The Shipwright Officers of the Royal Dockyards

By N. MacLeod , published November 1925

Abstract

Master Shipwrights were first appointed in the 16th century responsible for management as well as design and construction of ships. Initially part time they became fulltime employees in the mid 17th century. Assistants were appointed from the early 17th century followed by further lower grades. Officers then comprised Quarterman, Foreman, Assistant Master Shipwright and Master Shipwright. In the 19th century Senior Foreman of the Yard, Assistant Constructor and Inspector were added. Until the 19th century all grades were appointed and promoted by selection following apprenticeship. This contrasted with French separation of science from tradition resulting in controversy between conservative and progressive opinion regarding the place of science in ship design. Repeated reorganisations of training and grades ultimately led to separation of the craft of Shipwright from the profession of Naval Architect but both were able to reach the highest ranks.

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Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Shipbuilding & Design

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