Samuel Plimsoll, British politician

Samuel Plimsoll, British politician

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Samuel Plimsoll (1824-1898), British politician, social reformer and inventor of the 'Plimsoll line'. Plimsoll was a Member of Parliament who was concerned that sailors were being put at risk because cargo ship owners overloaded their vessels. His work led to the Merchant Shipping Act of 1876 which meant that ships had to have loading marks on their sides. These 'Plimsoll lines' were enforced from 1894. They consisted of a circle with a line through it at the level that the water would reach when the ship was fully laden. In 1890 his book Cattleships, drew attention to the cruelty of exporting live animals. Image taken from the 1876 volume of Men of Mark and Distinction.

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