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Social history of the Royal Navy


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I need to do a presentation on the social history of the Royal Navy circa 1775-1825 for a class I am taking on Jane Austen - don't laugh, one of her books has significant characters who are RN officers, and 2 of her brothers were in the Navy - one (Francis) rose to the rank of admiral and was known to Nelson.  Can anyone suggest any resources which discuss the social classes of those who became officers, how they joined, were trained and educated, how their careers affected their social status or how their social status affected their careers?  Anything that gives some incite into who these men really were; a bonus would be any discussion on how the social backgrounds of naval officers differed from those of the army.



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Surely most officers came from families of "higher status" in the then current hierarchy, but there were some that worked their way to the quarterdeck from before the mast.  This following site would take a LOT of time to dig into but maybe take a look at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/royal-navy-officers-service-records-1756-1931/



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Hi Steve,


It's a small world!  In 1997 my daughter Rebecca, a senior at the University of Michigan wrote a thesis titled Jane Austin and the Royal Navy.  If you google Rebecca Pellett + Jane Austin it is listed on the University's English Department website.  The key document that inspired her to write the thesis was a book of her letters that demonstrated that Miss Austin was very involved in her brothers' careers.  I think that the book was either Jane Austin's Sailor Brothers by John H. Hubback or Jane Austin's Letters by R.W. Chapman as both are listed in her bibliography.


In addition to the sources listed by others, The Command of the Ocean by N.A.M. Rodger also includes much on your topic.  It should be easy to find.



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