Catalogue description Records of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich

Details of Division within ADM
Reference: Division within ADM
Title: Records of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich

Records of the Royal Naval College Greenwich and of the Council on Naval Education. They are in ADM 203

Date: 1872-1977
Related material:

An entry book of certificates issued by the college at Portsmouth, 1816 to 1818, is in ADM 6

Separated material:

For records pre 1873 contact the National Museum of the Royal Navy

Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Royal Naval College, Greenwich, 1873-

Physical description: 1 series
Administrative / biographical background:

The first establishment in the Royal Navy for the formal training of volunteers was the Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth which originated in an order in Council of 21 February 1729, although the building was not completed until four years later. It was intended for boys of between 13 and 16 years, of noble or gentle birth.

In 1806 the academy was reformed as the Royal Naval College, still at Portsmouth. It closed in 1837 but was reopened the next year, not for the training of cadets but as a place of adult study for scientific and professional training of officers. In this form it was the forerunner of the Royal Naval College at Greenwich, whither it was transferred in 1873, to be housed in buildings formerly occupied by the Royal Greenwich Hospital.

The president of the college was also chairman of the Council on Naval Education. For twenty years following the closure of the college at Portsmouth all cadets (all volunteers as they were still officially known) were trained aboard ships at sea, as the bulk of them had always been.

This system was changed in 1857 when formal training of cadets began at Haslar Creek, Portsmouth in the Illustrious which was permanently moored there, having been used for the training of seamen boys since 1854.

In 1859 the cadets moved to the Britannia, also at Portsmouth, until she was shifted to Portland in 1862. She stayed in this unsatisfactory anchorage for one year only, finally arriving at Dartmouth Harbour in 1863, where she remained, being joined in 1864 by the Hindustan.

In 1903 the cadets were moved to buildings ashore, the year in which a junior college was opened at Osborne in the Isle of Wight. In 1921 the whole establishment was brought together at Dartmouth.

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