During the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, the technology employed by the British navy changed not just the material resources of the British navy but the culture and performance of the royal dockyards. This book examines the role of the Inspector General of Naval Works, an Admiralty office occupied by Samuel Bentham between 1796 and 1807, which initiated a range of changes in dockyard technology by the construction of experimental vessels, the introduction of non-recoil armament, the reconstruction of Portsmouth yard, and the introduction of steam-powered engines to pump water, drive mass-production machinery and reprocess copper sheathing. While primarily about the technology, this book also examines the complementary changes in the industrial culture of the dockyards. For it was that change in culture which permitted the dockyards at the end of the Wars to maintain a fleet of unprecedented size and engage in warfare both with the United States of America and with Napoleonic Europe.

chapter |19 pages


chapter 1|26 pages

State provision for naval technology

chapter 2|19 pages

Utilitarianism and Bentham’s beliefs

chapter 3|23 pages

Science and dockyard initiatives

chapter 4|33 pages

The construction of experimental vessels

chapter 5|27 pages

Armament and naval defence

chapter 6|15 pages

Dockyard operations and logistics

chapter 7|23 pages

Proposals for Portsmouth dockyard

chapter 8|32 pages

The challenges of civil engineering

chapter 9|23 pages

Mechanical engineering

chapter 10|23 pages

Machine tools and mass production

chapter 11|26 pages

The Metal Mill and metallurgy

chapter 12|26 pages

The reform of industrial culture

chapter 13|28 pages

Conflict and control