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Quarantine on the Isles of Scilly

Guest Blog: Quarantine on the Isles of Scilly                 Baggy Robinson Today’s blog is by a guest, Baggy Robinson, who deals with a most unusual subject – quarantining of shipping – but one which was of immense importance in the period before widespread innoculation and vaccination [...]

Quarantine on the Isles of Scilly 2018-05-01T19:50:08+00:00

Disappearing Gun-Mountings

How do you make a monster gun disappear? In the second half of the 19th Century advances in metallurgy allowed an unprecedented increase in the size and weight of artillery pieces for applications in which mobility by land was not a concern. This applied to weapons mounted either in fixed fortifications, or on ships. The [...]

Disappearing Gun-Mountings 2018-04-27T20:00:29+00:00

HMS Transfer: cold-blooded courage, 1799

HMS Transfer: cold-blooded courage, 1799  Few warships can have sailed under the flags of four different nations and to have seen action each time. This was however the distinction of the French-built privateer Quatre Frères, a 150-foot polacca commissioned in Bordeaux in 1796. The polacca – a type of vessel common in the Mediterranean, and [...]

HMS Transfer: cold-blooded courage, 1799 2018-04-24T20:39:53+00:00

Steerage-passenger conditions on the North Atlantic

Steerage-passenger conditions on the North Atlantic In my recent blog (April 10th 2018 - click to read) about the disaster that overcame the SS Utopia in 1891, and which resulted in the deaths of 562 Italian emigrants, I commented briefly on the bewilderment and trepidation with which these people set out on the voyage in [...]

Steerage-passenger conditions on the North Atlantic 2018-04-21T09:30:55+00:00

The Capture of the Chevrette, 1801

The Capture of the Chevrette, 1801 While leafing through an 1894 book entitled “The British Fleet” by Commander Charles N. Robinson (Assistant Editor of the Army and Navy Gazette) I came on a copy of the engraving above. It shows a cutting-out mission on July 22nd 1801 in which crews from four Royal Navy ships [...]

The Capture of the Chevrette, 1801 2018-04-21T09:24:53+00:00

Disaster at Gibraltar – SS Utopia and HMS Anson, 1891

Disaster at Gibraltar - SS Utopia and HMS Anson, 1891 In 1866, at the naval battle of Lissa, in the Adriatic, victory was secured by the Austro-Hungarian fleet over its Italian enemy by means of ramming. Though this was a unique event in a fleet-action, and made possible only by factors – such as short [...]

Disaster at Gibraltar – SS Utopia and HMS Anson, 1891 2018-04-10T17:55:31+00:00

The Capture of Gibraltar and the Battle of Malaga, 1704

The Capture of Gibraltar and the Battle of Malaga, 1704 I wrote this article when in southern Spain, between Malaga and Marbella.  The Mediterranean is narrow at that point and the mountains of the Moroccan shore are visible on a clear day. The sea funnels westwards towards the Straits of Gibraltar, which vary from 10 to [...]

The Capture of Gibraltar and the Battle of Malaga, 1704 2018-04-03T18:53:03+00:00

James Brooke: the First of the White Rajahs of Sarawak

James Brooke: The First of the White Rajahs of Sarawak There is only one example in recent centuries of a private Englishman setting himself up as the ruler of an independent nation and establishing a dynasty that would rule it for a century. This was however the remarkable achievement of James Brooke (1803-1868), the first [...]

James Brooke: the First of the White Rajahs of Sarawak 2018-03-30T19:02:22+00:00