Boat Building and Marine Engineering
In the early 17th century East Anglia’s rivers were, along with the Thames, the main centres of the English shipbuilding industry but it is the period between the early 19th century and the early 20th century, which is seen as a golden age for local shipbuilding.
Shipyards during this period boasted very little in the way of machinery and the tools that hung in the boat builders sheds were all hand tools. In a typical boatyard a rotating ‘capstan’, worked either by manpower or horsepower, was used for hauling vessels out for repair. Many workshops would have also included a mould-loft where the lines of the vessel’s timbers would be drawn out and the moulds used as patterns when sawing out the ship’s timbers. The warships constructed at Yarmouth during the Napoleonic era were, in fact, built from draughts supplied by their Lordships of the Admiralty.
There is no doubt that some of the more experienced boat builders were capable of setting out their designs on paper and working straight from these draughts but wooden half-models have survived from the 19th century which show that ships were designed and working models usually constructed before work on the full size boat began.
There were many specialist craftsmen in the bigger yards, who would fit out the vessels built by the shipwrights. Rope-making, sail-making, anchor-smithing, caulking, block-making and mast-making, were all specialist trades ancillary to the shipbuilding industry. Shipwrights undertook seven-year apprenticeship during which time they were granted no holidays. These craftsmen knew continuity of employment, worked long, hard hours and were proud of their trade.
Exhibition: Some Museum Exhibits
Mundesley Maritime Museum History
For measurment purposes.
As used by the service until the 1970's.
Used for firing flares.
This example from the 1900's but still in use in the 1970's.
The rather grand Divisional Officer's insignia.
With a makers mark at 1873.