HMS Unicorn (1824)
HMS Unicorn is a surviving sailing frigate of the successful Leda class, although the original design had been modified by the time that the Unicorn was built, to incorporate a circular stern and "small-timber" system of construction. Listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, Unicorn is now a museum ship in Dundee, United Kingdom. HMS Unicorn was built in peacetime at Chatham Dockyard and launched in 1824. A superstructure was built over her main deck and she was laid up "in ordinary", serving as a hulk and a depot ship for most of the next 140 years, her lack of active duty left her timbers well preserved, in the 1960s steps were initiated to convert her to a museum ship. Though steps were taken to restore Unicorn to a similar condition as her sister ship HMS Trincomalee, this plan has been changed; the ship was found to be the only example of a wooden frigate of her type existing in ordinary, as a result, the intention is now to preserve her in her current condition. Unicorn was never rigged, only went to sea for the voyage from Chatham to Dundee, during which she was under tow.
The roof that covers her upper deck is thought to have never been replaced. Princess Anne is patron of the Unicorn Preservation Society. David Lyon and Rif Winfield, The Sail and Steam Navy List: All the Ships of the Royal Navy 1815-1889. Chatham Publishing. ISBN 1-86176-032-9. HMS Unicorn - official site HMS Unicorn - webpage, National Historic Ships The "Leda"-class frigate
1906 Dundee fire
In July 1906, the city of Dundee was the site of a large fire caused by the ignition of a bonded warehouse. The fire, which burned for 12 hours, has been described as the most destructive fire in the history of Dundee; the fire was described by an eyewitness as sending "rivers of burning whisky" through the city. James Watson and Co. were wholesale whisky merchants whose premises occupied a large site in Dundee on the corner of Trades Lane and Seagate. In 1906 about 300 people were employed by the firm. Watson and Co. were based at 97 Seagate with Customs Bond No. 4 next door at 99 Seagate. An employee of James Watson & Co. was passing the building on the evening of 19 July 1906 when he noticed smoke emerging from its roof. The building was soon ablaze and large vats of whisky caught fire and exploded, leading to flaming alcohol raining down on surrounding streets and buildings; the fire spread to other buildings. The premises of another whisky merchant in nearby Candle Lane were destroyed. So bad was the inferno.
The fire attracted thousands of spectators who gathered to watch the blaze and the sight of'rivers of blue-flamed whiskey flowing into street drains'. At the time of the fire it was estimated; the following year's Dundee Directory reported that the fire had'desolated a large portion of the neighbourhood' around Seagate, Trades Lane and Candle Lane, that as a result a large area for building operations had opened up. New bonds designed by David Baxter are now listed buildings. Whisky blending at Watson's Bond ceased in 1981 and the bonds closed in 1987
Stirling is a city in central Scotland, 26 miles north-east of Glasgow and 37 miles north-west of the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. The market town, surrounded by rich farmland, grew up connecting the royal citadel, the medieval old town with its merchants and tradesmen, the bridge and the port. Located on the River Forth, Stirling is the administrative centre for the Stirling council area, is traditionally the county town of Stirlingshire. Proverbially it is the strategically important "Gateway to the Highlands", it has been said that "Stirling, like a huge brooch clasps Highlands and Lowlands together". "he who holds Stirling, holds Scotland" is quoted. Stirling's key position as the lowest bridging point of the River Forth before it broadens towards the Firth of Forth, made it a focal point for travel north or south; when Stirling was temporarily under Anglo-Saxon sway, according to a 9th-century legend, it was attacked by Danish invaders. The sound of a wolf roused a sentry, who alerted his garrison, which forced a Viking retreat.
This led to the wolf being adopted as a symbol of the town. The area is today known as Wolfcraig. Today the wolf appears with a goshawk on the council's coat of arms along with the chosen motto: "Steadfast as the Rock". Once the capital of Scotland, Stirling is visually dominated by Stirling Castle. Stirling has a medieval parish church, the Church of the Holy Rude, where, on 29 July 1567, the infant James VI was anointed King of Scots by the Bishop of Orkney with the service concluding after a sermon by John Knox; the poet King grew up in Stirling. He was also crowned King of England and Ireland on 25 July 1603, bringing closer the countries of the United Kingdom. Modern Stirling is a centre for local government, higher education, tourism and industry; the mid-2012 census estimate for the population of the city is 36,440. One of the principal royal strongholds of the Kingdom of Scotland, Stirling was created a royal burgh by King David I in 1130. In 2002, as part of Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee, Stirling was granted city status.
The origin of the name Stirling is uncertain, but folk etymology suggests that it originates in either a Scots or Gaelic term meaning the place of battle, struggle or strife. Other sources suggest that it originates in a Brythonic name meaning "dwelling place of Melyn", with the first element being connected to Middle Welsh ystre-, "a dwelling"; the name may have been a hydronym, connected to Brittonic *lïnn, "lake, pool". It is supposed that Stirling is the fortress of Iuddeu or Urbs Giudi where Oswiu of Northumbria was besieged by Penda of Mercia in 655, as recorded in Bede and contemporary annals. A stone cist, found in Coneypark Nursery in 1879, is Stirling's oldest catalogued artefact. Bones from the cist were radiocarbon dated and found to be over four millennia old, originating within the date range 2152 to 2021 BC. Nicknamed Torbrex Tam, the man, whose bones were discovered by workmen, died while still in his twenties. Other Bronze Age finds near the city come from the area around Cambusbarron.
It had been thought that the Randolphfield standing stones were more than 3000 years old but recent radiocarbon dating suggests they may date from the time of Bruce. The earliest known structures on Gillies Hill were built by Iron Age people over 2000 years ago. Two structures are known: what is called Wallstale Dun on the southern end of Touchadam Craig, Gillies Hill fort on the northwest end of the craig. South of the city, the King's Park prehistoric carvings can still be found. Whether the ancient Maeatae or Manaw Gododdin tribes settled in Stirling is not clear; the castle rock has been strategically significant since at least the Roman occupation of Britain, due to its defensible crag and tail hill: the bedrock on which Stirling Castle was built. However, if the Romans were on the current castle site they didn't leave more than a coin or two. Stirling enjoys a unique position on the border between the Lowlands and Highlands, its other notable geographic feature is its proximity to the lowest site of subjugation of the River Forth.
Control of the bridge brought military advantage in times of unrest and. Unsurprisingly excise men were installed in a covered booth in the centre of the bridge to collect tax from any entering the royal burgh with goods. Stirling remained the river's lowest reliable crossing point until the construction of the Alloa Swing Bridge between Throsk and Alloa in 1885; the city has two Latin mottoes, which appeared on the earliest burgh seal of which an impression of 1296 is on record. The first alludes to the story as recorded by Boece who relates that in 855 Scotland was invaded by two Northumbrian princes and Ella, they united their forces with the Cumbrian Britons. Having secured Stirling castle, they built the first stone bridge over the ForthOn the top they raised a crucifix with the inscription: "Anglos, a Scotis separat, crux ista remotis. Bellenden translated this loosely as "I am free marche, as passengers may ken, To Scottis, to Britonis, to Inglismen." It may be the stone cross was a tripoint for the three kingdom's marches.
"Angles and Scots here demarked, By this cross kept apart. Brits and Sco
Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India. Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. Both the Duke and the King died in 1820, Victoria was raised under close supervision by her mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, she inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no surviving legitimate children. The United Kingdom was an established constitutional monarchy, in which the sovereign held little direct political power. Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments. Victoria married her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840, their nine children married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the sobriquet "the grandmother of Europe". After Albert's death in 1861, Victoria avoided public appearances.
As a result of her seclusion, republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign, her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration, her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than that of any of her predecessors and is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, political and military change within the United Kingdom, was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire, she was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover. Her son and successor, Edward VII, initiated the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the line of his father. Victoria's father was Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of the reigning King of the United Kingdom, George III; until 1817, Edward's niece, Princess Charlotte of Wales, was the only legitimate grandchild of George III. Her death in 1817 precipitated a succession crisis that brought pressure on the Duke of Kent and his unmarried brothers to marry and have children.
In 1818 he married Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, a widowed German princess with two children—Carl and Feodora —by her first marriage to the Prince of Leiningen. Her brother Leopold was Princess Charlotte's widower; the Duke and Duchess of Kent's only child, was born at 4.15 a.m. on 24 May 1819 at Kensington Palace in London. Victoria was christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Manners-Sutton, on 24 June 1819 in the Cupola Room at Kensington Palace, she was baptised Alexandrina after one of her godparents, Emperor Alexander I of Russia, Victoria, after her mother. Additional names proposed by her parents—Georgina and Augusta—were dropped on the instructions of Kent's eldest brother, the Prince Regent. At birth, Victoria was fifth in the line of succession after the four eldest sons of George III: George, the Prince Regent; the Prince Regent had no surviving children, the Duke of York had no children. The Duke of Clarence and the Duke of Kent married on the same day in 1818, but both of Clarence's legitimate daughters died as infants.
The first of these was Princess Charlotte, born and died on 27 March 1819, two months before Victoria was born. Victoria's father died in January 1820. A week her grandfather died and was succeeded by his eldest son as George IV. Victoria was third in line to the throne after York and Clarence. Clarence's second daughter was Princess Elizabeth of Clarence who lived for twelve weeks from 10 December 1820 to 4 March 1821 and, while Elizabeth lived, Victoria was fourth in line; the Duke of York died in 1827. When George IV died in 1830, he was succeeded by his next surviving brother, Clarence, as William IV, Victoria became heir presumptive; the Regency Act 1830 made special provision for Victoria's mother to act as regent in case William died while Victoria was still a minor. King William distrusted the Duchess's capacity to be regent, in 1836 he declared in her presence that he wanted to live until Victoria's 18th birthday, so that a regency could be avoided. Victoria described her childhood as "rather melancholy".
Her mother was protective, Victoria was raised isolated from other children under the so-called "Kensington System", an elaborate set of rules and protocols devised by the Duchess and her ambitious and domineering comptroller, Sir John Conroy, rumoured to be the Duchess's lover. The system prevented the princess from meeting people whom her mother and Conroy deemed undesirable, was designed to render her weak and dependent upon them; the Duchess avoided the court because she was scandalised by the presence of King William's illegitimate children. Victoria shared a bedroom with her mother every night, studied with private tutors to a regular timetable, spent her play-hours with her dolls and her King Charles Spaniel, Dash, her lessons included French, German and Latin, but she spoke only English at home. In 1830, the Duchess of Kent and Conroy took Victoria across the centre of England to visit the Malvern Hills, stopping at towns and great country houses along the way. Similar journeys to oth
RRS Discovery is a barque-rigged auxiliary steamship built for Antarctic research, launched in 1901. She was the last traditional wooden three-masted ship, its first mission was the British National Antarctic Expedition, carrying Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton on their first, successful, journey to the Antarctic, known as the Discovery Expedition. After service as a merchant ship before and during the First World War, Discovery was taken into the service of the British government in 1923 to carry out scientific research in the Southern Ocean, becoming the first Royal Research Ship; the ship undertook a two-year expedition - the Discovery Investigations - recording valuable information on the oceans, marine life and being the first scientific investigation into whale populations. From 1929 to 1931 Discovery served as the base for the British Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition under Douglas Mawson, a major scientific and territorial quest in what is now the Australian Antarctic Territory.
On her return from the BANZARE, Discovery was moored in London as a static training ship and visitor attraction until 1979 when she was placed in the care of the Maritime Trust as a museum ship. After an extensive restoration Discovery is now the centrepiece of a visitor attraction in the city where she was built, Dundee, she is one of only two surviving expedition ships from the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, the other being the Norwegian ship Fram. With increasing scientific and political attention being turned to the uncharted continent of Antarctica during the late 19th century, there were numerous proposals for a British-mounted expedition to the continent; the Royal Navy had been something of a pioneer with Antarctic exploration, mounting the Ross expedition in 1839 which discovered the Ross Ice Shelf. Attention had turned northward to the Arctic and attempts to reach the North Pole; the RN mounted the British Arctic Expedition in 1874. Towards the turn of the century there was increasing pressure for a similar expedition to the southern polar region.
The British government and the Admiralty stopped short of organising a government expedition but agreed to fund a project led by the two main interested scientific organisations, the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Society. The Admiralty would provide practical support in designing and crewing a purpose-built ship for the expedition, while the ship itself would be owned by the RGS. Early discussions on building a dedicated polar exploration ship considered replicating Fridtjof Nansen's ship Fram but that vessel was designed for working through the pack ice of the Arctic, while the British ship would have to cross thousands of miles of open ocean before reaching the Antarctic so a more conventional design was chosen. In charge of her overall design was W. E. Smith, one of the senior naval architects at the Admiralty, while the ship's engine and other machinery were designed by Fleet Engineer Philip Marrack; the ship borrowed many aspects of her design from the Bloodhound, a Dundee-built whaling ship taken into Royal Navy service as HMS Discovery for the Arctic Expedition.
By 1900 few yards in the United Kingdom had the capability to build wooden ships of the size needed - only two shipbuilders submitted bids for the contract - but it was deemed essential that the ship be made from wood, both for strength and ease of repair and to reduce the magnetic interference from a steel hull that would allow the most accurate navigation and surveying. The main compass was mounted amidships and there were to be no steel or iron fittings within 30 feet of this point - to the extent that the original cushions for the wardroom were changed when it was found they included steel-backed buttons. For the same reason the boilers and engine were mounted towards the stern of the ship, a feature which provided maximum space for equipment and provisions. A special laboratory for taking magnetic field measurements was provided below the bridge; the ship was built in Norway by Framnæs, the yard which would build the Endurance but it was thought that the British government's money should be spent at a British yard and the Discovery was built by the Dundee Shipbuilders Company, which made smaller vessels such as trawlers and steam yachts.
The yard was owned by Alexander Stephen and Sons and had built the Terra Nova in 1884. The committee responsible for the ship's construction offered a separate tender for her boilers and auxiliary machinery in an effort to reduce costs, but Dundee Shipbuilders won that contract; the ship cost £34,050 to build, plus another £10,322 to be fitted with engines and machinery and more than £6000 for other equipment and fittings: The total cost for the Discovery was £51,000, equivalent to £4.1m in modern currency. Much of the detail work of fitting out the ship's interior spaces, scientific equipment and provisions was overseen directly by Scott and the ship's newly-appointed engineer Reginald Skelton. Discovery was fitted with a 450-horsepower coal-fired triple expansion steam engine, but had to rely on sail because the coal bunkers did not have sufficient capacity to take the ship on long voyages. At her economical cruising speed of 6 knots she only carried enough coal for 7700 miles of steaming.
At 8 knots she could steam only 5100 miles. The ship was seen as a sailing vessel with auxiliary steam propulsion - when first registered in 1900 Discovery was classified as a sailing ship, her legal owners were the Royal Geogra
Tay Bridge disaster
During a violent storm on Sunday 28 December 1879, the first Tay Rail Bridge collapsed as a train from Wormit to Dundee passed over it, killing all aboard. The bridge—designed by Sir Thomas Bouch—used lattice girders supported by iron piers, with cast iron columns and wrought iron cross-bracing; the piers were narrower and their cross-bracing was less extensive and robust than on previous similar designs by Bouch. Bouch had sought expert advice on wind loading when designing a proposed rail bridge over the Firth of Forth. There were other flaws in detailed design, in maintenance, in quality control of castings, all of which were, at least in part, Bouch's responsibility. Bouch died within the year. Future British bridge designs had to allow for wind loadings of up to 56 pounds per square foot. Bouch's design for the Forth Bridge was not used. Construction began in 1871 of a bridge to be supported by brick piers resting on bedrock. Trial borings had shown the bedrock to lie at no great depth under the river.
At either end of the bridge, the bridge girders were deck trusses, the tops of which were level with the pier tops, with the single track railway running on top. However, in the centre section of the bridge the bridge girders ran as through trusses above the pier tops in order to give the required clearance to allow passage of sailing ships to Perth; the bedrock lay much deeper than the trial borings had shown, Bouch had to redesign the bridge, with fewer piers and correspondingly longer span girders. The pier foundations were now constructed by sinking brick-lined wrought-iron caissons onto the riverbed, filling these with concrete. To reduce the weight these had to support, Bouch used open-lattice iron skeleton piers: each pier had multiple cast-iron columns taking the weight of the bridging girders. Wrought iron horizontal braces and diagonal tiebars linked the columns in each pier to provide rigidity and stability; the basic concept was well known, but for the Tay Bridge, the pier dimensions were constrained by the caisson.
For the higher portion of the bridge, there were 13 girder spans. In order to accommodate thermal expansion, at only 3 of their 14 piers was there a fixed connection from the pier to the girders. There were therefore 3 divisions of linked high girder spans, the spans in each division being structurally connected to each other, but not to neighbouring spans in other divisions; the southern and central divisions were nearly level, but the northern division descended towards Dundee at gradients of up to 1 in 73. The bridge was built by Hopkin Gilkes and Company, a Middlesbrough company which had worked with Bouch on iron viaducts. Gilkes, having first intended to produce all ironwork on Teesside, used a foundry at Wormit to produce the cast-iron components, to carry out limited post-casting machining. Gilkes were in some financial difficulty. Bouch's brother had been a director of Gilkes, on his death in January 1876, Bouch had inherited Gilkes shares valued at £35,000 but owed for a guarantee of £100,000 of Gilkes borrowings and been unable to extricate himself.
The change in design increased cost and necessitated delay, intensified after two of the high girders fell when being lifted into place in February 1877. The first engine crossed the bridge in September, 1877. A Board of Trade inspection was conducted over three days of good weather in February 1878; the inspection report noted: When again visiting the spot I should wish, if possible, to have an opportunity of observing the effects of high wind when a train of carriages is running over the bridge. The bridge was opened for passenger services on 1 June 1878. Bouch was knighted in June 1879. On the evening of Sunday 28 December 1879, a violent storm was blowing at right angles to the bridge. Witnesses said the storm was as bad as any they had seen in the 20–30 years they had lived in the area; the wind speed was measured at Glasgow – 71 mph – and Aberdeen, but not at Dundee. Higher windspeeds were recorded over shorter intervals, but at the inquiry an expert witness warned of their unreliability, declined to estimate conditions at Dundee from readings taken elsewhere.
One modern interpretation of available information suggests. Usage of the bridge was restricted to one train at a time by a signalling block system using a baton as a token. At 7:13 p.m. a train from the south (consisting of a 4-4-0 locomotive, its tender, five passenger carriages, a luggage van slowed to pick up the baton from the signal cabin at the south end of the bridge headed out onto the bridge, picking up speed. The signalman turned away to log this and tended the cabin fire, but a friend present in the cabin watched the train: when it got about 200 yards from the cabin he saw sparks flying from the wheels on the east side, he had seen this on the previous train. During the inquiry, John Black testified that the wind was pushing the wheel flanges into contact with the running rail. Black explained that the guard rails protecting against derailment were higher than and inboard of the running rails; this arrangement would catch the good wheel where derailment was by disintegration of a wheel, a real risk befo
The Tay Whale, known locally as the Monster, was a humpback whale that swam into the Firth of Tay of eastern Scotland in 1883. It was harpooned in a hunt, but escaped, was found floating dead off Stonehaven a week later, it was towed into Dundee by a showman, John Woods, exhibited on a train tour of Scotland and England. The Regius Professor of Anatomy at Aberdeen University, John Struthers dissected the whale, much of the time in public with a military band playing in the background, organised by Woods; the decomposing whale made Woods a great deal of money, Struthers famous. The doggerel poet William McGonagall wrote an infamously bad poem about the events. In December 1883, a humpback whale appeared in the Firth of Tay off the shore of Dundee, at that time Scotland's major whaling port, attracted much local interest; the whalers hunted in the Arctic, but as the whaling boats were in harbour for the winter, some of the whalers decided to hunt this animal in their own waters. After several failed attempts, they harpooned the humpback on 31 December 1883.
It was a strong male, it towed two rowing boats and two steamboats as far as Montrose and to the Firth of Forth. After a struggle that lasted all night, the harpoon lines broke and the whale escaped. A week the whale was found dead, floating out at sea, it was dragged onto the beach. John Struthers, the Regius professor of Anatomy at Aberdeen visited the carcass, recording it as 40 feet long with flukes measuring 11 feet 4 inches. A local entrepreneur, John Woods, had it transported to his yard in Dundee. On the first Sunday that it was there, 12,000 people paid to see it; the local newspaper, the Dundee Courier, published at least 21 stories on the Tay Whale between 12 November 1883 and 11 January 1884. The headlines included: Appearance of a Whale in the River - 12 November Whale Hunting in the Tay - 16 November Return of the Whale to the Tay - 21 November On the Trail of the Whale - 7 December Christmas Greeting from the Whale - 25 December The Whale Interviewed by his Mother on his Exploits in the River Tay - 27 December The Whale Hunt in the Tay.
Exciting Chase - 1 January The Whale Hunt in the Tay. Escape of the Whale - 2 January The Runaway Whale - 4 January The Tay Whale Found Dead - 8 January The Whale's Corpus - 9 January The Recovered Whale at Stonehaven. Sale of the Monster to a Dundee Man - 11 January Finally on 25 January 1884, when the whale was too badly decomposed for further public exhibition, Struthers was allowed to come and dissect the famous specimen, he was well used to working on stinking carcasses: his dissecting room was reputed to stink "like the deck of a Greenland whaler". He had two assistants. There were snow showers, but Struthers was able to remove much of the skeleton before Woods had the flesh embalmed. On 7 August 1884 Struthers was able to remove the skull and the rest of the skeleton. Struthers wrote seven anatomy articles over the next decade on the whale, published a complete monograph on it in 1889, entitled Memoir on the Anatomy of the Humpback Whale, Megaptera Longimana. In 2011, the whale's skeleton was displayed in the McManus Galleries in Dundee.
Struthers became popularly famous for his dissection of his largest specimen. It was one of a wide range of specimens of many species that he energetically collected to form a museum of zoology, to illustrate Darwin's theories; the whale became so famous that the doggerel poet William Topaz McGonagall wrote a notably bad poem, "The Famous Tay Whale", about it. Two of the verses run: And my opinion is that God sent the whale in time of need,No matter what other people may think or what is their creed. So Mr. John Wood has bought it for two hundred and twenty-six pound,And has brought it to Dundee all safe and all sound; this was not the only piece of doggerel verse about the whale, as a poet signing himself "Spectator" published "The Whale Interviewed by his Mother on his Exploits in the River Tay" in the Dundee Courier, with verses such as: Oh! Why went you there, my son, my son,Within the range of their banging gun?"Fear not, mother, ’twas only a lark,I reckoned they would shoot wide of the mark."
List of famous whales Gorman, Martyn. "The Zoology of Professor Struthers". Aberdeen: University of Aberdeen. Retrieved 10 December 2014. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. John Struthers.. Oxford Biography Index Number 101026680. Struthers, John. "On the bones and muscles of the rudimentary hind limbs of the Greenland Right Whale". Journal of Anatomical Physiology. 15: 141–321. PMC 1310010. PMID 17231384. Struthers, John. Memoir on the Anatomy of the Humpback Whale, Megaptera Longimana. Edinburgh: Maclachlan. Retrieved 10 December 2014. At Internet Archive Waterston, S. W. & Hutchison, J. D.. "Sir John Struthers MD FRCS Edin LLD Glas: anatomist and pioneer in medical education". The Surgeon. 2. Archived from the original on 9 December 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014. University of Aberdeen: Connecting Collections: Sir John Struthers McGonagall Online: The Tale of a Whale; the story of the Tay Whale told in contemporary