Ashore and Afloat
The British Navy and the Halifax Naval Yard Before 1820
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: University of Ottawa Press
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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
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LIST OF TABLES
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When Julian Gwyn asked me to write the Foreword to this book I was highly flattered and quite delighted. Over the past thirty years we have shared a mutual interest in Halifax as a naval base. Professor Gwyn's work on the personal fortune of Peter Warren, the sailor who first persuaded the British naval establishment to show a serious interest in...
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This book is about the navy, not at sea, but on land. A naval yard and the squadron it serves are intimately connected. If a squadron or fleet is not much more than an elaborate gun deck, it cannot function without a base. In fast-moving operations, the base might prove to be very...
PART ONE: NAVAL YARD COMPLEX
1. Building the Yard, 1758–1783
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If the organization of naval dockyards by the Tudors, beginning with Portsmouth in 1495, was the surest sign of England's new ambition to play a wider role in European affairs, so the decision by Pitt some 262 years later, in 1757, to build a careening wharf at Halifax represented a resolution to play a decisive role in North America. Then a...
2. Development and Expansion, 1783–1819
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However demoralized by the loss of the heart of its North American empire in 1783, the British government resolved to protect what remained of its possessions. For Nova Scotia, divided in 1784 into three colonies when Cape Breton and New Brunswick became separate jurisdictions, the British navy became the effective guarantor of its defence. ...
3. Hospital Complex and Admiral's House
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Associated with naval dockyards were victualling yards, ordnance yards, hospitals, and commanders-in-chief's mansions.1 Halifax acquired most of these from the earliest days, except a hospital and an admiral's house. While the military had earlier built both a general hospital for its people and, by 1800, a mansion for the general officer...
PART TWO: WORK FORCE
4. Officers and Their Clerks
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So far we have been concerned with the expansion and site development of the careening yard once the decision was taken in 1758 to establish the naval base in Halifax harbour. Our task is now to examine how the yard was managed, how the workforce was structured, and the details of the principal tasks undertaken by yard workers. ...
5. Artificers and Labourers
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If we know how the lash enforced authority afloat, how was control over workers maintained by the navy in its yards ashore? The interaction between officers, artificers, and "the people of the yard" will be central as we examine working conditions, recruitment, kinship, apprenticeship, efficiency, embezzlement, wages, superannuation, and...
6. The Work of the Yard
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Earlier chapters have occasionally addressed, in a general manner, the type of work undertaken in the yard. We have seen that some of it involved erecting buildings and other structures as well as their renovation and maintenance. These were mere means to an end, for the principal responsibility was to maintain the Halifax squadron at sea...
PART THREE: ECONOMIC IMPACT
7. Suppliers and Tradesmen
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Though the Navy Board aimed to supply almost all the needs of the Halifax yard, as we saw in chapter 6 the policy proved unrealistic. Yet it was 1788 before this was acknowledged officially. Then the Board for the first time listed the sorts of goods that the principal officers were permitted to purchase. The commissioner's approval of the requests...
8. Mast Contractors and Wood Merchants
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One issue that ought to have been discussed thoroughly in 1775-6 by both the Navy Board and the Halifax yard officers under their newly-minted commissioner, Capt. Arbuthnot, was the supply of sticks. This was the naval jargon for masts, bowsprits, topmasts, yards, and small spars. "The business of maintaining an adequate supply of timber and...
9. Paying Bills and Raising Cash
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The naval yard, when paying both wages to its workers and the invoices from local contractors, acted as a quasi-bank. In this way it resembled the activities of the British army in North America, which helped fuel the money markets wherever their deputy-paymasters established themselves.2 Like them, the Halifax naval storekeeper was responsible...
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The need for continuous British naval involvement with Nova Scotia in the 1740s and 1750s surprised both the Admiralty and the Navy Board. Until the advent to power of the elder William Pitt, they successfully resisted such pressure for as long as possible. To accept the logic of the "Americans" in either Pelham's or Pitt's administrations...
APPENDIX 1: Halifax Yard Establishments, 1763–1815
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APPENDIX 2: Halifax Yard Workforce, 1761–1820
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APPENDIX 3: Naval Yard Officers, 1756–1819
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APPENDIX 4: Yard Returns Sent the Navy Board, 1780s
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APPENDIX 5: Orders for the Night Watch, 1785
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Page Count: 362
Publication Year: 2004