Pellew and me. I have recently been busy cataloguing the papers of Admiral Sir Edward Pellew, Viscount Exmouth (1757-1833).
Pellew is best remembered for his dramatic captures of French frigates during the Napoleonic wars and the bombardment of Algiers in 1816. A Cornishman of great drive and energy, he was renowned even as a captain for racing the top men into the shrouds to change sail. More recently he was dashingly played by Robert Lindsay in the TV series ‘Horn blower’.
I recently spent two weeks on holiday in Toulon in the South of France. Between 1811 and 1814, Pellew was commander in chief of the Mediterranean and his most important responsibility was the blockade of the French Mediterranean fleet in Toulon. Despite the passage of 200 hundred years, plenty still remains to remind of those times. Toulon is still a French naval base and there is still plenty of maritime activity, (though mainly sun-seeking yachts).
Balagiuer. I did a tour of the harbour which was an excellent way of taking in all the forts defending the harbour. All of these remain, including Fort Balaguier from where a young Napoleon directed the artillery during the siege of Toulon in 1793.
The manuscript collection comprises some thirty boxes of densely packed correspondence and cataloguing it all is quite an undertaking. At times it seems as if it is me who is under blockade by Pellew!
Keep visiting the blog for regular updates on some of the highlights of the collection, and Pellew's blockade of the Manuscripts department!
Martin (Manuscripts Cataloguer)