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An English woolwork picture of ships including H.M.S. Himalaya, 


An English woolwork picture of ships including H.M. Himalaya,


The woolwork picture depicts H.M. Troopship Himalaya and the torpedo boat Nos. 14 & 17 (named below on the gilt slip) steaming out of a river mouth and entering a wide bay.  In the background are snowcapped hills shrouded in clouds and along the shoreline of the bay are terraces of houses disappearing into the distance.  On the right are two larger houses depicted in more detail in the middle distance.  All within maple frame.

Dimensions: 32 inches x 21 3/4 inches


By the middle of the 19th century, companies and navies were looking at the various different methods of improving the speed of their ships including auxilary steam power, paddle and screw power.  In 1851 P & O put the first of the new screw steamers, the Shanghai into service and after that date few of the larger P & O vessels were built with paddles.

Ther P & O decision to adopt screw propulsion was soon followed by the construction of a really big ship, the 3,438-ton Himalaya, which was almost twice the size of any other ship in their fleet and the biggest steamer in the world*.  Her saloon was a hundred feet in length and could seat 170 passengers.  On trial she maintained 14 knots with engines alone and with full sail spread in addition to the engines she could achieve 16 1/2 knots.

But the Himalaya was before her time because she was too big for the traffic and was operated at a loss.  The Company were relieved of a financial embarrassment by the advent of the Crimean War:for the Himalaya proved the best of the chartered transports, and the P & O were only too pleased to accept an offer from the Admiralty for her purchase as a troopship.




24 May 1853 Launched by C.J. Mare and Co., Blackwell for P & O.  She had been laid down November 1851 to a paddle design but was completed with screw propulsion;


12 September register and ran trials;


23 May 1854: Sailed for Cork on government charter to embark troops of the 5th


Dragoons to the Crimea;


4 July 1854 sold to the Government for service as a troopship for £130,000.00.

TB 17.


This boat, along with TB 18, were built for Russia when the Russo-Turkish War and the subsequent war scare caused the Admiralty to purchase them.  They were described as 'notoriously skay and weak in construction", and had to be virtually rebuilt.  Their propeller shaft projected underneath the rudder, and their conning towers were aft.  They had the ususual two funnels abreast, typical of Yarrow boats of the time.   TB 17 was used for some spectacular "boom jumping" trials in 1887 at Malta, where she was finally sold in 1907.  The ship carried a complement of 15.  It had a displacement of 33 feet and dimensions of 86 feet x 11 feet x 4 1/2 feet.

TB 14.


This boat, built at Yarrow, was generally considered the best of the batch.  It was a good seaboat and was fast (she made 16 Knts at sea in 1886) but her accommodation was very bad.  Her displacement was 33 feet and her dimensions were 86 foot x 11 foot.  She was broken up in 1904.  She was commanded by Lieytenat George Purvis RN.  Her log survives and in