Ships & boats

From the story of the world's only surviving tea clipper, Cutty Sark, and the voyages of discovery made by Captain Cook's sloop HMS Resolution, to the evolution of shipbuilding and design through the ages, we delve into the fascinating history of ships and boats.

Royal Naval Dockyards were used to build navy ships during the 17th and 18th centuries. The Navy Board was responsible for running them.

Portsmouth is a major British naval base. Nelson left from Portsmouth on board HMS Victory to go to the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

England had a number of naval anchorages situated around its coastline, where vessels could dock when not out at sea or engaged in combat.

A Matthew Walker Knot keeps the end of a rope from fraying but its origins are a mystery.

The Terra Nova was built in 1884 as a whaling ship but became better known for her role in Polar exploration and her association with Captain Scott. 

The rating system of the British Royal Navy was used to categorise warships between the 17th and 19th centuries. There were six rates of warship.

Sir Francis Chichester (1901–1972) was a British sailor and aviator, famed for being the first person to single-handedly sail around the world making only one stop.

Mauretania was in her day the biggest and fastest – not to mention most luxurious – ship on the seas.

In the 17th and 18th centuries there were six Royal Navy Dockyards in England, at Deptford, Woolwich, Chatham, Sheerness, Portsmouth and Plymouth.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806–1859) was a renowned 19th century engineer. His achievements include the steamships Great Western, Great Britain and Great Eastern.

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