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Collections18th January 2021

Blue Collections for Blue Monday

Whilst many of us will have read the gentle reminder and encouragement from this morning’s headlines on ‘Blue/Brew Monday’ to check in on family and friends, we thought we’d add a dockyard twist and share our ‘Blue Collections’.

Chamber Pot:

What is a chamber pot you may ask? Traditionally for nocturnal use in the bedroom, at sea this portable toilet would have been found in accommodation for the commissioned officer in the quarter galleries adjoining the cabins in the stern. Presumably, these were later emptied over the side of the ship – nice and easy at sea!


Sailmaker’s Bench:

The use is in the name of this object. This seat was passed with carpet or canvas to make it a little more comfortable, with the top surface covered 75% with blue patterned carpet. It was the sailmaker’s basic workplace allowing long lengths of canvas to slide over his knees with support to the left. This item would be commonly found at the dockyard.

Rigger’s Bench:  

A bigger size than the sailmaker’s bench above, these benches came into use after the adoption of wire rope for rigging. The robust structure supports this being a rigger’s bench, the legs are cross braced both across the width and the length of the bench and secured to the platform top with metal rods secured by locking nuts recessed into the legs. In the platform there are two 60mm holes, and three of each of 30mm and 40mm. Currently the platform is 3/4 covered with a blue canvas held in position with 8 upholstery pins.

And finally, a favourite blue item from the Collections Team is The Albert Lifesaving Medal. This is not yet part of our online collections, but the story of the item can be read from an earlier blog post on how a stokehold hero, Frederick Marshall, saved many lives on board HMS Vengeance with a potato sack.

The above objects are just a small insight in our collections. We care for over 70,000 objects – ranging from archaeology, rigging, hand tools, machinery to fine art and photography. Whether it be to brush up on your history knowledge or use the information as inspiration for trivia questions for your next family zoom quiz, discover our online collections. 

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