Sailing the British Empire : The Voyages of The Clarence, 1858-73

Joseph Watson Aboard Green's Vessels

Besides leading the Clarence through rough seas and high winds, Joseph Watson spent much of his career sailing on other celebrated vessels in Green's fleet.  These ships all go by the name of "Blackwall Frigates" and follow a similar design.  These ships followed similar routes between London and South and East Asia.

The Seringapatam :
The first of the Blackwall frigates, built by Richard Green in 1837.  While Watson did not captain this vessel, he most likely held the position of a higher ranking mate.  The ship is named after a battle that occurred on May 4, 1799 as a result of the threat posed to Britain's influence in India by Tipu Sultan of Mysore.  Tipu's capital Seringapatam was attacked by British forces along with the Madras and Bombay armies.  The battle only lasted for two hours until the Tipu's family had surrendered and Tipu Sultan's lifeless body was found amongst the fallen.  As a result of Britain's victory, the East India Company gained control over Mysore.  The figurehead seen on the bow of the The Seringapatam represents Tipu Sultan.

The Agincourt:
Built in the Blackwall yard in 1841, and modeled after The Seringapatam.  The Agincourt was built in a pair, with its "sister ship", The Southhampton, being sold to Money Wigram.  This ship was captained by George Tickell.  No image of The Agincourt could be found, however notes from a midshipman's log were found in Basil Lubbock's The Blackwall Frigates. The voyage was to Melbourne in 1861-62. The midshipman is describing some of the passengers aboard the ship.  This journal, unlike the log written by Joseph Watson, is more of a casual recording most likely used as a personal form of expression.
The Owen Glendower:
A full hull cargo ship, 852 tons, and built in the Blackwall yard in 1839. The vessel, named for the medieval Welsh hero, and was built with "sisters" Vernon and Earl of Hardwick.  A model of The Owen Glendower received a gold medal at the Great Exhibition of 1851, for being "a model of the finest merchant vessels designed and built by them for the East India trade."  Watson captained The Owen Glendower for several voyages, and in 1857 he sailed the ship to India from London.  The vessel was built with the intention of sailing between London and Madras.  The Owen Glendower was sold in 1860, and five years later was lost at sea.
The Prince of Wales:
This ship was built in 1842, along with the sister ship Queen.   These two ships were considered some of the best armed merchant ships present.   The style of The Prince of Wales was seen as a return to the splendor of older East Indiamen, but without the lack of efficiency.  Watson captained the ship, and often commanded runs from London to Melbourne, Australia.

The Shannon: 
This ship was built in May 1862 in Blackwall's yard.  Watson also captained this 1200 ton vessel, sailing between London and India on several voyages.  The Shannon was mostly wood, with iron beams.  Green sold The Shannon in May 1883 to J.C. Ellis of Sydney. 

Lubbock, Basil. The Blackwall Frigates. Glasgow: J. Brown & Son, 1922. Print.

"Tipu- Biography Mysore History." The Tiger and The Thistle. SCRAN, n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2015.

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Green Blackwall Collection.

-Ana Chisholm, Penn Class of 2019

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