comfort brides for ex-convicts in the colony.


Liverpool James Johnson Personal Description

Born in Liverpool, sentenced in Liverpool, JAMES JOHNSON was convicted by the Quarter Session in 1834 of stealing two umbrellas, for which he earned seven years transportation to Tasmania. Yes, it was his third crime, but the earlier offences were just as petty. He was a 29 Year old brewer when he left, 5’2.5” without shoes, reddish whiskers, small nose and very light eyebrows, as shown by this detailed prison report.

Our partner organisations inLiverpool

Support for Wigan Arrivals Project (SWAP)