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Royal Navy Architect -1859

Royal Navy Architect -1859

Posted: 1307068269000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1330983295000
Surnames: Watson
My grandmother told me that my G. Grandfather Isaac Watson designed the first iron clad ship for the Royal Navy in 1859.
The ship was the Warrior.
Could anyone tell me where to write to or go to where I can get information on Isaac Watson. He was in the Admiralty building in Whitehall at the time.


Re: Royal Navy Architect -1859

Posted: 1307080596000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1330983371000
Surnames: Watts
Hi Sue

Here's an article about HMS Warrior that may be of interest.
There's no mention of your Isaac WATSON, but it does state that the Board of Admiralty's chief constructor was an Isaac WATTS.

Good luck


Re: Royal Navy Architect - 1859

Posted: 1307119605000
Classification: Query
I have seen the name Isaac Watts on there also.
I'm trying to clear this up. This is why I'm trying to find out where in the admiralty to write so I can get any records on him.

Re: Royal Navy Architect -1859

Posted: 1307154510000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1330983343000
Surnames: Watts
Definitely Isaac Watts

Suggest you contact one or more of:

National Maritime Museum – they have a copy of Warrior’s plans signed by Isaac Watts [1st Assistant Surveyor, 1848-1860] and others – search for Isaac Watts.

Royal Naval Museum –

HMS Warrior Trust –

Re: Royal Navy Architect

Posted: 1307163786000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1330983414000
Thanks for the reply.
I did email the and they replied with Isaac Watts.
This seems so odd to have the name so close and my grandmother to know enough about it to tell this story.
I'm beginning to wonder if my Isaac Watson changed his name or just used a different name.
His son Joseph Watson was a plumber/pipe-fitter for the Navy also from 1851 to sometime in the 1860s when he was let go because he stayed home one day to care for his sick wife.
Isaac's census records indicate his occupation with the Navy.
My grandmother also told me that he developed a system to pay men by the piece instead of the hour and was then moved from Somerset House to Whitehall.
I'm hoping to still obtain some records for my Isaac Watson so I can clear up just what his position was with the Navy.

Re: Royal Navy Architect

Posted: 1307188468000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1330983430000
Sounds like they worked in the dockyards,this may help identify records to look at

Re: Royal Navy Architect -1859

Posted: 1307243980000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1330983458000
Thanks for this website. I've been on the National Archives website but didn't see this part of it.
I have a friend who is over in London visiting and I hope will visit the National Archives for me.
I've attached the 1861 census where my Isaac is 4th from the bottom. I can't quite make out all the words in the Occupation field.

Sue in Canada

Re: Royal Navy Architect - 1859

Posted: 1307312599000
Classification: Query
his occupation was given as:

Foreman Depart’t of the Comptroller of the Navy

As a foreman he would have been in charge of gang of men, probably tradesmen [Artisans], shipwrights, carpenters, plumbers or mechanical fitters etc., or a gang of mixed trades.

In that position in 1861, I assume at Greenwich Dockyard, he may have worked on the Warrior at some time during her service but is certainly not the Isaac Watts who signed the ship’s plans.

Re: Royal Navy Architect - 1859

Posted: 1330879385000
Classification: Query
Royal Corps of Naval Constructors:
The Royal Corps of Naval Constructors, whose members interchange their duties between the designing of ships at the admiralty and practical work at the dockyards.

Re: Royal Navy Architect - 1859

Posted: 1330948744000
Classification: Biography
Edited: 1330948818000
Surnames: Watson, Watts
Your Isaac Watson b.1801 d.1881 is most definitely a different person to the naval architect Isaac Watts b.1797 Plymouth d.1876 Thanet.

I assume you have details of each of the census for Isaac Watson with his wife Caroline, from 1841 in Chatham when his occupation was ‘Shipwright’, through to 1871 at 438 New Cross Road Deptford when he was shown as ‘Foreman Accountant, General Admiralty’. I have his death at this address on 20 March 1881.

Isaac Watts can also be traced through the census:
In 1841 in Portsea Portsmouth with his wife Emmeline, two sons & two daughters, when his occupation is given as 'Shipwright'
In 1851 Howley Place Villas Paddington London, widowed with three daughters at home, occupation 'Assistant Surveyor of the Navy Admiralty.
In 1861 Howley Place Villas, one son, three daughters at home, occupation 'Chief Constructor of the Navy'. Eldest son's occupation 'Admiralty clerk', eldest daughter 'Victualing Dept Somerset House'. Employed a governess, cook, and housemaid.
In 1871 Howley Place, living with two unmarried daughters, retired from civil service.
Isaac Watts died 11 Aug 1876 while at Broadstairs, Kent, where he was subsequently buried, though his will shows he was resident at Howley Place Villas.
At the time of Isaac Watts’ death his eldest son was a 2nd Class Clerk in Admiralty, second son was a Major in Royal Engineers, eldest daughter had married a Dock Yard Officer and two younger daughters were unmarried and continued to live together as shown by the 1881 & 1891 & 1901 census.

It seems likely that your grandmother’s story is only half right; as your Gt. Grandfather appears to have worked in the accountancy side of The Admiralty he possibly did invent a new payment system but he isn’t the man who, as ‘Chief Constructor of the Navy’, drew up the plans for HMS Warrior.

Hope this helps clear things up.
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