Saturday, October 21, 2006

I see no ships

Last year it was Blues vs. Reds, fireworks, fleet reviews, you name it. This year, 'cos it's a mere 201 years ago instead of a nice round number, you'd think the Battle of Trafalgar never happened. Tsk, the fickleness eh? Ah well, plenty of public fickleness 201 years ago too (just ask Nelson - well obviously you can't. Even if he'd lived into a ripe old age you're about 170 years too late...) so plus ce change as they say. Unfortunately all too many other things haven't changed either, but luckily I don't do politics. So instead I'll take the woodworkers' perspective and raise a glass to the skilled craftsmen who turned large quantities of oak trees into the formidable feats of engineering that did their best to annihilate each other, and the poor carpenters who had to be there to repair the damage - on both sides.

5 comments:

  1. Must have been quite depressing, after all that work, to see someone lob a load of cannon balls through your masterpiece!!! Got any info on the tools they used to build those ships, Alf?

    Paul Chapman

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  2. Hmm, d'you know I'm not sure I do, Paul. Might have to raid the old man's bookshelf and see if he has anything on it. I know there were quite a few tools from the carpenter's cabin on the Mary Rose that were recovered, but that's only about 220 years out...

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  3. La Perfida Albion ?

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  4. Mike Wenzloff (MikeW)10/22/2006 07:28:00 am

    Interesting phrase to use.

    I prefer to think of history being shaped by a few who do not represent the people they purport to. Regardless of which side is which.

    Hey Alf, if you run across any books with detail, I would be interested to know as well. Even lists of tools taken on a ship would be kinda neat to read. A sort of seafaring Dominy account would be more than I could wish for...

    Take care, Mike

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  5. Hah, yes - Perfidious Albion indeed. Here's a run down of the ship's company of Implacable in 1808:

    English, 285, Irish 130, Welsh 25, Isle of Man 6, Scots 29, Shetland 3, Orkneys 2, Guernsey 2, Canada 1, Jamaica 1, Trinidad 1, St Domingo 2, St Kitts 1, Martinique 1, Santa Cruz 1, Bermuda 1, Swedes 8, Danes 7, Prussians 8, Dutch 1, Germans 3, Corsica 1, Portuguese 5, Sicily 1, Minorca 1, Ragusa 1, Brazils 1, Spanish 2, Maderia 1, Americans 28, West indies 2, Bengal 2.

    It goes on to say it "may be considered applicable to every British ship with the exception that very few of them have so many native subjects"!

    Well I've found a little bit, but as I feared, the carpenter was largely expected to provide his own tools so detailed lists seem unlikely. I'll pick out some choice pieces and blog 'em up later.

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