Coal, the Royal Navy, and the British Empire



Steven Gray is Lecturer in the History of the Royal Navy at the University of Portsmouth, UK, where he teaches on the MA in Naval History. His PhD, completed at the University of Warwick, won the British Commission for Maritime History Doctoral prize for the best doctoral thesis in 2014.

The nineteenth century, bookended by the Napoleonic Wars and the Anglo-German arms race, can be said to be overlooked by historians of war and of the armed forces, particularly when compared to global conflicts which preceded and concluded it. Yet this belies the fact that it was a time of immense change, where the relative stability of British control of trading routes, empire, and other interests obscured the plethora of change which affected the systems, actors, resources, bureaucracies, strategies, and means of deterrence which underpinned them. Each was crucial to maintaining British naval supremacy, and therefore its…

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One response to “Coal, the Royal Navy, and the British Empire

  1. David Gunn

    Dear Martin I note that Steven Gray refers to the last of the RN’s hybrid warships being launched in about 1875. In fact they were being built much later than that. My father’s sloop HMS Clio (see my book Sailor in the Desert) was launched in 1903 and he recalled sailing across the South China Sea in her under canvas. When the war started they tended to use steam and I think when headed for Mesopotamia they disembarked their sails. Your material always worth reading!

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