Attic Miscellany. Manning the Navy. (press gang) (caricature)

A caricature of a naval press gang in action with the Tower of London in the distance. Although only used in times of war, press gangs were probably the most infamous method of recruiting for the navy. The Impress Service, which was the normal land-based naval recruitment arm usually just seeking volunteers, would in times of emergency organize gangs to roam the streets of towns and villages forcefully taking (pressing) men for the fleet. Although landsmen were sometimes taken by mistake or by malice, the 'press' concentrated their efforts on finding experienced seamen, who were often taken from merchant ships or when ashore from them. The London impress was based at Tower Hill, with thenaval receiving ship into which men were first placed for taking out by river, moored close by off the Tower. A succession of these superannuated warship hulks -usually small and a number latterly renamed 'Enterprise'- were moored there until the 1820s.

Object Details

ID: PAD4732
Collection: Fine art
Type: Print
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Barlow, J; Bentley & Co. Collings, S. Collings, Samuel
Places: Tower of London
Date made: Published 1 June 1790
Exhibition: Broadsides! Caricature and the Navy 1775–1815
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Mount: 318 mm x 483 mm;Primary support: 203 mm x 241 mm

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