Authority, judgement and the sailor-designer
in Shaping the Royal Navy
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This chapter unravels the professional, political and social threads to examine the cultures of authority and judgement within which the ships of the Royal Navy were shaped and careers were made. It examines William Symonds's authority by first investigating the claims that actors made both in support and in opposition to his appointment. It secondly analyses how Admiralty officials and MPs judged those claims in relation to the Vernon. The First Lord of the Admiralty possessed an official yacht, which from 1815 was registered with the Royal Yacht Club (RYC). The self-fashioning of the enlightened 'sailor-designer' identity was a priority. The 1830 Whig government's Board of Admiralty abolished the Tory-controlled Navy Board and appointed Symonds to oversee many of its duties. These reforms were among a number that James Graham, the Whig First Lord of the Admiralty, made to the Admiralty's structure.

Shaping the Royal Navy

Technology, authority and naval architecture, c.1830 –1906


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