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Training ships were used to train boys in all aspects of seamanship preparing them for a career at sea. The Metropolitan Asylums Board borrowed the Exmouth from the Royal Navy in 1877. Previously the ship had seen active service in the Baltic and had been converted from sail to steam in 1854. The Board moored the Exmouth off Grays in Essex and used it as a way to provide vocational training to boys in their care. In 1929 the London County Council took over the Exmouth and continued taking in boys until 1941.
What can be found in the records?
For each boy that joined the ship, the record books log the following:
- Age (and sometimes “supposed age”)
- Date of admission and discharge
- The parish or Poor Law Union from which they originated
- What the boy did on discharge
While the vital statistics of the boys (height, weight and chest circumference) provide a glimpse of the physical appearance of the Exmouth’s inmates, the career record provides a picture of life on-board.
Parts of this description have been taken from the London Metropolitan website. You can find out more about their collections on this page.
These records are numbered MAB/2512/00001-12644 at London Metropolitan Archives.