Admiralty

Admiralty

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Admiralty'
Start a new discussion about 'Admiralty'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

, and later in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

. Originally exercised by a single person, the office of Lord High Admiral was from the 18th Century onward almost invariably put "in commission", and was exercised by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, who sat on the Board of Admiralty.

In 1964 the functions of the Admiralty were transferred to a new Admiralty Board
Admiralty Board (United Kingdom)
The Admiralty Board is the body established under the Defence Council of the United Kingdom for the administration of the Naval Service of the United Kingdom...

, which is a committee of the tri-service Defence Council of the United Kingdom
Defence Council of the United Kingdom
The Defence Council of the United Kingdom is the body legally entrusted with the defence of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories and with control over the British armed forces, and is part of the Ministry of Defence.-Functions:...

 and part of the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

. The new Admiralty Board meets only twice a year, and the day-to-day running of the Royal Navy is controlled by a Navy Board
Navy Board
The Navy Board is today the body responsible for the day-to-day running of the British Royal Navy. Its composition is identical to that of the Admiralty Board of the Defence Council of the United Kingdom, except that it does not include any of Her Majesty's Ministers.From 1546 to 1831, the Navy...

 (not to be confused with the historical Navy Board described later in this article). It is not uncommon for the various authorities now in charge of the Royal Navy to be referred to simply as The Admiralty.

The title of Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom was vested in the Sovereign
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

 from 1964 until 2011. The title was awarded to The Duke of Edinburgh by the Queen on his 90th Birthday. However, there continues to be a Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom
Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom
The Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom is an honorary office generally held by a senior Royal Navy admiral. Despite the title, the Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom is usually a full admiral. He is the official deputy to the Lord High Admiral, an honorary office vested in the Sovereign from...

 and a Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom
Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom
The Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom is a now honorary office generally held by a senior Royal Navy admiral. Despite the title, the Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom is usually a full admiral...

, both of which are honorary offices.

History



The office of Admiral of England (or Lord Admiral and later Lord High Admiral) was created around 1400, though there were before this Admirals of the Northern and Western Seas. In 1546 King Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 established the Council of the Marine, later to become the Navy Board
Navy Board
The Navy Board is today the body responsible for the day-to-day running of the British Royal Navy. Its composition is identical to that of the Admiralty Board of the Defence Council of the United Kingdom, except that it does not include any of Her Majesty's Ministers.From 1546 to 1831, the Navy...

, to oversee administrative affairs of the naval service. Operational control of the Navy remained the responsibility of the Lord High Admiral, who was one of the nine Great Officers of State.

In 1628, Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 put the office of Lord High Admiral into commission and control of the Royal Navy passed to a committee in the form of the Board of Admiralty. The office of Lord High Admiral passed a number of times in and out of commission until 1709, after which the office was almost permanently in commission (the last Lord High Admiral being the future King William IV
William IV of the United Kingdom
William IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death...

 in the early 19th century).

In 1831 the Navy Board was abolished as a separate entity and its duties and responsibilities were given over to the Admiralty.

In 1964 the Admiralty was subsumed into the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

 along with the War Office
War Office
The War Office was a department of the British Government, responsible for the administration of the British Army between the 17th century and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence...

 and the Air Ministry
Air Ministry
The Air Ministry was a department of the British Government with the responsibility of managing the affairs of the Royal Air Force, that existed from 1918 to 1964...

. Within the expanded Ministry of Defence are the new Admiralty Board, Army Board and Air Force Board, each headed by the Secretary of State for Defence
Secretary of State for Defence
The Secretary of State for Defence, popularly known as the Defence Secretary, is the senior Government of the United Kingdom minister in charge of the Ministry of Defence, chairing the Defence Council. It is a Cabinet position...

. As mentioned above, there is also a new Navy Board in charge of the day-to-day running of the Royal Navy.

The Board of Admiralty


When the office of Lord High Admiral was in commission, as it was for most of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries until it reverted to the Crown
The Crown
The Crown is a corporation sole that in the Commonwealth realms and any provincial or state sub-divisions thereof represents the legal embodiment of governance, whether executive, legislative, or judicial...

, it was exercised by a Board of Admiralty, officially known as the Commissioners for Exercising the Office of Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, &c. (alternatively of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

, Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 depending on the period).

The Board of Admiralty consisted of a number of Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. The Lords Commissioners were always a mixture of admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

s, known as Naval Lords or Sea Lords, and Civil Lords, normally politicians. The quorum
Quorum
A quorum is the minimum number of members of a deliberative assembly necessary to conduct the business of that group...

 of the Board was two commissioners and a secretary.

The president of the Board was known as the First Lord of the Admiralty, who was a member of the Cabinet
Cabinet of the United Kingdom
The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is the collective decision-making body of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, composed of the Prime Minister and some 22 Cabinet Ministers, the most senior of the government ministers....

. After 1806, the First Lord of the Admiralty was always a civilian, while the professional head of the navy came to be (and is still today) known as the First Sea Lord
First Sea Lord
The First Sea Lord is the professional head of the Royal Navy and the whole Naval Service; it was formerly known as First Naval Lord. He also holds the title of Chief of Naval Staff, and is known by the abbreviations 1SL/CNS...

.

Admiralty buildings



The Admiralty complex lies between Whitehall
Whitehall
Whitehall is a road in Westminster, in London, England. It is the main artery running north from Parliament Square, towards Charing Cross at the southern end of Trafalgar Square...

, Horse Guards Parade
Horse Guards Parade
Horse Guards Parade is a large parade ground off Whitehall in central London, at grid reference . It is the site of the annual ceremonies of Trooping the Colour, which commemorates the monarch's official birthday, and Beating Retreat.-History:...

 and The Mall
The Mall (London)
The Mall in central London is the road running from Buckingham Palace at its western end to Admiralty Arch and on to Trafalgar Square at its eastern end. It then crosses Spring Gardens, which was where the Metropolitan Board of Works and, for a number of years, the London County Council were...

 and includes five buildings. Since the Admiralty no longer exists as a department, these are now used as an "office bank" by the British government:

The Admiralty


The oldest building was long known simply as The Admiralty, and is now referred to popularly as the Old Admiralty and officially as the Ripley Building
Thomas Ripley (architect)
-Career:He first kept a coffee house in Wood Street, off Cheapside, London and in 1705 was admitted to the Carpenter's Company. An ex-carpenter, he rose by degrees to become an architect and Surveyor in the royal Office of Works...

.

It is a three storey U-shaped brick building completed in 1726. Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope was an 18th-century English poet, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. He is the third-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson...

 implied the architecture is rather dull, lacking either the vigour of the baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 style which was fading from fashion at the time, or the austere grandeur of the Palladian style which was just coming into vogue. It is mainly notable for being perhaps the first purpose built office building in Great Britain. It contained a board room, other state rooms and offices and apartments for the Lords of the Admiralty. Robert Adam
Robert Adam
Robert Adam was a Scottish neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer. He was the son of William Adam , Scotland's foremost architect of the time, and trained under him...

 designed the screen which was added to the entrance front in 1788. Nowadays the Ripley Building is allocated to the Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office
The Cabinet Office is a department of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for supporting the Prime Minister and Cabinet of the United Kingdom....

.

Admiralty House


Admiralty House
Admiralty House (London)
Admiralty House in London is a Grade I listedbuilding facing Whitehall, currently used for UK government functions and as ministerial flats. It was opened in 1788 and until 1964 was the official residence of First Lords of the Admiralty.-Description:...

 is a moderately proportioned mansion to the south of the Ripley Building, built in the late 18th century as the residence of the First Lord of the Admiralty, serving that purpose until 1964. Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 was one of its occupants. It lacks its own entrance from Whitehall, and is entered through the Ripley Building. It is a three storey building in yellow brick with neo-classicistic
Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing...

 interiors. Its rear facade faces directly onto Horse Guards Parade. The architect was Samuel Pepys Cockerell
Samuel Pepys Cockerell
Samuel Pepys Cockerell was an English architect. He was the son of John Cockerell, of Bishop's Hull, Somerset, and the brother of Sir Charles Cockerell, 1st Baronet, for whom he designed the house he is best known for, Sezincote House, Gloucestershire, where the uniquely Orientalizing features...

. There are now three ministerial flats in the building.

Old Admiralty Building (or Admiralty Extension or OAB)



This is the largest of the Admiralty Buildings. It was begun in the late 19th century and redesigned while the construction was in progress to accommodate the extra offices needed due to the naval arms race with the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

. It is a red brick building with white stone detailing in the Queen Anne style
Queen Anne Style architecture
The Queen Anne Style in Britain means either the English Baroque architectural style roughly of the reign of Queen Anne , or a revived form that was popular in the last quarter of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century...

 with French influences. It is now used by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, commonly called the Foreign Office or the FCO is a British government department responsible for promoting the interests of the United Kingdom overseas, created in 1968 by merging the Foreign Office and the Commonwealth Office.The head of the FCO is the...

.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff refer to the building as the OAB (Old Admiralty Building).

Admiralty Arch



Admiralty Arch
Admiralty Arch
Admiralty Arch is a large office building in London which incorporates an archway providing road and pedestrian access between The Mall, which extends to the South-West, and Trafalgar Square to the North-East. It was designed by Sir Aston Webb, constructed by John Mowlem & Co and completed in 1912...

 is linked to the Old Admiralty Building by a bridge and is part of the ceremonial route from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace, in London, is the principal residence and office of the British monarch. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality...

. It contains further office space currently used by the Cabinet Office.

The Admiralty Citadel


This is a squat windowless World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 fortress north west of Horse Guards Parade, now covered in ivy. See Military citadels under London
Military citadels under London
A number of military citadels are known to have been constructed underground in central London, dating mostly from the Second World War and the Cold War...

 for further details.

"Admiralty" as a metonym for "sea power"



In some cases, the term admiralty is used in a wider sense, as meaning sea power
Naval warfare
Naval warfare is combat in and on seas, oceans, or any other major bodies of water such as large lakes and wide rivers.-History:Mankind has fought battles on the sea for more than 3,000 years. Land warfare would seem, initially, to be irrelevant and entirely removed from warfare on the open ocean,...

or rule over the seas, rather than in strict reference to the institution exercising such power. For example, the well-known lines from Kipling's Song of the Dead:

See also

  • List of Lord High Admirals and First Lords of the Admiralty
  • List of Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty
  • Lord High Admiral of Scotland
    Lord High Admiral of Scotland
    The Lord High Admiral of Scotland was one of the Great Offices of State of the Kingdom of Scotland before the Union with England in 1707.The office was one of considerable power, also known as Royal Scottish Admiralty, including command of the King's ships and sailors and inspection of all sea...

  • Admiralty administration
    Admiralty administration
    The administration of the British Admiralty consists of the following branches and officers.-Department of the Controller :Spending branches are in the department of the controller, and it will be well, while we are dealing with the material side of the Royal Navy, to describe briefly their...

  • St Boniface's Catholic College

Further Reading


The Building
  • Bradley, Simon, and Nikolaus Pevsner
    Nikolaus Pevsner
    Sir Nikolaus Bernhard Leon Pevsner, CBE, FBA was a German-born British scholar of history of art and, especially, of history of architecture...

    . London 6: Westminster (from the Buildings of England series). New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press
    Yale University Press
    Yale University Press is a book publisher founded in 1908 by George Parmly Day. It became an official department of Yale University in 1961, but remains financially and operationally autonomous....

    , 2003. ISBN 0-300-09595-3.

  • C. Hussey, "Admiralty Building, Whitehall", Country Life, 17 and 24 November 1923, pp. 684-692, 718-726.


The Office
  • Daniel A. Baugh
    Daniel A. Baugh
    Daniel Albert Baugh is "seen as the definitive historian of [British] naval administration." Baugh has defined his own contribution in explaining "My research field is mainly England, 1660-1840...

    , Naval Administration in the Age of Walpole (Pinceton, 1965).

  • Sir John Barrow
    John Barrow
    -People:*John Barrow , 18th century English historian*John Barrow , a British geographical compiler. His principal work was A Chronological Abridgment or History of the Discoveries made by Europeans in the different parts of the world *Sir John Barrow, 1st Baronet , English statesman*John Henry...

    , An Autobiographical Memoir of Sir John Barrow, Bart., Late of the Admiralty (London, 1847).

  • John Ehrman
    John Ehrman
    John Patrick William Ehrman FBA was a British historian, most notable for his three-volume biography of William Pitt the Younger....

    , The Navy in the War of William III: Its State and Direction (Cambridge, 1953).

  • C. I. Hamilton, The Making of the Modern Admiralty: British Naval Policy-Making 1805-1927 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

  • C. I. Hamilton, "Selections from the Phinn Committee of Inquiry of October-November 1853 into the State of the Office of Secretary to the Admiralty , in The Naval Miscellany, volume V, edited by N. A. M. Rodger, (London: Navy Records Society
    Navy Records Society
    The Navy Records Society was established in 1893 as a scholarly society to publish historical documents that illustrated the history of the Royal Navy. Professor Sir John Knox Laughton and Admiral Sir Cyprian Bridge were the key leaders who organized the Society, basing it on the model of earlier...

    , London, 1984).

  • C. S. Knighton, Pepys and the Navy (Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 2003).

  • Christopher Lloyd
    Christopher Lloyd (naval historian)
    Charles Christopher Lloyd was a British naval historian, who served as Professor of History at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, 1962–1966.-Early life and education:...

    , Mr Barrow of the Admiralty (London, 1970).

  • Malcolm H. Murfett, The First Sea Lords: From Fisher to Mountbatten (Westport: Praeger, 1995).

  • Lady Murray, The Making of a Civil Servant: Sir Oswyn Murray, Secretary of the Admiralty 1917-1936 (London, 1940).

  • N.A.M. Rodger, The Admiralty (Lavenham, 1979)

  • J.C. Sainty, Admiralty Officials, 1660-1870 (London, 1975)

  • Sir Charles Walker
    Charles Walker
    Charles David "Charlie" Walker is an American engineer who flew on three Space Shuttle missions in 1984 and 1985 as a Payload Specialist for the McDonnell Douglas Corporation...

    , Thirty-Six Years at the Admiralty (London, 1933)

External links


  • The Admiralty at the Survey of London
    Survey of London
    The Survey of London is a research project to produce a comprehensive architectural survey of the former County of London. It was founded in 1894 by Charles Robert Ashbee, an Arts-and-Crafts architect and social thinker, and was motivated by a desire to record and preserve London's ancient monuments...

    online