Class Warfare and the Selborne Scheme: the Royal Navy’s Battle over Technology and Social Hierarchy
In 1902 Second Naval Lord Jackie Fisher and the Earl of Selborne, the First Lord of the Admiralty, announced a scheme which would fundamentally change the way cadets for the engineering, executive and Royal Marine branches were entered and trained. Known as the Selborne Scheme this was designed to give equal status to executive and engineering officers to reflect the increasingly technological nature of the navy. The scheme met with hostility from the established executive officers and the public. This article considers why these reforms were so controversial, using official Admiralty papers, published debate and private correspondence, to examine the scheme against broader changes in society and politics.