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.


BGY/E/3 is a file containing small collections relating to two members of the same family. It’s been difficult to determine exactly how James and Edward Everard are related, however. We know that Edward Everard (1739-1819) had six children, and that his youngest, Rebecca, married Henry Prescott Blencowe, whose daughter Elizabeth was James Everard's mother. They are likely to be cousins of some kind as well.


The letters of John Parr, an ordinary Jack Tar during the Napoleonic Wars.

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The ‘Vikings’ were seafaring raiders and traders from Scandinavia. The period known as the Viking Age lasted from AD 700 until 1100.

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The National Maritime Museum's flag collection contains more than 1000 items, with most flags dating from the 18th century and includes Union Jacks, standards and banners and flags from war and conflict. 

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Maritime history has always influenced fashion - and no object more so than the Breton Top. But where did the history of the famous stripes begin?  

Inuit spearfishing for salmon.

For February’s item of the month I have chosen JOD/133 a logbook written by T.F. Miller, the gunner on the whaling ship ‘Erik’ which records a voyage undertaken in 1876 from Dundee to the Davis Strait and Baffin Bay between Canada and Greenland.

Barlow's Journal (RMG ID: JOD/4)

The Libraries Week 2019 theme is celebrating libraries in a digital world. To mark the occasion here at the Caird Library we thought it would be fitting to highlight some of the work we have done over the last few years in digitising parts of our collections and making them more accessible. 


A manuscript account of Anson's voyage, 1740-44, written by Laurence Millechamp who joined the squadron as a purser of the Tryal sloop.

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Cleopatra’s Needle is the obelisk that stands on the Thames Embankment in London. It was transported from Egypt to London in 1877.

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The National Maritime Museum holds the nation’s finest collection of historic maritime photographs.