Scale 1:48. A contemporary full hull model of a Blackwall frigate (circa 1840), a cargo merchantman. The model is decked, equipped and fully rigged with sails (modern) set. There are also 14 sails which were replaced when restored in 1979. At this scale, the model represents a ship measuring 152 feet in length by 25 feet in the beam and an approximate tonnage of 900.
Although the name would suggest an armed fighting vessel, the Blackwall frigates were sailing merchantmen built between 1837 and 1869 for the Indian trade following the expiration of the East India Company’s exclusive charter in 1833. Many of these ships were built on the Thames, in particular by Green and Wigram’s yard at Blackwall. A particularly well known example was the ‘Seringapatam’ (see SLR0763) of 1837 which established a new record of 85 days from London to Bombay. Large numbers of these vessels were built and dominated the trade to and from India until the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Thereafter they continued trading successfully for a number of years but were eventually eclipsed by the faster clipper ships.
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
brass; cotton; gilt; paint; satin; varnish; wood
Overall model: 1208 x 1614 x 595 mm; Base: 159 x 1494 x 435 mm