Here we can see some of the quarterdeck of HMS Victory, specifically the 'steering wheel area' in circa 1794:
This was an important area of HMS Victory, as it was the primary position from which HMS Victory was steered. The steering wheel, would be operated by several men - with more men 'being required' in stormy seas. The steering wheel's central-shaft had a rope 'wrapped around it' with both ends passing through into the decks beneath. 'Rope and Pulley plus Tiller' technology then converted the turning of the steering wheel, into the 'turning of the rudder' (in later generation warships, gears are used for this conversion). The 'windowed rooms' located on the left and right of the steering wheel are the 'coach houses' - which were used by senior officers (as working spaces). The area located behind the steering wheel is the captain's dining cabin (which was located just forward of his day cabin). Above the steering wheel's roof, is a 'hanging line' of small firefighting buckets - as fire was a 'constant worry' for any sailor aboard 'a wooden' ship of the line (especially at night, when oil lanterns were used as a light source). Three of HMS Victory's 12-pounder cannons are also visible (two lower-left and one middle-right) which being located on the quarterdeck - would have been exposed to the elements.
Here we can see the wooden 'stern galleys' of HMS Victory, as they appeared 'mostly' in circa 1794:
This area of HMS Victory represented the 'height of sculpture' for the days (and probably today as well!). It was standard practice for ships of the line, to be decorated astern - although only 'first rates' (such as HMS Victory) would have taken it 'to these levels'. The lowermost windows are located at the stern of the wardroom (where officers would eat). The middlemost windows are located at the stern of the admiral's day cabin (where 'his strategy' was usually planned). The uppermost windows are located at the stern of the captain's day cabin (directly above the admirals). As the admiral was a 'higher rank' than the captain, this meant that his cabins would be 'more stable' whilst at sea (owing to a lower 'centre of gravity'). Whilst this was true for ships of the line, this arrangement appears to have been reversed in later warships (with the admiral's cabins 'higher up'). To the left of the galleys (in this view) can be found the cannons of HMS Victory: the lowermost are 32-pounders, the middlemost are 24-pounders and the uppermost (including those on the quarterdeck) are 12-pounders.
| Nebula Hawk
HMS Warrior 1860 - Iron Hull Form and Admirals Day Cabin
HMS Warrior is considered to be, an important milestone, in terms of the development of modern warships - as Warrior featured the iron of the then-to-be future, whilst retaining her Victorian roots:
Warrior's iron hull form, was designed to repel the cannon balls, of an enemy fleet. This was achieved, through the concept of an armoured citadel - as Warrior's thirty-eight 68-pounder guns/cannons, were protected behind an 'iron wall', that was 4.5 inches thick. This meant, that Warrior could engage, enemy ships of the line (who at this time, featured: wooden hull forms, and usually 32-pounder guns/cannons), without fear of her own armoured belt, being penetrated. This gave the Royal Navy, an undeniable advantage, when it came to naval conflict - as warships would sit in a line, firing at each other, and the warships made of wood, would sink first! In any case, Warrior retained the Admiral's Day/Night Cabin (at her stern), as was installed on HMS Victory (though Warrior's, was on a less grander scale). This featured: decorated windows, with golden patterns in the wood/iron, bordered with white - to reflect the rank of the most important officer on the warship, the Admiral (or Captain).
Here we can see the stern deck area of HMS Hood. What I most liked about Hood's stern profile, was the fact that she had a matched pair of naval gun turrets, mounted astern:
Later battleships (including both American, and Japanese), would only have a single gun turret, mounted astern. I feel that the matched pair (in Hood), catered for a more balanced profile - both in terms of her appearance, and in terms of her firepower. Hood's stern deck, was an interesting area of contradiction! For on her Empire Cruise (when she sailed the British Empire), was this area often where the VIPs (such as Royalty) were entertained. With the wooden handrail ladders (middle-bottom right), leading to the Admiral's Day Cabin - came much pomp and ceremony. And yet, when Hood was at sea, even in a fairly calm sea, was this entire stern deck area, often awash with sea water! The stern deck had been designed too low in the waterline. Yet, there is some irony here. For in the wreck of HMS Hood (at the bottom of the North Atlantic), is it the stern deck and it's flag pole, that stand up from the sea bed, as if in salute.
From left to right we have: the aft-most eight barrelled 2 pounder anti-aircraft pom poms gun, two 4 inch high angle anti-aircraft guns, and one of the fifteen inch naval gun turrets (with it's local control range finder on-top). The anti-aircraft guns, were situated atop the Admiral's Day Cabin, and much pomp and ceremony, is often associated with the wooden handrail ladders, that lead to this area (bottom left). This was particularly true, of Hood's Empire Cruise, where she entertained VIPs (such as Royalty), from around the World.