Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
The London was no 2 ship [64 guns]in the Fleet to pick up the King, used by Vice Admiral Lawson John, it had a better State room.Built in 1656, accidently blown up in 1665. weight 1104 tons. gleaned from Google and http://anglo-dutch-wars.blogspot.com/2005/03/sq...
1663: Sir George Smith of EICo instrumental in interest in tea import to London, with Henry Page at Bantam consigning tea to Smith in ship London by 1663. (See Sir Percival Griffiths, The History of the Indian Tea Industry. London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1967., p. 17)
Sandwich had gone to sea in July 1664 in the flagship London, which called back and assigned to Lawson as his flagship for the fleet to be set out in the spring of 1665. Sandwich went to the Revenge.
(see letter from DOY to Sandwich posted by Terry)
Diary annotation by Rex Gordon on Tue 26 Aug 2008 (1665):
Wreck of HMS London found in the Thames Estuary …
This isn’t related to today’s diary entry, but today’s Daily Mail has an amazing photograph of the HMS London, which blew up and sank in 1665, resting in remarkably good condition on the floor of the Thames estuary. Here’s the link:
Sam would have known this ship well. Its demise was certainly a major event.
New (2008) theory about the explosion, methane from the accumulation of rotting faeces
"HMS London, a royal warship, had left Chatham Docks and was shouldering her way up the Thames to pick up her captain when, without warning, she exploded.
Naval historians have been mystified about the cause, one theory being that an unstable mix of chemicals ignited the ship's supply of gunpowder.
Now a 20-year study of another 17th-century warship has blamed instead the personal habits of the men on board: in particular their tendency to relieve themselves into the deepest recesses of the ship.
The theory suggests that rotting faeces in the bilges led to a build-up of methane that could have been ignited by a candle below decks.
Richard Enser, an engineer and naval historian, arrived at this explanation while researching the Lennox, launched a decade after the London exploded. Restoration Warship, to be published in the new year, takes the Lennox as the archetypal ship of the period. Among her records was an account of a curious incident, recorded while she was laid up at Chatham.
The ship's lieutenant fell down the well, an aperture running from the top deck beside the mast to the bottom of the hold, through which the crew could pump out the bilges. It appears that the skeleton crew had been using the well as a lavatory, rather than relieving themselves over the side as they would have done at sea. When two sailors were sent to find the fallen lieutenant, according to the report, "they were rendered in a manner dead by the stench".
Mr Enser told The Times: "They were unconscious. Of course, it is not the smell that makes you unconscious, it's the methane." This, he thought, could be the cause of many ship explosions reported in the 17th century.
"When you have that concentration of methane, all it would take is someone being sent down there with a lantern to set it off," he said. "The powder room is in the hold as well."
Charles Trollope, an authority on naval ordnance from the period, prefers the theory that the explosion occurred as the crew were reloading old cartridge papers with gunpowder in the magazine, a common practice. "When they stopped using secondhand cartridge papers there were no more explosions," he said. "Then again it could have been the two things together."http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts...
I have been researching and writing a biography of Sir Christopher Myngs who was Knighted in 1665, after the Battle of Lowestoft, at which The London was to have been Sir John Lawson's flagship. Indeed she was heading up river to collect him and the squadron's flags and ensigns when she was destroyed. For anyone interested in the Navy of this period,I can definately recomend "A Distant Storm" The Four Days Battle of 1666. by Frank.L. Fox published in 1996. Christopher Myngs is mentioned a lot in Pepys diary,indeed Pepys and Sir William Coventry attended His Funeral on 13th June 1666. I hope this Ship can be preserved,as its priceless.
Log in to post an annotation.
If you don't have an account, then register here.