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"Shipbuilding Napoleonic Wars 1793-1815" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2020 8:22 p.m. PST

"Dover shipbuilding can be traced back to the Bronze Age (2100BC-700BC) – see Shipbuilding Part I. The demand for ships produced in the town had oscillated over the centuries reaching new heights in the 18th century. As the century progressed, the town had seen the sailing ships built on its beaches earning the accolade the ‘Pride of Europe' see Shipbuilding part II. They were mainly built out of locally grown oak, Quercus Robur, in sustained forests that surrounded the town at Alkham, Elham, Lydden, Lyminge, Temple Ewell and Whitfield. The ships were ordered and bought by passage and cargo operators as well as merchants and could be easily adapted as fighting machines in times of hostilities. At such times, regardless that the Royal dockyards of Portsmouth (founded 1496) Woolwich (founded 1513) and Chatham (founded 1547) provided much of the Royal Navy needs, they too bought Dover built ships. Particularly Brigs, a two masted vessel with square sails on each mast for power, and fore-and-aft staysails for manoeuvrability along with jibs and a spanker.

On 1 February 1793, France declared war on Britain and the Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815) began and this brought increased prosperity to Dover. Corn mills supplied flour for the troops billeted in the town and naval ships in the harbour, the number and variety of retail shops along with family industries increased. Even Dover's dark industry of smuggling continued to thrive adding to the town's wealth and the amount of black market goods that were sold by street sellers and available in the town's shops!

However the Wars put a great deal of strain on the British economy as the country's defence forces and the constant attacks on both imports and exports had the effect of increasing prices. Between 1793 and 1796, the increase in the government's deficit abroad amounted to £36,439,269.00 GBP with excise and customs duties its main source of income. This was of a similar magnitude to the deficit that had started the chain of events culminating in the French Revolution (1789-1799). Because of the influx of both the military and the naval forces into the town, Dover's economy boomed but this was not reflected elsewhere in the country. Adding to Dover's wealth, the Royal Navy ordered new ships and hired existing ships as well as issuing Letters of Marque were issued to existing ship owners giving a rise to the demand for more ships to undertake privateering…"
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