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 Ships' Ventilation 
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Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2008 9:57 am
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Post ventilation and cleanliness
Hello Susan!

I have found little about this the work I have done on (eg) the Spanish and Portuguese. This isn't surprising since my impression is that the study of naval history follows a cycle - ie it starts with heroes and battles; goes on to social matters, recruitment, promotion etc; moves on the design and building of ships; then ends with logistics - health, victualling etc. In Britain we have just reached the last phase. European countries seem to be at an earlier one.

I can however confirm the truth of what David Porter said. A number of officers who paid social visits to French ships immediately after the war were struck by their system of having cooking facilities and ovens low down in the vessel. Some noted with envy that the French got fresh bread twice a week (no mention of croissants or pan au chocolat!) and (like Porter) that the heat helped to dry out the ship and attract the inflow of fresh air.

This was of particular interest since British ships were notoriously damp - partly due to the obsession of many officers with swabbing the decks with water, winter and summer. This was part of a laudible keeness for cleanliness which ensured that British ships were (to foreigners) astonishingly clean. The French did not share this habit. In the earlier years of the war - when discipline was lax and ships over-manned and (it is said) the dead were temporarily buried in the already stinkng ballast- their ships were notoriously filthy and disease ridden. Many of the prizes after the Glorious First of June, for example, were riddled with typhus.


Brian Vale


Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:29 pm
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Brian:

please see my post on the 'Dr Thomas Trotter' thread under the 'Personnel' heading.

Polly


Mon Oct 20, 2008 2:39 pm
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Post Re: ventilation and cleanliness
Brian Vale wrote:
I have found little about this the work I have done on (eg) the Spanish and Portuguese. This isn't surprising since my impression is that the study of naval history follows a cycle - ie it starts with heroes and battles; goes on to social matters, recruitment, promotion etc; moves on the design and building of ships; then ends with logistics - health, victualling etc. In Britain we have just reached the last phase. European countries seem to be at an earlier one.

Hi Brian,

Thanks for your reply. Your comment on how the study of naval history follows a cycle is interesting. I suppose it's because the earlier aspects are the more glamorous and attractive ones to study.


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This was of particular interest since British ships were notoriously damp - partly due to the obsession of many officers with swabbing the decks with water, winter and summer.

Have you come across anything about the negative effects of dry holystoning?

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susan


Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:19 am
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Post Re: ventilation and cleanliness
Susan!

If the odd journals that survive are anything to go by, naval surgeons were trying to persuade the officers to use dry as opposed to wet holystoning from 1800 up to the 1820s (with slow but steady success). The alternative system would have been so beneficial that I don't think anyone had got round to looking at the drawbacks (if indeed there were any). I have seen no references to disadvantages.

Brian Vale


Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:59 am
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Post Re: ventilation and cleanliness
Hi Brian,

I don't have the source at hand, but I remember reading that there was some fear that the dust from the dry holystoning would be bad for the men's health when inhaled.

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susan


Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:04 pm
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Post Re: Ships' Ventilation
A bit later than our period, but interesting:

Image
HMS Griffon Plan of Ventilation by The National Archives UK, on Flickr

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susan


Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:17 am
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Post Re: Ships' Ventilation
From Vancouver's A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and Round the World:

"As I had ever considered fired the most likely and efficacious means to keep up a constant circulation of fresh and pure air throughout a ship; in the fore part of every day good fires were burning between decks, and in the well. Both decks were kept clean, and as dry as possible, and notwithstanding the weather was hot, and the smoke and heat thence arising was considered as inconvenient and disagreeable, yet I was confident that a a due attention to this particular, and not washing too frequently below, were indispensable precautions, and would be productive of the most salubrious and happy effects in preserving the health and lives of our people."

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susan


Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:45 am
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