The H.M.S. Captain Memorial c. 1871. Brass. St. Paul's Cathedral [Click on the photograph to enlarge it.]

The plaque serves less as a memorial than an exculpation of the officers and crew who perished on what appears to have been a poorly designed ship. The first line of the memorial reads, “In Memory of the Officers, Seamen, Marines, & Boys who died on Septr 7th 1870 when H.M.S. Captain foundered off Cape Finisterre,” and it is followed by an “An Official Account of the Disaster,” which blames Parliament and “other channels” of public opinion for the design of a vessel in “opposition to the views and opinions of the Controller and his Department . . . [who] disapproved of her construction.” In addition, the ship received inadequate testing before being handed to its ill-fated crew.

Photographs and formatting by George P. Landow. With thanks to the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

Last modified 3 October 2011