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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0064 SPB
Held at: National Maritime Museum
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Full title: Shipbuilding
Date(s): [1636-1908]
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 6ft: 183cm
Name of creator(s): Various


Administrative/Biographical history:


Scope and content/abstract:

This class, consisting of forty-fve volumes, relates to the history, practice and business methods of British, French and German shipbuilding, seventeenth to twentieth centuries. The seventeenth-century volumes include a manuscript on shipbuilding theory by A Symmer, c 1636; a volume of fifty-four documents containing proposals by Sir William Petty (1623-1687) for a double-hulled ship, 1662 to 1685. A disbound volume contains engraved plates by Thomas Fagge, 'the bends of a ship, their various sorts and shapes', undated, together with nine contracts between the Navy Board and contractors, 1649 to 1701, including one for the HAMPTON COURT, 1699, and the WARSPIGHT, 1701; also included in this volume is a Charter Party between the Navy Board and the master of the ANNE AND FRANCIS to transport naval stores from Deptford to Portsmouth, 1701.

There is a copy of Edward Battine's 'The Method of Building, Rigging, Apparelling and Furnishing His Majesty's Ships of War', 1684. Finally, there are two French volumes, one consisting of thirty-four drawings in pen and ink of the construction of a galley, 1685, and the other by Morineau de rochefort, 'Memoire sur la Conaissance et proportions des lois qui composent la construction des vaisseaux de premiere position at liaison', 1698. Among the eighteenth-century volumes are a contract book, 1775 to 1807, and a memorandum book, 1777 to 1801, of John Perry and Company of Blackwall, 1775 to 1808; a book of five contracts of ships built for the Navy by Adams of Buckler's Hard, 1776 to 1797; the notebook of William Wilkins, a shipwright at Chatham dockyard, containing lengths and dimensions of ships as well as methods and theory, 1754; and a pair of notebooks chiefy on mastmaking by two shipwrights John Williams 1720 to 1750, and Richard Reynolds, 1785. French shipbuilding is again represented by two works: 'Les descriptions Geometrique de toutes les pieces qui entrent dans la construction les agrez et les maneuvres d'une Galere', 1721, by Dr Sieur Debenat; and a volume on 'Carte de l'Architecture Navale concernant les proportions de la Mature', 1788, by a Bordeaux shipwright, Of the seventeen volumes relating to the nineteenth century, there is one of drawings and descriptions of the blockmaking machinery desinged by Marc Isambard Brunel (1769-1849) and installed in Portsmouth dockyard between 1802 and 1805; a private account book, 1839 to 1840, of Kelsick Wood (1771-1840), shipbuilder of Maryport, recording details of ships built and the purchase of materials; a book on 'Sailmaking, 1811 to 1840', by W Rutter; and two day books of the sailmakers J Morice and Company of Liverpool, 1883 to 1904. On the subject of steam there is a book of wash drawings and text by Robertson Buchanan of Glasgow, dated 1815, and entitled, 'Memoir respecting the employment of steam vessels for the purposes of war'; and a large volume of drawings and reports on steam vessels, 1870 to 1873, by John Oliver (ca.1820-1883), Chief Inspector of Machinery Afloat. There are a small number of specifications and contracts for twentieth-century ships, and three volumes relating to the German battleship, BADEN, 1904 to 1908.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

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Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Edited by Sarah Drewery, Sep 2011.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:

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