Ship, City of Montreal, across center image headed to right. Most of center of ship aflame. Eight lifeboats full of passengers in front in water. Remainder of title: Her Passengers and Crew were rescued by the Steamer York City of Baltimore, bound to London. The City of Montreal was 432 feet long, 44 breadth of beam, 36 depth of hold, and 4451 tons measurement.
In 1887, the steamship City of Montreal was destroyed by fire 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland on her way from New York to Liverpool. The ship was carrying a cargo of 8,000 bales of raw American cotton as well as 94 crew members and 147 passengers. Shipping the flammable cotton was a dangerous job and the ship was the 73rd with such cargo to catch fire in a five-month period. Miraculously, all passengers and the crew were rescued. The eight lifeboats in which the passengers escaped can be seen in the foreground of the print. The Inman Line, which operated from 1850 to 1893, was one of the largest British passenger shipping companies in the Atlantic Ocean. By 1870, the company landed more passengers in New York than any other line. Unlike other companies, Inman ships provided cooked meals to those on board, most of who were immigrating to the United States. The ships typically carried 500 passengers, 80 percent of them riding in steerage.