Posts Tagged ‘History’

In 1623 a survey of the Tudor castle at Southsea found that many of the guns were unusable and that the garrison had no gunpowder stored on site. The deterioration of the castle continued following a fire in 1627 which gutted many of the buildings. It was still in use however during the Civil War and in 1642 it was captured by the parliamentarians. In 1680, following the restoration, Charles II built an enlarged castle with 30 guns.

DSC00849

DSC00877

However by 1770 things had been allowed to deteriorate and a document describes the castle as being a shameful ruin and plans were made for its demolition. However renewed risks of French invasion called for these plans to be put on hold and the castle was further strengthened in 1793 and in 1814.

DSC00859

In the 1820s the lighthouse was added to the castle and this remained in service to 1927.

???????????????????????????????

The original Southsea Castle was built in the mid-16th century following Henry VIII’s break with the church of Rome and the increased likelihood of invasion from continental Europe. In order to counter this Henry built a series of castles and keeps around the coast of southern and south-eastern England particularly covering places where an army could land or protecting the anchorages of his ships. There was an extensive series of forts and castles guarding Portsmouth Harbour and Southampton water.

DSC00853

Artists impression of original Southsea castle 1544

Artists impression of original Southsea castle 1544

Picture showing an attempted French invasion in 1545. Southsea castle can be seen in the foregound

Picture showing an attempted French invasion in 1545. Southsea castle can be seen in the foregound

Tudor Gun crew at Southsea Castle

Tudor Gun crew at Southsea Castle

Arundel Castle

Posted: July 11, 2019 in History, Post medieval history, UK
Tags: ,

Arundel Castle is situated on a rock bluff overlooking the valley of the River Arun. The first castle on this site was built is 1068, just two years after the Norman conquest. By 1155 the original wooden structure had been replaced by a stone castle. In the 13th century the castle passed into the hands of the Howard family. Sir John Howard was created Duke of Norfolk in 1483 and the castle remains the home of his descendants to this day. It was besieged during the Civil War (1642 to 45) first by the Royalists and then by the Parliamentarians. It was badly damaged and repairs were not commenced until 1718. Queen Victoria stayed at the castle for three days in 1846 and the castle as it is today owes much to the restoration carried out around 1900.

DSC00673

DSC00675

DSC00723

DSC00726

MGB 81

Posted: March 1, 2019 in History, Post medieval history
Tags: , ,

Motor gunboat 81 was built for the Royal Navy in 1942. It is believed to be the only gunboat in World War II restored to her original condition. These gunboats were fast with speeds up to 45 knots and were designed for the protection of shipping in UK coastal waters, particularly to guard against the threat of German E-boats, groups of which would cross over the Channel and attack merchant shipping.

DSC00906

In 1945 MGB 81 passed into private ownership. It was involved in a smuggling operation in 1958 and was subsequently sold for scrap, but ended up as a permanent mooring in the sailing school. In 1968 it was bought by a boat preservation trust and restored to its wartime condition.

MGB 81 is currently berthed at the Portsmouth historic dockyard.

HMS Warrior had a crew of 705 which comprised three groups – the engineering staff (98), the Royal Marines who responsible for the gunnery (115) and the Royal Navy crew. The conditions under which the crew lived were very similar to those of their counterparts 100 years earlier. They shared their mess deck with the main battery of guns and slept in hammocks strung from the superstructure of the ship

DSC00912

in the middle of the mess deck is the galley where all the food was prepared for the crew and the officers. The main meal of the day would be taken at noon and each seaman took it in turn to do a week’s duty as a mess Cook. This meant that he had to collect and prepare the days food for his mess and take it to the galley where it would be cooked by the seaman who worked there.

DSC00923

The galley also provided the food for the captain’s cabin, which was at the rear of the mess deck and the officers quarters and wardroom which were immediately below it.

Captains day room

Captains day room

Captains dining room

Captains dining room

DSC00894

HMS Warrior is an unique ship within the history of the Royal Navy. She was launched in 1860, having been built as a response to recent developments in the French Navy. As the first ship built of iron, rather than using metal cladding she represented a major step forward in the evolution of fighting ships. When she was launched she attracted much more attention than any other preceding ship had ever had.
DSC00904

She was a hybrid between the first modern battleships and the classical ships of the line from the preceding Napoleonic period. She had the capability both sailing under her engines and under sail. Her unique features include retractable steam funnels, so that when she was under sail power the profile of the funnels did not interfere with the flow of the wind. Her gun layout and her facilities were still very reminiscent of ships of the Napoleonic era.
DSC00910

HMS Warrior remained in active naval service for 22 years during which time her guns never fired in anger. By the time he was retired from service ship design had already moved on and the turn-of-the-century would see the dispensing with the gun arrangements of the previous era and the introduction of deck based pivot guns as on modern battleships. Indeed even in 1860 Warrior has a very early prototype of these guns in the arrangements of her bow and stern chases, the direction of file which could be changed through 100° arc home side to side by mechanical means.

The trackway on the deck enabled quick change of direction of fire

The trackway on the deck enabled quick change of direction of fire

After active service, HMS Warrior used by the Navy in a number of different roles with in ports. Because of her construction, the hull lasted very well and eventually she was sold by the Navy for use as a floating jetty. She ended her working life as a floating oil jetty in Milford Haven in south-west Wales. In 1979, recognising the importance that the ship had played in the development of warships she was purchased, towed to Hartlepool and underwent restoration to her original 1860s condition. She is now on permanent display at the Portsmouth historic dockyard not far from that other great Royal Naval vessel HMS Victory.

DSC00895

Sights of London: Nelsons Column

Posted: June 15, 2018 in History, London, UK
Tags: ,

(first posted in April 2013)???????????????????????????????

Nelson’s column is found in Trafalgar Square in the centre of London. It was built to commemorate the life of Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson who had died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The monument took three years to build and was completed in 1843.
Nelson had fought in the American War of Independence but really came to prominence during the French Revolutionary War in which he was involved in a number of the most significant naval encounters including the Battle of Cape St Vincent, Battle of the Nile and the Battle of Copenhagen. He died on his ship, HMS Victory, at the moment is of the fleet’s victory over combined Franco-Spanish fleet at the battle of Trafalgar.
???????????????????????????????
The reliefs at the bottom of the column display scenes from his battles. The one shown below depicts his death on HMS Victory

DSC00374

Many people have heard about the Royal Swans, which can be found on the upper reaches of the river Thames, but I wonder how many people know about the Royal Pelicans.

The pelicans can be found on the lake in St James’s Park in central London, which lies between the old Palace of Whitehall and the current Buckingham Palace.

St James park lake looking towards Buckingham Palace

St James park lake looking towards Buckingham Palace

The story of the pelicans date back to the mid-17th century. Charles II had recently landscaped St James’s Park to include a canal like body of water. One of his main reasons for doing this was to have a ready source of duck meat for the nearby Palace of Whitehall. There was even a house built for the Royal keeper of wildfowl beside the water, the most recent of which can still be seen today.

DSC01426

In 1664 the visiting Russian ambassador presented Charles with two pelicans, which the King added to his collection of wildfowl in the Park. This tradition has continued through the centuries to the current day. The most recent addition was a gift of three great white pelicans by the city of Prague in March of this year. This brought the current total of pelicans present on the lake to 6.

DSC01442

DSC01445

The canal built by Charles II was later remodeled to the classical lake that we see today.

Being a history buff, the British Museum is probably my favourite of the many museums in London. The collection dates back to the middle of the 18th century when the physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane bequeathed his collection of over 71,000 objects on the condition that it was not broken up. The government accepted this and the British Museum was founded. In 1757 King George the second donated the Royal library to form part of the new collection. The first British Museum was housed in a 17th-century mansion in Bloomsbury on the side of the current building and the open for public viewing on 15 January 1759. In the early years the annual attendance was about 5000 people per year. The museum continued to acquire important pieces related to world archaeology and cultural studies. These included the Rosetta Stone, which was the key to understanding Egyptian hieroglyphics amongst other ancient languages, classical sculpture and, perhaps rather more controversially, the Parthenon sculptures from Greece. In the mid-19th century, the existing building was expanded and the natural history collection was moved to its own location in South Kensington (now known as the Natural History Museum). The collection continued to expand and the late 20th century saw new developments to enable more, and better, display of the collection. This included a complete reworking of the centre of the museum building and the removal of the British library from the site to a new purpose-built library near St Pancras. This work continues today and a brand-new set of galleries, together with new conservation facilities will be opened in 2014.

Further details and vistor information can be seen at http://www.britishmuseum.org/visiting.aspx?ref=header

DSC01360

history_architecutre_185a

Detail from the portico over the main enterance

Detail from the portico over the main enterance

The Museum in the 18th century

The Museum in the 18th century

The new conservation and exhibition building

The new conservation and exhibition building

MGB 81

Posted: June 27, 2013 in History, Post medieval history
Tags: , ,

Motor gunboat 81 was built for the Royal Navy in 1942. It is believed to be the only gunboat in World War II restored to her original condition. These gunboats were fast with speeds up to 45 knots and were designed for the protection of shipping in UK coastal waters, particularly to guard against the threat of German E-boats, groups of which would cross over the Channel and attack merchant shipping.

DSC00906

In 1945 MGB 81 passed into private ownership. It was involved in a smuggling operation in 1958 and was subsequently sold for scrap, but ended up as a permanent mooring in the sailing school. In 1968 it was bought by a boat preservation trust and restored to its wartime condition.

MGB 81 is currently berthed at the Portsmouth historic dockyard.