Life at sea

Designers from Vivienne Westwood to Galliano and Chanel have all created collections inspired by naval wear and marine culture. 

From brass buttons to bell-bottoms, garments traditionally worn at sea have been adopted and adapted to create new fashions and statements.

Tattoos have adorned the highest born royals and the lowliest sailor in Europe for at least 5,000 years.

The first naval Victoria Cross was awarded to Charles Lucas while serving as a Mate on HMS Hecla in 1854 during the Crimean War.

A captain going down with his sinking ship is one of the strongest and most honourable traditions of the sea.

The introduction of steam power in the 19th century revolutionised the shipping industry and made Britain a world-leader in shipbuilding.

In the 19th century, MP Samuel Plimsoll campaigned for load lines to be painted on the side of ships to prevent them being overloaded and sinking.

Life at sea during the age of sail was filled with hardship. Sailors had to accept cramped conditions, disease, poor food, pay and bad weather.

Life at sea meant short bursts of work followed by short periods of rest, these four-hour long segments of the day are called watches.

As well as being a naval hero, Lord Nelson was an interesting and complex man. His letters and diaries reveal much about his character.