Warship (1757); Frigate; Fifth rate; 32 guns

Scale: 1:48. A contemporary full hull model of a 32-gun frigate (circa 1757). The model is decked. It is possibly the ‘Thames’, which had similar dimensions and was one of a class of the early 32-gun frigates.

At this scale, the vessel measured 127 feet along the gun deck by 34 feet in the beam, displacing 656 tons burden.

These early frigates were known as ‘true frigates’ in the sense of which the name was used in the latter part of the 18th century. These were two-decked with no guns on the lower deck (although this continued to be called the gun deck). A few of the earliest of these had the old square beakhead bulkhead as shown (the beakhead is the space immediately forward of the forecastle). All the later English frigates had round bows. No ports are shown on the quarterdeck but ring-bolts are fitted in the ship’s side for securing guns.

Frigates were fifth- or sixth-rate ships and so not expected to be included in the line of battle. With the advantage of superior sailing qualities over the larger ships of the line, they were used with the fleet for such tasks as lookout or, in battle, as repeating ships to fly the admiral’s signals. They also cruised independently in search of privateers.

Object Details

ID: SLR0496
Collection: Ship models
Type: Full hull model; Scenic model
Display location: Not on display
Date made: circa 1757
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Overall model: 230 x 930 x 230 mm; Slipway base: 155 x 972 x 257 mm

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