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Was the size of the trays of square meals regulated? I believe it was more or less half the depth of the table and so it could be variying upon the space available?

 

In the pictures and drawings they appear to have about 40 cm in size

http://www.flickr.com/photos/58679007@N00/5700633764/in/photostream/

 

Thank you, Daniel

 

 

 

Edit: Enlarged the titel as some aspects of the mess fit nicely.

Edited by dafi
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Hi Daniel, I've looked thro' my reference sources but can't find any specific information on the tray sizes as yet. There is a lot of stuff on the organisation of messes, collection of food, and even that a lot of sailors had their own plates, bowls and cutlery.

 

Here's a shot of a table in the Gunroom of Victory which may help you to gauge the tray size. Note the pewter plates and drinking  vessels.100_2234.JPG

Not sure how authentic the table is, but pehaps the Petty Officers of the gunroom had  a better arrangement.

 

Boudriot isn't of much help in relation to British ships, as the French rank and file ate sitting on the deck out of communal  mess  bowls, they didn't have individual  plates and bowls. The Petty Officers fared somwhat better having tables to sit at.

 

If I come across anything more I will post it.

 

M.

 

 

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Thanks for the links Daniel; some interesting illustrations there.  I have not looked at them all, but it is surprising to see that although space is tight around the tables etc, that the overheads are quite high.  They are shown to be just above ther doortop for headline in the cabins etc, but much higher on the gundecks.  i was always under the impression that although people were in general shorter back then, they would still have had restricted headroom 'tween decks.  These illustrations would appear to show different (and assuming that in the cabins people could walk through a doorway without bending)?

 

cheers

 

Pat

Edited by BANYAN
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Hi Pat, I think there was  more than a touch of artistic licence taken in portraying some of those below decks scenes, and some of the deck heights are very suspect.

 

The differences in below deck space between say Victory of 1765, and Warrior of 1860 are quite marked, it's very interesting to do back to back tours of both ships, and see the advances made in living conditions between the two eras.

 

B.E.

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Wasn't living space also very much depending on the size of ship?


I read that Thomas Cochrane in HMS Speedy had to open a skylight and set his tackle on the quarterdeck when standing up shaving. His 1.5 m high cabin was for sitting only.


 


Per

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It was quite common by the artists to exaggerate the height of the decks :-)

 

Nicely to be seen on the painting of Nelon´s Death ...

 

But a lot of details can be noticed and if one takes the lowest common divisor it gives an idea about how it could have been.

 

XXXDAn

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Crackers, this may be the topic for another thread.  The RN had some great names for some foods (Devils on Horseback, toad in a hole, etc) :)

 

In our outfit we were always wary of anything coated in breadcrumbs as the chefs were usually trying to 'mask' something (old food generally) :)  We called this food in "night clothing" as usually this was served for the evening meals, and we had to shift into "night clothing" at nights to show their lordships how hygenic we were ;)

 

cheers

 

Pat

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  • 2 months later...

The mess and sailors chests ...

 

A lot of contemporary pictures show sailors sitting on their chests while having their meals on the tables that were hung up from the deck beams. Most AOTS and the Vic in P. show benches to sit on instead.

 

This gives me some of my usual intriguing questions:

- Was the use of benches something special in the navy for that in case of clearing for combat there were no hundrets of chests to be removed into the hold?
- Were bags used instead like in the sketch of AOTS Bellona? 

- Were their any chests for the common sailors on the RN?

- Were chests used at the merchant vessels or smaller RN vessels where they did not interfere with gun exercise?

- Were the cupboard plates and the barrels removed in case of exercising? How did everything did not get messed up or broken?

- was the table always fixed to the inboard hull or was it sometimes left swinging by a second rope to avoid spilling?

 

Thank you for any hints, Daniel

 

post-182-0-96676000-1370008362_thumb.jpg

 

Edited by dafi
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  • 2 weeks later...

As always, if curious, have to try out ...

 

... easy to see, it is getting tight. One place has to stay free because of the hanging knee.


 
800_Victory_7865.jpg
 
800_Victory_7868.jpg
 
800_Victory_7867.jpg
 
Still missing some jugs and a handful of barrels and the duffels in the corners.
 
There were about 800 seamen living, eating and sleeping on the area of the decks, means 400 each deck. As the aft was reserved for ranks so the remaining area was about 12 guns long each side. This makes a count of 400 / 12 / 2 and gives about 17 people each mess. So I understand the shift system with the watches, as there is maximum space for 11 or 13 people on the table. All those 17 people´s belonging had most possibly also to be stored in that confined space ...

 

... just some thoughts ...

 

DAniel

Edited by dafi
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Fascinating as always, Daniel.   There would have the bucket like thing for carrying the food from the stove to the table.    Not sure about the chests.  They might have been stowed on the orlop or the next deck down from the lowest gundeck.  Depends on the ship.  You're right though, about them not being there when cleared for action.  Some books reference that the men sat on their chests instead of benches.   Have you found a reference to how big the chests were? 

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Thank you Mark,

 

there are several jars, jugs and small and medium casks and buckets missing:

among others (not yet identified) there should be fresh water barrel on the beam, freshwater jar on the table, bucket for catching/bringing the food, and not to forget, the bucket for the "processed" food on days that the heads were no option weather wise - buck´t and chuck´t :-)

 

The small model gave me the impression, that chests were no suitable option for the big man of war. If I look at the space and see that 17 man were confined in there, even shoe boxes would not work.

 

Also the question is, how in clearing for action 800 chests were to be managed?!? Duffels were easy to be thrown in the hold - or elsewhere. Even as protection against splinters. Managing and stacking chests in that quantity is much more of a task under clearing circumstances.

 

Seen this thoughts, the option shown in AOTS Bellona with the duffle bags hanging both sides of the ports in between the knees seems the most logical. I do for some reason not believe, that the sailors had a chest stacked in on of the lower decks. 

 

All the best, Daniel

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Of course this brings the question up which "tools" were used? 


 


In between the guns wooden spoon and knife? Metal spoon and fork if in possession?


 


 


The officers most possibly used fork and knive here an example out off NMM of normal table wear of 1800


http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/62263.html


 


large.jpg


 


What was about the midis? Also the better table ware, as they were to become officers?


 


Here as a small goody Nelsons fork-knive, also known from other handicapped sailors of the times.


http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/63222.html


large.jpg


 


 


 


Daniel

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