Packet Surgeon’s Journals

28 March 2023

The arrival of HMS Beagle

The voyage of HMS Beagle, captained by Robert Fitzroy and containing the young Charles Darwin is justly famous. At the end of a five year circumnavigation, […]
17 March 2023

A Smuggler’s Cottage?

Finding real evidence of smuggling is difficult. The trial of Charles Carter in 1793 contained tantalising reports of spaces or caves which had been found under […]
15 March 2023

When Falmouth avoided a big bang

A chance remark in a funeral eulogy led to the discovery of a first-hand story from 1972 when Falmouth narrowly avoided a potentially disastrous explosion caused […]
21 February 2023

D’Alvimart – An unpleasant shipmate?

The French Revolution brought challenges for anyone with royalist connections. One such was Gaetan D’Alvimart who is mentioned in a letter written by Captain McLeod of […]
20 February 2023

Tracking the Mystery

The story of how seven men sailed a 37ft lugger, the Mystery, to Australia is a familiar story in Cornwall. A recent discovery is a copy […]
11 December 2022

A Broad appreciation …

Volunteer Linda Bachelor tripped over a lovely thank you message from 1806 recently, tracking how an unsolicited thank you may have led to a benefit to […]
29 November 2022

Windfall Yachts database

We have added a database of Windfall yachts to our DataBank. This contains summary information about these German-built yachts, culled from the definitive book by Mike […]
7 September 2022

Red herrings, time-wasters and digressions …

You know that feeling when you trip over something fascinating when you are meant to be looking for something else? Well we do this all the […]
16 August 2022

Hoods Boys and the taking of Diamond Rock

Just occasionally, a happy team experiences a magic moment when everything seems to go right. The early months of 1804, aboard HMS Centaur, 74, under Commodore […]
5 April 2022

The Ceuta papers

We need your help. We have a series of mystery papers probably written in early 1810 which turned up in a car boot sale in Falmouth […]
26 October 2021

Access our Databank

The Bartlett holds upward of fifty different databases on maritime subjects, many of which are growing daily thanks to the work of the tireless volunteers. Our […]
10 May 2021

Weathering the Storm

A new referreed article has been published in Troze, our associate online publication. It looks at the first few decades of Falmouth as a Trust Port. […]
19 October 2021

Packet ships and slavery

We are often asked what role the Falmouth Packet Service played in slavery. At one level, the Packet Service was simply a government-run postal service collecting […]
8 January 2019

The Miseries of a life at Sea

The Groans and Grumblings of Jeremy Gribble[*], or The Miseries of a life at Sea. A splenetic composition ~~~~ Rundis, indigestaque moles[*] ~~~~~ Misery 1st. – […]
21 August 2018

Williamson and Darwin

Any reader of Patrick O’Brien’s Jack Aubrey novels will understand the elegant coincidence that Charles Darwin (a naturalist born in 1809) and James Williamson (a surgeon […]
19 August 2018

Tales from his travels

Negro song. Jack Ass, wid a long tail, Bag o’ Caco coming down. Dey teas-y me, dey worry me Dey take my dandy from me. Jack […]
19 August 2018

Tales of Packets and the sea

There are many customs now prevalent among particular classes of men, the origin of which is so obscure from antiquity or other causes, that it would […]
19 August 2018

Falmouth tales

By the Falmothians and others thereabouts hail drops are called Camborne boys. Camborne is a small place, a few miles from Redruth – but why it […]
19 August 2018

West Country tales

Cornwall is so famous for pies among other things, that it has been ironically said, that the Devil is afraid to shew his nose in that […]
18 August 2018

Smuggling aboard a Packet ship

James Williamson gives this account of ‘smuggling’ from his time on HM Packet Duke of York. From the earliest establishment of the [Packets], [1] the spirit […]
17 August 2018

The Pleasures of a life at Sea

Pleasure I. – I have always considered the mere exemption from misery to be a positive pleasure – a truth verified in being relieved from all […]