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Description

A membership card, No. S.22, of The Mission to Seamen Cardiff Branch, bearing a blue image of the "Flying Angel". The card states that the organisation's patron is H.M. the Queen, and the President of the Cardiff Branch is the Bishop of Llandaff. The address is Maritime Road, Main Dock Gate, Bute Docks, Cardiff CF1 5UU. Telephone 0222-20869.

"The history of The Mission to Seafarers dates back to 1835 when a young Anglican clergyman holidaying near the Bristol Channel, the Revd John Ashley, realised that the seafarers who manned the ships there had no one to minister to them. He decided to change his plans to join a parish immediately and become a chaplain for crews who sailed the merchant fleet. The Revd John Ashley’s work, between its beginnings in 1835 and his retirement in 1850, inspired similar ministries in other ports and, in 1856, it was decided that these should be grouped together under the name The Mission to Seamen Afloat, at Home and Abroad. In 1858 the society was renamed The Missions to Seamen and adopted a flying angel as its symbol. By this time the society had expanded its work to 14 ports. The change from sail to steam, which took place during the late 1800s and the early 1900s, meant that ships could now dock at quaysides because they no longer had to anchor at sea waiting for a favourable wind. This created a need for somewhere for the seafarers to go ashore. In response, the Mission gradually opened centres so that the men could be offered light refreshments, reading and games rooms, good cheap accommodation and, of course, a chapel….

In 2000, The Missions to Seamen changed its name to The Mission to Seafarers, the new name reflecting what the Mission had always been in reality – a society which cares for all who earn their living at sea, regardless of belief, gender, nationality or rank."

Source: staff.missiontoseafarers.org/uploads/pdfs/about-us/flying-angel-story.pdf, accessed 19/4/17.

"Why Flying Angel? It is said that when the sky was dark and the sea choppy, John Ashley saw what looked like an angel flying over the Bristol Channel. He then made his decision to minister to ships." Source: South Wales Echo, Monday 17 March 1975, page 9.

Volunteers now help the organisation by:

· visiting ships to give seafarers a friendly welcome and offer help, support and advice;
· help with transport;
· provide refreshments and support at centres; and
· fund-raising.

Source: www.missiontoseafarers.org/Pages/Category/volunteer, accessed 19/4/17.

Cardiff Story Museum, CARCM: 2009.130
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