Here we can see the upper gun deck of HMS Victory (underneath her 'little boats') as it appeared in circa 1794:
Along both sides, a single row of 12-pounder cannons was present, together with the gun crews that operated them. The gun crews themselves, would both 'live and sleep' in the spaces between the cannons (especially of lower gun decks). The other gun decks were similar (in terms of layout) - although the middle gun deck was equipped with 24-pounder cannons, and the lower gun deck was equipped with 32-pounder cannons. The heavier calibre cannons were located closer to the waterline - to improve the stability of HMS Victory. This was a lesson 'learned the hard way' as ships of the line that were 'too top heavy' were notoriously unstable (such as the Mary Rose). In any case, the armament of HMS Victory 'tended to vary' both depending upon the century and 'which admiral/captain' was in command. For example, some admirals preferred the 42-pounder cannon to the 32-pounder cannon. Whilst the 42-pounder cannon featured more 'hitting power', it also featured a slower 'loading time' - because the cannonball weighed more, and was 'harder to lift' for the gun crews. The material used to construct the cannons also varied 'depending upon the century' - with early cannons being made of brass, and later cannons being made of iron (which were also equipped with 'more modern' firing mechanisms).
Here we can see some of the quarterdeck of HMS Victory, specifically the 'steering wheel area' in circa 1794:
This was an important area of HMS Victory, as it was the primary position from which HMS Victory was steered. The steering wheel, would be operated by several men - with more men 'being required' in stormy seas. The steering wheel's central-shaft had a rope 'wrapped around it' with both ends passing through into the decks beneath. 'Rope and Pulley plus Tiller' technology then converted the turning of the steering wheel, into the 'turning of the rudder' (in later generation warships, gears are used for this conversion). The 'windowed rooms' located on the left and right of the steering wheel are the 'coach houses' - which were used by senior officers (as working spaces). The area located behind the steering wheel is the captain's dining cabin (which was located just forward of his day cabin). Above the steering wheel's roof, is a 'hanging line' of small firefighting buckets - as fire was a 'constant worry' for any sailor aboard 'a wooden' ship of the line (especially at night, when oil lanterns were used as a light source). Three of HMS Victory's 12-pounder cannons are also visible (two lower-left and one middle-right) which being located on the quarterdeck - would have been exposed to the elements.
Here we can see the wooden 'stern galleys' of HMS Victory, as they appeared 'mostly' in circa 1794:
This area of HMS Victory represented the 'height of sculpture' for the days (and probably today as well!). It was standard practice for ships of the line, to be decorated astern - although only 'first rates' (such as HMS Victory) would have taken it 'to these levels'. The lowermost windows are located at the stern of the wardroom (where officers would eat). The middlemost windows are located at the stern of the admiral's day cabin (where 'his strategy' was usually planned). The uppermost windows are located at the stern of the captain's day cabin (directly above the admirals). As the admiral was a 'higher rank' than the captain, this meant that his cabins would be 'more stable' whilst at sea (owing to a lower 'centre of gravity'). Whilst this was true for ships of the line, this arrangement appears to have been reversed in later warships (with the admiral's cabins 'higher up'). To the left of the galleys (in this view) can be found the cannons of HMS Victory: the lowermost are 32-pounders, the middlemost are 24-pounders and the uppermost (including those on the quarterdeck) are 12-pounders.
| Nebula Hawk
HMS Warrior 1860 - Iron Hull Form and Admirals Day Cabin
HMS Warrior is considered to be, an important milestone, in terms of the development of modern warships - as Warrior featured the iron of the then-to-be future, whilst retaining her Victorian roots:
Warrior's iron hull form, was designed to repel the cannon balls, of an enemy fleet. This was achieved, through the concept of an armoured citadel - as Warrior's thirty-eight 68-pounder guns/cannons, were protected behind an 'iron wall', that was 4.5 inches thick. This meant, that Warrior could engage, enemy ships of the line (who at this time, featured: wooden hull forms, and usually 32-pounder guns/cannons), without fear of her own armoured belt, being penetrated. This gave the Royal Navy, an undeniable advantage, when it came to naval conflict - as warships would sit in a line, firing at each other, and the warships made of wood, would sink first! In any case, Warrior retained the Admiral's Day/Night Cabin (at her stern), as was installed on HMS Victory (though Warrior's, was on a less grander scale). This featured: decorated windows, with golden patterns in the wood/iron, bordered with white - to reflect the rank of the most important officer on the warship, the Admiral (or Captain).