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.


Every maritime nation can tell of captains who stayed with their ships until the last moment, and sometimes beyond.

love sailors return.jpg

Our archives are full of amazing stories of love and loss. With Valentine's Day fast approaching, Tracey Weller looks at some of our touching love letters.

Mr Frederick Heintzig, landsman, to Nelson, on board the Foudroyante, 19 July 1799 (CRK/6/156)

Many of the common seamen of Nelson’s time were not literate, meaning letters of the ‘Lower deck’ are rare. Nelson probably received a great deal of correspondence asking for help or influence of one kind or another, but was his reputation for benevolence towards those that had served under him sometimes exploited or taken advantage of? 

Richard Parker, President of the Delegates in the Mutiny at the Nore-PRIMARY IMAGE.jpg

Richard Parker was sentenced to death for his role in the 1797 Nore Mutiny - but was he a ringleader or a scapegoat?