Ship models, Dockyards, buildings, and topography

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Royal Dockyard at Sheerness

Ship models

Object connections:

Collection Ship models, Dockyards, buildings, and topography
User collections Curator's pick: George III's ship models by jgraves
Gallery locationNot on display
PeopleProvenance: King George III
VesselsMars, Nottingham (1745), Squirrel (1755)
Publication(s)Ship models : their purpose and development from 1650 to the present : illustrated from the ship model collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

View this book in the library
Treasures of the National Maritime Museum
Gloria Clifton and Nigel Rigby
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Object details:

Object ID SLR2148
Description Topographic model of the Royal Dockyard at Sheerness, Kent, in about 1774. This model is one of a set six commissioned by Lord Sandwich for George III in 1773-74, showing the Royal Dockyards as they were at the time. As with all six of these models (Chatham, Deptford, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Sheerness and Woolwich), ships of various sizes are shown at the different stages of construction ranging from just a keel through to a ship on the slipway ready for launching. These models are also extremely accurate and detailed and illustrate all the different processes, materials and buildings within the dockyards that are required to build and maintain the fighting warship. This model includes frame models of the 'Nottingham' (rebuilt in 1745) and 'Mars', along with the bomb vessel 'Squirrel' (1755). Contemporary references have been found stating that the model of the ‘Squirrel’ was made by George Stockwell, one of the finest model makers of the late 18th century. There are also several old hulks in the mud births on the river, which were used for accommodation. Sheerness Dockyard was established in 1665 in a convenient situation at the mouth of the Medway, where the cleaning of ships and the storage of supplies had taken place since a fortification protecting the developing base at Chatham had been established there in the mid-16th century. Sheerness assumed as its primary function the cleaning, refitting and minor repair of ships rather than specialising in their construction, and except for a small ship in 1677, no vessel was built there until 1691. The absence of a nearby town, creating difficulties of lodging, provisioning and water supply, limited the expansion of the Dockyard and prevented it from attaining a position of major importance. The yard remained useful for cleaning and minor repairs, however, and ships were often sent there to be surveyed. To cope with an increasing number of vessels, the facilities were improved in the years 1742-45 and the yard was further enlarged between 1815 and 1826, but the lack of a victualling depot remained a major source of inconvenience. It was finally closed down in March 1960.
Date made circa 1774

Artist/Maker Stockwell, George
Place made Sheerness Dockyard, Sheerness, Sheppey, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials brass; paint; sand; varnish; wood
Measurements Overall model, case and display table: 1077 x 1469 x 1103 mm
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