Life at sea
Gain a fascinating insight into the lives of sailors and seamen throughout history. From the protocols of the Royal Navy to the traditions, customs and working lives of 18th and 19th century crewmen, we explore what life was really like on the high seas.
Robert Gale’s diary JOD.284.1
Archives Assistant Victoria Syrett explores a collection of diaries, notes and drawings by Robert Gale (born 13 October 1816) who joined HMS Rattlesnake as Captain Owen Stanley’s steward for a voyage full of exploration, death and rescuing damsels in distress.
HMS 'Erebus' passing through the chain of bergs, 1842 (BHC3654)
Ghost ships, sometimes also called phantom ships, are vessels with no living crew aboard. These may be real derelict ships found adrift with their crew missing, such as the 19th century HMS Resolute, or fictional and folkloric ones, like the apocryphal Octavius.
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Take a virtual spin and explore one of the National Maritime Museum's most important globes.
Cutty Sark wears a number of flags which identify the ship, her owner and her country of registry.
Life at sea during the age of sail was filled with hardship. Sailors had to accept cramped conditions, disease, poor food and pay, and bad weather.
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This book survived a mutiny and decades on a remote Pacific island
Drawing in particular on material from our archives, Dr Elaine Murphy explores the diverse connections between women and the navy in the 17th century, researched during her time as a Caird short-term fellow.
The illustrated London news: 21 December 1889 Stirring the Christmas Pudding (RMG ID: ILN)
We all have traditions around Christmas time and for many this will include a flaming Christmas pudding triumphantly brought to the dinner table, presented to both family and friends. Not all of us though, like a slice of Christmas pudding to round off our Christmas meal. I have heard it described as ‘the dessert from the depths of hell itself’ and ‘a flaming delight; a feast for the eyes and mouth.’ Both descriptions reminded me of a quote from Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol and made me wonder about the origins of the Christmas pudding.
The British Empire blog
In this blog we uncover some of the stories which our archives can tell us of the dangers of working in the British Empire in the service of the East India Company.
Jesse Garton kept a diary that provides an account of the allied landings at Gallipoli.