Wednesday 30 November 2011

Deptford Dockyard, 1774

Topographic scenic model of the Royal Dockyard at Deptford, London (circa 1774). 

This model is one of a set six commissioned by Lord Sandwich for George III in 1773-74, showing the Royal Dockyards as they were at the time. As with all six of these models (Chatham, Deptford, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Sheerness and Woolwich), ships of various sizes are shown at the different stages of construction ranging from just a keel through to a ship on the slipway ready for launching. These models are also extremely accurate and detailed and illustrate all the different processes, materials and buildings within the dockyards that are required to build and maintain the fighting warship.

Probably the most noticeable feature on this model is the large square building on the waterfront which was known as the Great Storehouse. Apart from building and maintaining the fleet, Deptford was also used as a victualling yard for providing supplies to the warships.

The dockyard at Deptford was founded by Henry VIII in 1513, and by the 1770s was the fourth largest of the royal dockyards. It was here that three of Cook’s ships, the ‘Endeavour’, ‘Resolution’ and ‘Discovery’ were adapted and fitted out for their roles as exploration vessels. After being closed for ten years from 1833, the Dockyard had a brief revival in the middle of the 19th century, but was finally closed down in 1869 when its facilities for constructing wooden warships were no longer required.

Scale: 1:576.
Model courtesy of the National Maritime Museum. Music: British Grenadiers March

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