PortCities London

Passengers and the port

Emigration and post-war immigration

A difficult choice

The Emigrants.
View full size imageThe Emigrants, by Jacques-Joseph Tissot. © NMM
An estimated 11 million people emigrated overseas from Britain between 1815 and 1930. Most went to the United States, with the rest going to British colonies, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa.

More than 30 million people left Continental Europe for overseas destinations during the same period. Most of them also went to the United States, and millions of Europeans travelled via British ports.


The Parting Cheer, by Henry O'Neil.
View full size imageThe Parting Cheer, by Henry O'Neil. © NMM
Not everyone who emigrated settled abroad. Some were 'temporary migrants', who planned to return after they had become successful. Whether people planned to make new lives abroad or whether they planned to return, emigration was still a huge decision.  

Early hardships 

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