Reply To: Boatswain’s chair or bosun’s chair oldest known evidence

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David Hepper
Participant

    Doing a search of contemporary newspapers, I can offer a slightly earlier use of the term Boatswains Chair.

    During a Coroner’s Inquest on the death of a seaman who fell from the mizen topmast of the P & O ship Ganges in 1855, it was reported that the deceased was being assisted by a boy “…who was in the boatswain’s chair”, when the fall occurred.
    [Source – Bombay Gazette dated 2 March 1855, accessed from the British Newspaper Archive 10 March 2023]

    There is also an earlier reference, although not specifically by name; in an article that appeared in newspapers in 1833, covering “The treatment of female convicts on their passage to Botany Bay”, citing the testimony of John Owen, Boatswain of the convict ship Amphitrite. He states that before departure they were often visited by Elizabeth Fry and other Quaker ladies, and “It was Owen’s place, as boatswain, to sling the chair for Mrs Fry and the other ladies when they came on board”
    [Source: London Evening Standard dated 16 October 1833; accessed from the British Newspaper Archive 10 March 2023]

    https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk