Archive for the ‘British’ Category

The Funeral of Lord Nelson

October 12, 2017

The hearse carrying Lord Nelson’s coffin is seen below in an 1806 aquatint. Contemporary accounts of the funeral can be found in: Fairburn’s (2nd) edition of the funeral of admiral lord Nelson (1806); [London] Gazette, January 14, 1806; Monthly Mirror, January 1806; and more depictions of the funeral.

(The Funeral Car of our late Vice Admiral  Horatio Viscount Nelson)

Advertisements

Writings of Admiral Samuel Hood

October 11, 2017

Admiral Hood had a long and distinguished career in the Royal Navy, but few of his writings are publicly available. His autobiography (including some correspondence) is contained on pages 1-37 of volume 17 of the Naval Chronicle, and there was an edition of his letters – Letters written by Sir Samuel Hood (Viscount Hood) in 1781-2-3, illustrated by extracts from logs and public records – published in 1895. In addition, scattered official letters from earlier times can be found in Letters to the ministry, from Governor Bernard, General Gage, and Commodore Hood (1769).

However, a new major project – Georgian Papers Online – has uncovered many more letters by this worthy. Identified as Letters from Rear-Adm. Sir Samuel (later Lord) Hood to General Jacob de Budé, including some copies of related correspondence to and from Hood, this source contains writings to and from Hood that have never been available before. While the documents themselves are in various hands, the full descriptions of each letter, as well as transcriptions in some cases, allow the reader to fully appreciate these missives.

 

How Does the House of Lords Work?

September 20, 2017

Customs and Traditions of the House of Lords sheds some light on how this body operates. In a short but informative way, this entity is examined from its inception. Numerous footnotes and appendices help to explain what this institution actually does. For those of us not really familiar with the workings of the House of Lords, this primer really does help. So when we encounter Lord Bombast or Viscount Haughty in our readings, we can place them in context.

The First Pacific Voyages

September 6, 2017

This 1990 monograph – Background To Discovery: Pacific Exploration from Dampier to Cook – explores the first English and French incursions into the area. Editor Derek Howse has assembled a first-rate team of authors to tell the tales of that era, supplemented by informative notes and explanations.

Officials in Modern Great Britain

July 31, 2017

When I am reading my various British naval fiction series, I sometimes come across office titles that I am not aware of. Thankfully, there is recourse to the multi-volume Office-Holders in Modern Britain, a post-medieval enumeration of who held what office, whether in the Home Office or the Foreign Office or in any of what seem to be innumerable bureaucratic entities. Each volume opens with a brief history of the office in question, followed by a list of appointees, dates where possible, and notes to further sources. These volumes constitute the ONLY published source of this type of information. It can be supplemented by the Database of Court Officers, “…an online computer database providing the career histories of every remunerated officer and servant of the English royal household from the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 to the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.”

Great Yarmouth in the 19th Century

March 29, 2017

Great Yarmouth was the staging area for the North Sea fleet as well as the jumping off point for the invasion of Denmark during the Napoleonic Wars. Here are several descriptions of the area from 19th century sources:

An Historical guide to Great Yarmouth in Norfolk with the most remarkable events recorded of that town. (2d ed, 1817) by George Manby.

Picture of Yarmouth….(1819)

Historical and Topographical Notices of Great Yarmouth, in Norfolk, and Its Environs  (1826).

Pictorial Guide to Great Yarmouth (1854)

The History of Great Yarmouth (1856) [This is a continuation of The History of Great Yarmouth that was published in 1854 and concerns the earlier years of this area.]

Terms of Naval Armistice That Ended World War 1

March 22, 2017

The full text of the document is here; in it are listed the names of the interned High Seas Fleet ships.

Histories of The Admiralty and Admiralty House

March 14, 2017

In volume 16 of The Survey of London, one will find detailed descriptions, floor plans, and histories of both The Admiralty and Admiralty House; the Admiralty House was built in 1786-88 and became the subsequent residence of the First Lords of the Admiralty.  Of additional value are the listed biographies of First Lords of the Admiralty appended in the “Historical Notes” sections in both entries, giving us brief life histories from 1717-1841.

Online Directories of Merchant Seamen

March 10, 2017

Crew lists of the British Merchant Navy from 1915 have been digitized and made available for free online. Fully 750,000 names from 39,000 crew lists were scanned. (Those numbers alone indicate the sheer size of this service.) You can search by name, vessel, or rank; when you come across an entry, just click on it and you will be directed to the appropriate list online. Other online directories of mariners from Ireland to Australia are also available.

The French Version of Trafalgar

March 7, 2017

In an exercise worthy of the best of alternative history, the French scored a resounding victory over Lord Nelson at Trafalgar. A translated version of this account is found in volume 14 of the Naval Chronicle, commencing on page 377. (I was tempted to add the subject heading “naval fiction”, but I demurred.)