Wooden barrel in which flour was sent by the Union States USA to Rochdale during the Lancashire cotton famine on the ship the George Griswold.
On the 9th February 1863 the “George Griswold” docked at Liverpool carrying food sent from New York and Philadelphia to thank the starving people of Lancashire for their support for the Northern States. Amongst the cargo were boxes of bacon and bread, bags of rice and corn, and 15,000 barrels of flour. The barrel you see here is the only one remaining from that voyage.
The barrel was restored by a Cooper in 2002 after being found in the museum store in pieces.
During the American Civil War the Union Navy blockaded the Southern ports to ruin the Confederate economy by preventing the export of goods such as cotton to England.
In Lancashire, by the beginning of 1862, cotton shortages had begun to bite. Cotton mills were either opening part-time or closing down altogether. Mill workers were laid off with little money to pay for food, clothes or housing. Their hardship was a direct result of the blockade yet the majority of Rochdale’s mill workers followed the moral lead of John Bright’s anti-slavery stance in supporting the free Northern States of America.