Document: Shipbuilding Abuses in the XVIIth Century

By courtesy of Evan W H Fryers, published November 1924


This selection of letters illustrates some of the abuses to be found in shipbuilding in England in the period following the Glorious Revolution, 1688. Edmund Dummer, Surveyor of the Navy, 1692-99, questioned ‘the dangerous custom of building ships by contract’ which had been introduced by ‘artful officers, interested in profits’. The quality of ships built by contract for the Royal Navy did not compare with those built in Royal shipyards and, according to Dummer, this practice was an ‘insupportable abuse’. The correspondence provides evidence of ships that were not built to their official specifications and includes a letter from Dummer explaining in detail how a ship’s dimensions should be measured.

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Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Shipbuilding & Design

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