Nelson & His World

Discussion on the life and times of Admiral Lord Nelson
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 Post subject: John Poole and the saving of HMS Victory
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:39 am 
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I have been reading a letter written by Geoffrey Callender to the Times in 1922.

In it he referred to HMS Victory in the period shortly after 1805.

He wrote:

"In 1815, without more recognition of her past services than most gallant ships receive, she was consigned to the shipbreaker's yard.
That she escaped destruction was due to the efforts of a private individual, John Poole, best remembered now as the creator of Paul Pry. He stirred to activity the national conscience, and Nelson's flagship was saved."


I can't find anything more about John Poole's supposed campaign.

Can anyone throw any further light on GC's statement??!!

Thanks if you can.

MB


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 Post subject: Re: John Poole and the saving of HMS Victory
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:11 pm 
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Hi Mark

In Geoffrey Callender's 'The Story of HMS Victory' (my edition is dated 1929), on page 238 he refers to Poole's campaign as follows:

"Nothing more, the shipwrights said, could possibly be expected from her. It was, therefore, proposed to sell her for what her planks would fetch and break her up in some Thames-side yard.

This imperious sacrilege was averted by John Poole, the author of Paul Pry. His indignant article, first published in the Brighton Gazette, was copied and reprinted by most other newspapers. The British public thereupon for the customary nine days whipped itself into a fine frenzy, and the Victory was happily and mercifully saved from the fate that overtook the Temeraire"

I hope this is helpful and will give you a further line of enquiry.

Regards

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: John Poole and the saving of HMS Victory
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:47 pm 
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Phil

That was indeed very helpful. I don't have access to the Brighton Gazette but it enabled me to pursue my searches in various other directions.

I realise now that this episode occurred in 1830 - not 1815 as I originally thought.

At the end of April 1830 Sir Thomas Foley replaced Sir Robert Stopford as Port Admiral at Portsmouth and it was decided that he would not take Victory as his Flag Ship.

Victory was paid off and moved into Ordinary.

It was then reported that Victory was to be cut down to a second rate (so Callender was not actually correct that she was due to be scrapped.)

Nevertheless this prompted John Poole to write the first of several letters to the Brighton Gazette. He protested in a later letter that "such a ship is a national heirloom, and ought to be preserved as a sacred relic . . . why do they not entreat that she may be preserved as she was at the day of Trafalgar?"

Poole seems to have become the public face of nationwide protests.

His sentiments obviously reached the "powers that be" as the following was reported in The Standard newspaper at the end of July.

"In accordance with the feelings of the public, the Admiralty have abandoned the intention of cutting down the Victory (so endeared to us by many associations) to a 74. Since it was understood that this step was contemplated, the public have been loud in their lamentations that such a national object of interest should not be suffered to remain unaltered. Consulting, therefore, the general wish, the Admiralty have not only relinquished their first intention, but have decided that she shall be fitted to receive the pendant of the Captain of the Ordinary, thus rendering the Victory an object of double interest. For whilst we shall look upon her with a mixed feeling of pride and melancholy, as the ship which bore the flag of the immortal Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar, and in which he fell, we shall regard her as a nursery for our seamen, who shall be stimulated to emulation by the remembrance that the ship in which they were early instructed in their duties owed its celebrity to the bright renown of the departed hero."

I would still like to see the whole sequence of letters written by Poole. If time allows I will contact the archive for the Brighton area and see if they can help me in that respect. Unless anyone else can oblige . . . . . . !!

I certainly find this an interesting episode in Victory's illustrious history.

MB


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