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Inspector of Shipwrights was  the first step in the salaried scale , .

The order of advancement was

1.     Working shipwright.

2.     Quarterman of shipwrights.

3.     Leading man of shipwrights.

4.     Inspector of shipwrights.

5.     Foreman of the Yard.

6.     Senior foreman of the yard.

7.     Assistant Master Shipwright.

8.     Master  Shipwright.

9.     Surveyor of the Navy.


The first three grades were hourly paid , the later six ,salaried . In grades 6 to 9 men would have been employed in designing warships  ,managing the Dockyards , and selecting timbers. An Acting Inspector would have been known as a Leading man until being placed on a salary list.

Since the Master Shipwright in a yard could not personally oversee every ship being built in the private yards in his vicinity ,he depend ed on his Overseers .They were ordinary shipwrights from one of the Royal Dockyards ,getting paid their regular shipwrights daily wage of 2s- 1d , plus 5s for overseeing . At the February 1764 meeting , the Naval Commissioners admitted  “ that it  was a great trust to repose in one man , the  overseeing ….. in private yards but as the necessity of the times required so many to be set there, they had no other Persons to confide in but the Quartermen and such like officers. “

The first book for shipwrights , “ The Shipbuilders Assistant “ was written by William Sutherland in 1711 . The book like Munro Murry’s later book on the same subject begins by introducing mathematics and geometry in a quaint manner. The next chapter goes on to show the need to study nature in designing the best form of a ship , the dolphin-like form for then shape below water, originally suggested by Matthew Baker. The third chapter deals with maritime architecture – the mechanical part of the building of ships.














Bert was a very keen and a  very helpful historian  . As a very senior Dockyard Foreman ,a post equilavalent,  to say a Managing Director of a very large Business ,he had access to all Naval Dockyard records and  after his retirement  was allowed access  to all Naval Establishments for his research . Most of his research he sent to The Maritime Museum who were very grateful  for Bert’s interest ,he spent a lot of time there with his research. 

He also researched his Family Tree , the Ratcliff family and many Queenborough Families. And he helped many people sort out their Family Tree problems.


David  G Penney B.S.,  M.S. , Ph.D,. W.H.O.

Professor of Physiology, Director of Surgical Research Providence Hospital , MI.,

 Wayne State University, Detroit MI. etc.