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Born  February 25th1829 and was the Chief Constructor of the Royal Navy between 1872 and 1885.

He begun his career as a naval apprentice at Sheerness at the age of14.He won a scholarship to Portsmouth Naval School in 1848 at the age  of 19 and on qualifying in 1852 became a draughtsman  at Woolwich Dockyard .

He was invited  to join the Department of Naval Construction in 1854 to take part in the design of the first British  ironclad warship HMS Warrior

E.J.Reed became Chief Constructor in 1863 , he was married to Barnaby’s sister and he mde Barnaby head of staff. In this post he worked on the majority of British warships designed up to the time of HMS Monach.When Reed retired in 1872 Barnaby was elevated to the post of “ President  of the Council of Construction and Chief Naval Architect “ always referred to as “ The Chief Constructor “ , the title was changed in 1875 to “ Director of Naval Construction (DNC)”.Nathaniel Barnaby earned the C.B in 1876 and the K.C.B in 1885,the year in which he retired for reasons of ill-health .He lived to see the start of  the Dreadnaught era dying in 1915.


During his 13 years in office ,he was faced with possibly more and various changes in ship design than any Naval Constructor  before or since .He saw main armament changes from 12-inch muzzle-loading rifles to 16.25-inch breech loaders ,the introduction of secondary armament housed in central citadels; armament housed in barbettes and in turrets and the development of the torpedo.He also saw the end of rigging in battleships.



A portrait of Sir Edward James Reed ( 1830 to 1906 ) is in the National Portrait Gallery .

No. NPG D 10935 by William Henry Mote pub.1870 (not on display )

Macdonnel Collection