Tag Archives: navy

Steam yachts of a century ago, from Jeff Cole’s collection

DODO

 

VALHALLA ALBERTA, S.V.

Dodo, Valhalla and Consuelo

Today’s gallery of photos are of steam yachts, and they belong to a collection that Jeff Cole acquired back when he was a teenager.

Except for Dodo he says they are all private steam yachts, mostly photographed at Cowes, and wonders what what happened to them?

On some odd cuttings that came with the photos, GL Watson is mentioned as a popular designer, and Thames, South Coast, Irish and Clyde yards are mentioned as building this kind of craft.

Dodo on Windemere appears in a supplement to The Yachtsman no. 504 published in  December 1900. Photo by Brunskill of Windemere.

Alberta, owned by His Majesty the King of the Belgians appears in a supplement to The Yachtsman, no. 415, March 1899. Photo by J De Muevyuck.

Valhalla on hearing that she was third in an ocean race. Jeff thinks she may be a training ship. She appears in a supplement to Yachting World, June 1905. Photo by Illustration Bureau.

Consuelo appears in a supplement to The Yachtsman, no. 522, April 1901
Photo A. Debenham, Cowes. The warship in the background appears to have side-by-side funnels and two rigged masts. Aft, Jeff has identified what seems to be a gun extended at deckhouse level consistent with a barbette, and smaller traversing turrets below it, and so he thinks this is a Royal Sovereign Class shipHMS Royal Sovereign was flagship of the Channel Squadron round this time, so it could be her.

Ombra was owned by Baron Von Schroeder appears in a supplement to Yachting World, December 1902. The designer: GL Watson, the builder D&W Henderson. She’s described as a steel twin screw schooner, with a Thames measurement of : 267 tons, and 140 by 20.1 by 12.5ft. Photo Kirk & Sons, Cowes.

Vista was owned by Mr WS Hunter, and appears in a supplement to Yachting World, May 1905. She was designed and built by W White & Sons, and is described as a composite screw schooner of 95 tons Thames measurement, and 98.4 by 14.6 by 7.7ft. Photo by West of Southsea. She has a fleur de lis at the forepeak, what appears to be a Royal Yacht Club pennant on the mizzen, and a White Ensign on the jackstaff. Under the bowsprit a full rigged ship can be seen in the distance.

Mirage owned by the Marquis of Ormonde, of the Royal Yacht Squadron. She appears in a supplement to Yachting World no.5, Vol 1, 1894. The image is a Photomezzotype by The London Stereoscopic Co. from a photo by W Kirk of Cowes. Jeff remarks that it is one of the earliest photos in his collection – some of the others are too badly foxed or undated. Note two other sailing yachts moored behind.

Erin as she was when she set out to cross the Atlantic. The image is a Photomezzotype from the Yachting World, thinks Jeff. The shot dates from the mid-1890s, but there is no other information. The ‘lights’ are white dots added to the image by hand, as are the letters ‘ERIN’ between the masts.

La Belle Sauvage appears in a supplement to Yachting World, January 1902. The photo is by Beken of Cowes. 1902 was the year of the Coronation Regatta. Note all sails are stowed in covers and the tropical awnings have been rigged.

Sabrina, Thames measurement 513 tons. She appears in a supplement to Yachting World, August 1899. Photo by Kirk of Cowes.

Oimara, 202 tons,  as shown in a supplement to Yachting World, January 1903. Photo by Adamson, Rothesay. Jeff comments that there are canvas screens on the bridge, and that although she is under way she has gangplank rigged. Also notice the figurehead.

Shemara, pictured in a supplement to Yachting World, February 1900. Photo by Debenham, Cowes.

Vanduara, 450 tons, owned by Mr Stewart Clark. The photo comes from a supplement to Yachting World October 1894. It is a badly foxed Photomezzotype, but shows a female figurehead, and, Jeff thinks, a small un-rigged keelboat yacht in davits aft on the staboard side.

Paulina from a supplement to Yachting World published in May 1900. Photo by Kirk & Sons, Cowes.

Nirvana, owned by the Countess de Bearn, shown in a supplement to Yachting World February 1904. Photo by Robertson of  Gourock. Jeff says there is a tricolor on the jackstaff, the figurehead seems a bird, and there is a crewman walking a boom rigged with a rope ladder to the dinghy.

Surf, 489 tons, as shown in a supplement the Yachting World, in November 1899. Photo by Debenham of Cowes.

Tuscarora shown in a supplement to Yachting World, February 1902. Photo Beken of  Cowes. There’s a rope ladder over stern, and boats appear to be being prepared for launching.

The steel screw steamer Titania appeared in a supplement to Yachting World published in  April 1905. She was designed and built by Day, Summers and Co and owned by Mr S. Taylor Chadwick. She was of 138 tons Thames Measurement, and measured 116.5 by 16.1 by 10.1ft. The photo is by Kirk of Cowes.

Researching the fate of these craft, Jeff found that the steam yacht Hiawatha – not pictured in this post – was acquired by the Royal Navy, which renamed her HMS Undine. She served at Sheerness and as flagship to the Commander-in-Chief of the Nore Fleet.

Thanks for the shots and information Jeff!

Steam pinnace 199 open day at Gosport, 2nd February

Pinnace 199

The Steam pinnace 199 project is holding an open day this Saturday at the Maritime Workshop, Gosport, Hampshire, from 10am to 3pm – she’s been undergoing a refit at the workshop since February 2012.

Built in 1911, Steam pinnace 199 is a wooden-hulled picket boat powered by steam machinery and is the sole operational survivor out of 634 vessels of her type. Picket boats were essential to the effective operation of the Royal Navy: their role was to defend capital ships while anchored.

Steam pinnace 199 is thought to have served alongside HMS Monarch at Jutland during the First World War, and is operated and maintained for her owners, the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

Throughout Saturday there will be opportunities to learn about her history as well as to talk with volunteers who have undertaken over 3,000 hours of work so far.

The current group of volunteers were recently awarded a highly commended certificate  for their preservation work by National Historic Ships.

Entry is free, but I’m sure donations large and small will be very welcome!

To date the volunteers have raised £86,500 of the £97,500 required for the restoration project, including a £50,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £30,000 from the Friends of the National Museum of the Royal Navy and £1,000 from National Historic Ships.

Directions: approach via Forton Road and Mill Lane. Take the third right turn into St Vincent College grounds and proceed down to the end where there is a parking area next to some moorings. Note that the workshop’s official address is 50 Ferrol Road but this through the old shipyard entrance and access is very restricted unless you are on foot.

A love song about the Montagu whaler

Montagu whaler – a boat type that inspires a deep affection among some of those who have known them well

There’s a song about everything in my experience, and I’m not shy about reminding folks of this important cultural fact. I find they nod and smile, and pull expressions that show they think I’m being silly.

But this is an important matter, and I know I’m right, and that the evidence is there for those who look for it. So I was delighted this week a thread on the astoundingly bonkers Mudcat forum that led me to a song that pays  tribute to a famous boat used by the British Navy – the Montagu whaler. Made and sung by a chap called Bernie Bruen, it’s available from the British Library sound archives website.

Bernie has a nice way with words, I’m sure you’ll agree.  Listen to it here.

For more Intheboatshed.net posts about whalers, click here.

Does anyone know the story of WWII minesweeper tender Waldemar?

Waldemar compass pic 1

Waldemar compass pic

 

William Hughes has got in touch to ask for help in tracking down some information about a minesweeper tender called Waldemar built in 1931 that belonged to the mustard manufacturing Colman family and was later provided to the Royal Navy at the start of World War II. (For photos of another Colman family vessel, the Norfolk Broads wherry Hathor, click here.)

The reason for William’s interest is that he has what he has been told is the Waldemar’s compass in a rather fine binnacle, which has a certain amount of navy grey paint here and there. The compass itself is marked ‘E Dent & Co of London BOAT COMPASS No 43698′.

He’s also been told that the vessel is laid up in Pin Mill.

From what he’s seen on websites about the Navy, he believes the Waldemar was used as a first contact into port vessel as well as a minesweeper tender.

William would be grateful for any photographs or further information. Please either use the comments link below or email me at gmatkin@gmail.com and I will pass the information on to him.

Sea songs from Gavin Davenport’s new CD

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Gavin Davenport concertina and sea songs

My musician and singer friend Gavin Davenport has kindly agreed to let me publish a couple of MP3s of two sea songs from his new album Brief Lives, which is available from the shop section of his website. In each he accompanies himself using a beautiful old ebony-ended Wheatstone anglo concertina.

The songs, British Man Of War and On Board Of A Ninety-Eight come from the Navy’s wooden walls era, are striking and are really two sides of the same coin.

In the first, a swaggering and excited young tells his worried lover that he’s joining the Navy and will return covered in glory; in the second an old sailor tells the story of his heroic career as a sailor in the Navy, and finishes by explaining that he has been well looked after, and is now nearly 98. The ninety-eight of the title is a ship with 98 guns, by the way.

Neither really engage with the downsides of war and, like many sea songs, contain strong elements of boasting and wishful thinking. Well, I guess they had to have something to keep them going.

Was Sir Walter Raleigh a murderer?

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Sir Walter Raleigh painted by Nicholas Hilliard, from the The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei via the Wikimedia

Ex-Naval man, 20th century historian and Roman Catholic Bishop, David Mathew describes Sir Walter Raleigh’s importance in 1596 like this: ‘With Hawkins, Drake and Grenville lost on service and Frobisher dead the previous year, Sir Walter Raleigh alone remained. Though much less of a naval figure, for he was in essence a Renaissance magnifico, Raleigh set the lines of later doctrine.’

British schoolchildren are taught that he was an important figure in Queen Elizabeth I’s court and navy, and that he was always getting into trouble with his queen, on one occasion for secretly marrying one of her ladies-in-waiting. But was he also a heartless murderer?

A street ballad in Samuel Pepys’s ballad collection certainly suggests he was. Read the story as told in a ballad that was widely sung and part of the oral tradition in England and America well into the 20th century. Sussex singer, fisherman and ferryman Johnny Doughty had a a particularly good version.

It’s sometimes also known as the Sweet Trinity and has its own Wikipedia entry. Mudcat has versions, and a surprising range of really good tunes for the song.

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27ft type K Montagu whaler

whaler-2

whaler-1 whaler-3

The Montagu type K whaler

The post announcing that Dick Wynne’s restored whaler Vancouver is up for sale has attracted quite a lot of attention in the last day or two, so I’ve decided to share these snaps from a copy of the 1937 Manual of Seamanship published by the Admiralty.

The rudder and centreboard seem remarkably small, don’t you think? By the way, the trysail in the upper photo is supposed to double as a spinnaker!