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Victory and other historic Marine News

I have been speaking to Peter Goodwin, Curator and Keeper of HMS Victory and author of numerous definitive books on historic marine subjects.PG___GF_IMG_6503_wp.jpg

Peter is very concerned that there are structural problems in Victory caused by poor repairs and the committees responsible are not listening to him …

Thus I was able to bring Peter some moral support and light relief with some marine news.

I’d previously emailed Peter Goodwin as discussed when I last visited HMS Victory last December (see blog entry 5 Dec http://www.frickers.co.uk/blog/2009/12/05/portsmouth-hms-victory-and-pickle/.
My email had not arrived, just as well I phone today?
I had attached a draft letter of introduction worded as nearly as I can recall, to the original from Captain Mike Cheshire, the then commander of HMS Victory.
The original letter was on official ship’s stationary and would have been dated about May 1995.

The letter  was unique, an honour, more it was very useful, opening doors all over Europe greatly aiding  my research for HMS Victory.
It enabled me to access many rare documents and artifacts in turn leading to some ground breaking research.

I was greeted with enthusiasm and given unlimited co operation in places as far afield as Liverpool, Madrid, London and San Sebastian Naval Base, Brest and Cadiz, Paris and Plymouth.

Unfortunately I left the original with the marine Museum in Madrid and can’t find the last copy I had.
I’d like to show some thing with the above date on my web site as part of the Trafalgar project.

It would also be very helpful to have an up dated copy similar or same wording from Peter Goodwin to use during current ongoing research.

For example, last month I was in the Musee Marine National, Paris.
While they were polite, no one was very helpful, an opportunity missed.
Next Month I will be in Brest around the 12th 15th and possibly visit La Hermione so a new letter would be most helpful.

My addresses are:

Gordon Frickers
41a Oak Tree Park

Gordon Frickers
Les Lilas, ITZAC
81170 CORDES, France

Alert and Lexington

We know the British cutter Alert captured the American brig, commerce raider, Lexington.

I have made a start by re reading various books here.

While I don’t have anything on Alert, I did make a little progress re Lexington.
It appears Lexington was a converted merchant ship.
As far as I can tell from the preliminary research, no plan or reliable illustration exists of her so we have a clean shot at this.

Peter offered to contact colleagues at  the National Maritime Museum Greenwich (London) as the National Maritime Museum Greenwich archives may have a plan of Lexington.
After capture Lexington was brought into the Royal Naval Dockyard, Plymouth so was very likely measured and had her lines taken as was the custom at Plymouth in those days.

You probably know, it appears she was a typical American trader of her period.
I have quite a lot of colour pictures of such ships here.
I have not as yet searched the Internet or raised this with my friends in the U.S.A. or other possible sources.

As for a painting, I am happy to produce one on “spec”, to be used in any way we think helpful, as usual I’m open to ideas.
I can start painting as soon as you wish, anytime after the end of February would be good.
Thus the sooner we can sort out our ideas the sooner I can begin sketches for us to discuss.
If you have the time I’d like to get started ASAP, before I am to involved in the coming exhibition at the European Parliament (date to be set, possibly mid May as that is European Sea Week).

Other marine news

Last week I attended a meeting of the L’association Laperouse.
There are several opportunities there which may interest you?

You are probably aware Laperouse was the French answer to James Cook?
The society has a good web site including copy in various languages.

The society is very active and in touch with museums at many places Laperouse ships visited.
I wrote up the evening on my blog, http://www.frickers.co.uk/blog/, 22 January.

Possibly the most interesting news for you and I though is the society has:
Good connections in France and abroad.
The senior people appreciate they are getting old and are concerned to find younger people to “take over”.
They wish to seek links with other European societies and museums of the great and pioneering explorers and navigators.

This with the aim of a joint presentation to the European Parliament for funds.

The present Museum is in the old quarter of Albi, Laperouse home town.
The Museum is interesting and constantly being improved.
However they are quite unaware of your marvelous work on Victory and as the Museum is about the same size of one of Laperouse ships, there are possible opportunities…?

I look forward to your thoughts on the above.

Very best wishes to you and Katie,



We spoke of cabin interior colour schemes, in particular the use of natural wood  and white paint in Nelson’s cabins.

After, and you may have thought of this before, I remembered when working years ago on the model of George Anson‘s famous Centurion (the ship which captured the greatest treasure ever taken at sea) at the NMM Greenwich I was shown how they had put an endoscope (the sort of camera surgeons use) inside some of the models and been amazed to find many had the interiors painted in the styles of the time even though once the model was complete no one was likely to ever see the details again.

Maybe some new research here would help you with the cabin interiors of Victory?
As a trained photographer, if it helps, I’d be happy to help interpret the pictures obtained.
We might well find enough new information for hours and beers of discussion and to support a definitive point for the benefit of  HMS Victory!