The Preserver of the Passengers
July 31, 2017 4:42 PM   Subscribe

Remembering Grace Darling: Heroine and Victorian Media Sensation. At Flickering Lamps, Caroline writes about Grace Darling, a lighthouse keeper's daughter who in 1838 assisted in rescuing shipwreck survivors. "The fame of Grace Darling provides a fascinating insight into the way that the 19th Century media helped to create modern-day heroes, and how Grace's character reflected the period's idea of the virtuous woman." Additionally, you can take a virtual tour of the RNLI Grace Darling Museum here.
posted by mixedmetaphors (11 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Postman's Park in London is covered in heartwarming plaques with stories of lower class self-sacrifice.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:22 PM on July 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

"All b-boatmen are Grace Darlings to me."
posted by praemunire at 6:41 PM on July 31, 2017

An American counterpart to Grace Darling would be Abbie Burgess, who in 1856, at age 16, ran the remote Matinicus Rock lighthouse for several weeks when her father the keeper couldn’t get back out to their island because of bad weather. She’s remembered today by, among other things, a number of books, and a 175’ Coast Guard cutter stationed in Rockland, Maine. It keeps the area's 350+ aids to navigation going, as Abbie did for the lighthouse.
posted by LeLiLo at 6:49 PM on July 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure whether I'm more intrigued or concerned by the discovery that G. W. M. Reynolds decided to have a go at fictionalizing Darling's story. (If you're a Victorianist, Reynolds is best known for the endless Mysteries of London.) Reynolds' preface is interesting, especially because the French women vs. English women comparison--itself totally bog-standard for the nineteenth century--normally played out as a critique of French femininity (and moral attitudes more generally), not as a call for equality.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:57 PM on July 31, 2017 [3 favorites]

Bill Jones recorded a song about her.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 9:03 PM on July 31, 2017

And a Canadian / Great Lakes counterpart: Abigail Becker
posted by elizilla at 6:16 AM on August 1, 2017

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought immediately of Brideshead Revisited.
posted by jouke at 6:58 AM on August 1, 2017

How is this not already a West End musical?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:18 AM on August 1, 2017

And for a comedic musical interlude, the Limeliters sing The Ballad of Grace Darling. Serious license is taken.
posted by worldswalker at 10:54 AM on August 1, 2017

This is great, thank you for posting it. Other interesting stuff at her blog, too.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:50 PM on August 1, 2017

There's a very old and famous pub in Melbourne called the Grace Darling, but I'd never heard the story behind the name. Thanks for posting!
posted by une_heure_pleine at 5:26 AM on August 2, 2017

« Older Those doomed, conscripted, unvictorious ones   |   "w", they shout, and "a", and "s", and "d", a mob... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments