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Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Piece of Royal Navy History

HMS Boscawen was ordered by The Royal Navy on 11th May 1817, with the hull of the ship being laid down at the Woolwich Dockyard in England in January 1826.

The fully rigged, 70 gun sail ship was constructed in English Oak and finally launched on 3rd April 1844 and named after a Royal Navy Admiral Edward  Boscawen.

With a gun deck of 187 ft 4½ in (57.1 m) in length and weighing in at 2212 tons, the ship served in the Baltic during The Russian War under Captain William Fanshawe Glanville and in the late 1850’s was on the West African Coast and acted flag ship under the Captaincy of Richard Ashmore Powell, in The British attempt at disrupted the slave trade, primarily being engaged in by The French who used the term of “emigration cruises” to attract would be native emigrants to their colonies, and The Americas.

During that time, The Royal Navy calculated that if traders prepared 12 slave ships and that 10 were taken by British Cruisers, a significant profit was still to be made with slaves being purchased for as little as £4 each and sold for as much as £200 each.

Wellesley's Band & Ships Company
HMS Boscawen remained in the anti slavery role until returning back to English waters in the 1860’s, when on the 5th March 1862 she became a training ship in Southampton England.

In 1874 HMS Boscawen was renamed The Training Ship 'Wellesley' and was stationed on the Tyne at North Shields in North East England and provided accommodation for 300 boys under Naval training.

Training Ship 'Wellesley' also had an auxiliary shore establishment, known as Green's House, in Mile End Road, South Shields, which could  accommodate up to 60 boys.

Back in those times the boys were received for on shore training as early as 7 years of age, and then transferred to the ship on reaching the age of 12.

The Wellesley Training Ship Institution had been established in 1868 by a group of philanthropic Tyneside businessmen, led by James Hall, to provide shelter for Tyneside waifs and to train young men for service in both The Royal and Merchant Navies.

The ex-frigate HMS Cornwall was originally used as their training ship; however it was in 1874 that the institution took over the then aging wooden battleship HMS 'Boscawen' which was then renamed 'Wellesley'.

Unfortunately The 'Wellesley' training ship was destroyed by fire on 11 March 1914 at North Shields England and the school moved ashore becoming the Wellesley Nautical School.

Following some of the Oak timber being salvaged from the wreck of Royal Navy Training Ship Wellesley; a beautiful Oak Desk blotter was hand made in or about 1914.

The handle was turned and carved in the shape of one of the ships Capstans, and a wooden thread turned enabling the desk blotter to be easily dismantled into three parts to allow replacement of the blotting paper.

A small engraved cartouche which appears to be made in copper, was attached to one of the sides of the desk blotter with the following inscription:

“Made from Timber taken from HMS Wellesley, Training Ship on the Tyne, Destroyed by Fire 11th MAR 1914”

The Desk Blotter Measures  approximately 5 inch (127mm) long by 3 inch (76mm) wide by 4.5 inch (115mm) high, and is a beautiful accessory with a Royal Navy History.


Many thanks for visiting us and I hope you have enjoyed reading this brief history of HMS Boscawen which later became HMS Wellesley.
Please feel free to Follow our blog and return to visit us again soon.

Ken McLeod © 2011

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