The story of fighting ship HMS Namur, now under the floor of the at workshop at Chatham


HMS Namur was a 90-gun Royal Navy ship of the line built at Chatham Dockyard and launched on the 3rd March 1756. The picture above by Richard Perret is from the Wikimedia Commons.

She fought under Nelson in the 1797 battle of Cape St Vincent and had a long life – she was placed on arbour service in 1807, and wasn’t finally broken up until 1833. But the striking thing is that here timbers were then placed under a workshop floor and were only discovered in 1995, and identified in 2003.

Her identification is the subject of a thesis by St Andrews University student Daniel Atkinson. Read it here: Shipbuilding and timber management in the Royal Dockyards 1750-1850 : an archaeological investigation of timber marks

The Jolly Caulkers


No, it’s not the name of a bunch of old boys who look after old boats and like to crack a few jokes over their cups of tea – it’s the name of a pub close to the historic shipyards at Chatham.

Most of us have come across pubs with names like ‘The Jolly Sailors’ or ‘The Jolly Farmers’ (though that makes me think of the rhyming slang) – and from the web I know that there are pubs called ‘The Jolly Anglers’ and ‘The Jolly Colliers’, but caulking seems a wonderfully specialist trade to celebrate. But why shouldn’t caulkers be jolly? Thirsty work, caulking. Cheers!

Arthur Ransome fans work to buy Swallow replica at Turk’s film prop boat auction

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Arthur Ransome film boat Swallow for sale

Swallow is included in the Turk’s sale

Swallow, one of two dinghies made for a 1974 film of Arthur Ransome’s popular children’s novel Swallows & Amazons, is up for auction in a few days and Ransome enthusiasts are looking for supporters to help raise cash to buy her.

The idea behind the campaign is to get Swallow on the water so Ransome fans can have an experience just like in the books; anyone will be allowed to sail in her for a small fee, and those who have donated to the original appeal will be given credits towards an appropriate number of sailing visits.

Volunteers who skipper Swallow for the benefit of a non-sailing crew, drive her from place to place as needed, or undertake maintenance will not be required need to contribute. However, as the organisers of the bid say, the boat is not likely to be cheap, and they will need a lot of pledges to get their attempt to buy the boat off the ground. See the group’s website here:

A separate bid to acquire the important 1906 steam launch Cygnet in the same sale has also been put together by the Heritage Steamboat Trust, the Thames Boats Trust and The Consuta Trust, which plan to bid for the important old craft and to exhibit and store her at Beale Park. The organisers believe they can access matching funds for 50 per cent of the purchase, but are also looking to enthusiasts for funds – as they say, if she was sold abroad or modified by a private buyer part of the UK’s marine heritage would be damaged or lost forever. For more information on the Cygnet project, see

The boats are part of an auction of boats used as film props currently to be held at Chatham by the long-established Thames boatyard Turk’sclick here for more on the sale.

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