- The background to the tea trade
- Chinese silver
- Treaty of Nanking
- British-built clippers
- Ocean Steam Ship Company
- The homeward passage
- Development of the ships
- The way of a ship
- A comparison of hull forms
- Development of the clipper bow
- Development of the upper stern
- Headworks and upper stem
- Disadvantage of Aberdeen clippers
- Comparison of sizes
- Hull Construction
- Construction of iron hull
- Composite construction
- Proposed tea clipper
- Ornamental deckwork
- Ornamental deckwork
- Miscellaneous fittings
- Full deck height poop
- Sail plans
- Details of tops
- Masts and spars
- Iron yards
- Steering Gear Arrangements
- Windlass and Forecastle Arrangement
- Fife Rails and Bitts
Furniture was of the sparsest. A plain scrubbed table pierced by two wooden posts up which it could slide and be pegged out of the way was the usual arrangement for messing, with long benches each side. Small tiered mess lockers were provided for each seaman for utensils, his clothing and personal effects being kept in his own chest. A small fresh water keg or tank was on hand inside the accommodation and a small iron stove, coal or wood fired, supplied the heating, the ship's coal supply being carried in a forepeak store. Lighting was given by gimballed oil lamps or sometimes shielded candles made of green tallow mixed with a rat poison.
Fresh water was pumped up from a large tank in the hold, one pump being on deck over the position of the tank, near the mainmast or poop, and another pump usually in the after saloon pantry. For washing and for toilets, etc. another small hand pump was fitted at the forecastle with a lead pipe leading forward and down the external stem to a point below the light waterline. It was let into the side of the stem and covered flush for protection, only a small hole being visible in the coppering.
Toilets for the crews were fitted in small wooden closets with curved or sloping roofs, touching the forecastle deck or a short distance aft of it. There could be two of these closets as toilets, one each side or sometimes with one of the pair used as a lamp room or locker. The toilet was flushed by hand from a can with salt water from the small pump adjacent. The larger iron or composite clippers with full height forecastles had the closets built in solid with the forecastle bulkhead.
Two similar closets were also built against the full height poop front bulkheads, for petty officers, in the larger ships, or again one compartment could be used as a storeroom. Additional toilet closets were fitted in the poop accommodation, with the captain's generally being private. These interior toilets often had a flushing tank filled by the steward or otherwise they too were flushed by hand.
Bathing was done with salt water on deck in a large flat wooden tub, when weather permitted, and this, with clothing purified with the fresh sea air, gave seamen that wonderful clean smell of the ocean which could be recognized ashore amidst its many odours. The wooden bunks with leeboards, in two tiers, varied in length in one compartment and were quite small by today's standards, being anything from 5 to 6 ft unless ample space permitted a uniform length. The men themselves were small and wiry, but possessed of great stamina from the simplest diet. I have the uniform and jacket of an East Indiaman's ship's surgeon of 1780 which would not fit my average sized son at the age of 11, his hand not passing further down the sleeve than the elbow, and the narrow sloping shoulders being about three-quarters the width of his.
The smallness ofmen in the past often gives a misleading impression of the size of ships in contemporary prints where their heads barely appear over the bulwarks. Visitors to HMS Victory are often surprised at the smallness of the ship, having preconceived ideas of her size from paintings of battle scenes with numerous men occupying plenty of space.
A typical example of the stamina and courage of 19th century seamen is provided by the second voyage of the Sir Lancelot in 1866. Fitted with iron lower masts, she was leaving the Channel outward bound in December when she met with a heavy gale and increasing squalls. The bowsprit carried away first, followed by the foremast and mainmast near deck level, and in turn the mizzenmast above the top. This tremendous, mess came hurtling down, tearing gaping holes in the deck and smashing bulwarks. The wreckage hanging over the side threatened to pound holes in the side of the hull, while the crew hacked away at the rigging and buckled iron masts, the foremast having snapped off at deck level. As many spars as possible were retrieved, and after Herculean efforts a jury mast was erected in the stump of the foremast; under jury rig the ship was manoeuvred back unaided to Falmouth in two days during the most vicious winter in fifty years. Six weeks later, with the help of expert riggers from Liverpool and new wooden lower masts sent down from London, the ship was repaired and on her way to China.
The after deckhouse, if there were two, would accommodate the ship's galley and probably two or more small cabins with double bunks for petty officers, cook, sailmaker, bosun or carpenter. The galley had an athwartships iron stove with storm rails, iron pan racks overhead, and coal and sand bins in the corners. The floor was usually laid with red quarry tiles or bricks, the living quarters having the wood deck itself covered with sailor-made rope mats. The windows in the earlier craft were glazed square openings with hinged or sliding wood shutters, followed in the 1850s by brass or iron framed circular portholes. The well known modern style of hinged brass portholes with rubber gaskets (originally cork) and large locking nuts appeared in the early 1860s. American ships kept the square shuttered type of window in the deckhouses later than the British, although they fitted circular metal framed fixed lights in the side hull or poop counter in the early 1850s. The old fashioned square stern sash windows persisted in some round-sterned British clippers in an artificial form, the sash and frame being raised wooden mouldings and the glass panes simulated in pale blue paint shaded in one corner for effect. The Fiery Cross (1855) had these.
British tea clippers, being built specifically for the tea trade, carried no more than two or three spare cabins for passengers or the owner in the poop accommodation