FRIGATE DEVELOPMENT & THE LEDA CLASS

Lyon, David            The Sailing Navy List (1993, Conway Maritime Press) All the Ships of the Royal Navy – Built, Purchased and Captured – 16889-1860. The result of a lifetime’s work on the Admiralty Collection of Draughts in the National Maritime Museum, and the most comprehensive list of the ships and classes in the Royal Navy in the age of sail.

Gardiner, Robert            Frigates of the Napoleonic Wars (2000, Chatham Publishing) Thorough history of the development and construction of the sailing navy’s most charismatic ship type at the height of its development. The period covered officially stops just short of Unicorn but the huge majority of the text is completely relevant.

Lambert, Andrew            “Trincomalee” The Last of Nelson’s Frigates (2003, Chatham Publishing).  The story of HMS Trincomalee, the only other Leda class frigate to have survived.  Trincomalee was built in Bombay to an earlier version of the design and is now preserved in Hartlepool. Publisher’s Synopsis: Trincomalee belonged to a large class of 38-gun Fifth Rates that have a strong claim to being the Royal Navy’s standard frigate type for the whole of the Napoleonic Wars. Following the success of the Shannon against the Chesapeake in 1813, the class was chosen as the post-war mass-production design. Intended to replace large numbers of worn-out war-built frigates, this programme emphasised quality of construction for longevity, and included a number built of teak at Bombay in India. One of these was Trincomalee, launched in 1817. This book reflects the multiple significance of the ship – its place in the development of the frigate, the importance of the teak building programme in India, its role in the changing world of the nineteenth-century Royal Navy, and even its last contribution as a training vessel for young seamen. Because the teak hull was considered resistant to extremes of climate, most of the ship’s active life was spent on American stations – the West Indies, Newfoundland, and later the north Pacific and Arctic – combining imperial policing duties with oceanography and exploration. The resilience of teak was further proved by a long period of harbour service, and even after a century of relative neglect the hull was found worthy of an immensely costly restoration. The work carried out on the ship must be one of the most thorough, historically accurate, and painstaking projects of its kind, and is an exemplary lesson to wooden ship preservation movements throughout the world. Individual chapters cover each aspect of this varied career, concluding with a look at the way the ship is now being used to bring alive the details of naval life in the age of sail.