The Society’s Annual Tour visited HMS Trincomalee, a 19th century sailing warship afloat at the Royal Navy Museum in Hartlepool. This posed the question: how do you aim a broadside from a Naval ship in a rolling sea?
One inventor who helped solve this problem was William Kennish, an illiterate Manxman who rose to become the leading carpenter of the Mediterranean fleet. He invented a gunnery control system in 1828 and a Newcomen member’s patient reconstruction of this novel aiming theodolite can be explored via this website.
How do you survey a marine structure like Clevedon Pier when you only have access at “super-low” spring tides for just an hour? Answer . . . use a drone to film the whole structure safely and swiftly when the moment arrives!
This brief film, showing what can be observed by an inspection drone, comes from a company whose work has featured in Game of Thrones. The visually stunning footage includes the Mouchel-Hennebique reinforced concrete landing stage of 1911 at the end of the Pier.
Lloyds Register Foundation has put its Registers of Shipping up to 1828 online and in searchable format. They also give web-links to other sources for later copies of the Register. This remarkable reference source makes the sets of printed Lloyds Registers obsolete at a stroke!
The Lloyds Register Foundation, Heritage and Education Centre also offers much other material including Jordan’s Map of the Thames and Casualty Returns by year.
The Maritime Archives are a wider source for marine research, everything from passenger lists to slavery records, from photographic sources to the Mercantile Navy List as an alternative to Lloyds Register
The capricious nature of preservation is illustrated by this website on ship preservation. There are no British built general merchantmen with derricks, forecastle and centre accommodation left, even though they were ubiquitous cargo carriers worldwide before the advent of containers.
A compelling follow up to Phil Judkins story of the development of the Cavity Magnetron for radar during World War Two is his account of the personnel who were involved in radar tracking, including many women operatives. This well-illustrated piece shows the development of radar displays and discusses the psychological impact on the WAAF plotters involved. There are references for those who wish to pursue the story.
No doubt Newcomen members have spent lockdown catching up with do-it-yourself chores. But did you realise DIY has a surprisingly long history and had female protagonists in earlier centuries. In this video, Ben Russell of the Science Museum surveys the history of Do-it-Yourself from his garden shed – where else? Includes TV favourites such as Barry Bucknall and ends with today’s Maker Movement. It seems DIY has always had a strong underlying moral theme.
Graham Fraser’s item for BBC Scotland was featured on the Newcomen Society website a year ago, but deserves a second airing. Read about Dorothée Pullinger, a pioneer who built the Galloway car in Scotland for women, by women.
French born, Dorothée was the daughter of car designer Thomas Pullinger who worked for car maker Arrol-Johnston. Dorothée gained manufacturing experience in munitions during the first world war, an MBE for her war work and admission to the Institution of Automotive Engineers. She became manager of Galloway Motors, a subsidiary of Arrol-Johnston, at its factory in Tongland, near Kirkcudbright. The Galloway car was designed by women and built by a female workforce. See also: Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame | Dorothée Pullinger