Steam Power and Sea Power

Steam Power and Sea Power : Coal, the Royal Navy, and the British Empire, c. 1870-1914

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Description

This book examines how the expansion of a steam-powered Royal Navy from the second half of the nineteenth century had wider ramifications across the British Empire. In particular, it considers how steam propulsion made vessels utterly dependent on a particular resource - coal - and its distribution around the world. In doing so, it shows that the `coal question' was central to imperial defence and the protection of trade, requiring the creation of infrastructures that spanned the globe. This infrastructure required careful management, and the processes involved show the development of bureaucracy and the reliance on the `contractor state' to ensure this was both robust and able to allow swift mobilisation in war. The requirement to stop regularly at foreign stations also brought men of the Royal navy into contact with local coal heavers, as well as indigenous populations and landscapes. These encounters and their dissemination are crucial to our understanding of imperial relationships and imaginations at the height of the imperial age.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 289 pages
  • 148 x 210 x 25.4mm | 5,005g
  • Basingstoke, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1st ed. 2018
  • 3 Tables, color; 5 Illustrations, color; 22 Illustrations, black and white; XVI, 289 p. 27 illus., 5 illus. in color.
  • 1137576413
  • 9781137576415
  • 1,373,217

Back cover copy

This book examines how the expansion of a steam-powered Royal Navy from the second half of the nineteenth century had wider ramifications across the British Empire. In particular, it considers how steam propulsion made vessels utterly dependent on a particular resource - coal - and its distribution around the world. In doing so, it shows that the 'coal question' was central to imperial defence and the protection of trade, requiring the creation of infrastructures that spanned the globe. This infrastructure required careful management, and the processes involved show the development of bureaucracy and the reliance on the 'contractor state' to ensure this was both robust and able to allow swift mobilisation in war. The requirement to stop regularly at foreign stations also brought men of the Royal navy into contact with local coal heavers, as well as indigenous populations and landscapes. These encounters and their dissemination are crucial to our understanding of imperial relationships and imaginations at the height of the imperial age.
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Table of contents

Chapter 1 - Introduction.- Part I: The Rise of Coal Consciousness: Coal, State, and Imperial Defence.- Chapter 2 - Investigating the Coal Question.- Chapter 3 - From Coal Consciousness to Coal Consensus.- Part II: `An Enormous System Under Splendid Control': The Development of a Coaling Infrastructure.- Chapter 4 - Sourcing Coal for the Navy.- Chapter 5 - Managing the Navy's Imperial Supply.- Part III - Coaling Labour.- Chapter 6 - `Gifted with Strength That Is Not Human': Using Indigenous Labour for Coaling.- Chapter 7 - `A Shadow Would Come Over the Ship': Using Naval Labour for Coaling.- Part IV - Sojourning at the Coaling Station.- Chapter 8 - A maritime community?.- Chapter 9 - Exploring the Station.- Chapter 10 - Epilogue.
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About Steven Gray

Steven Gray is Lecturer in the History of the Royal Navy at the University of Portsmouth, UK, where he teaches on the MA in Naval History. His PhD, completed at the University of Warwick, won the British Commission for Maritime History Doctoral prize for the best doctoral thesis, 2014.
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