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Shipping Wonders of the World

Part 35


Part 35 of Shipping Wonders of the World was published on Tuesday 6th October 1936.


This issue included a colour plate illustrating the Sovereign of the Seas, which formed part of an article on this ship. The plate was attached to page 1116 of part 35.


The Cover


“The subject of the cover this week is rather unusual. It shows the Wolf Lighthouse, off Land’s End, Cornwall. The lighthouse stands on a rock and its 70 candle-power light is 110 feet high. The light shows alternate red and white flashes, lasting two seconds, and is visible for a distance of sixteen miles. The work of Trinity House is an amazing example of efficiency. Trinity House is responsible for the safety of shipping round the often dangerous coasts of Great Britain, and this great task is shouldered with remarkable success. The wonders of the modern lighthouse are not, perhaps, revealed as  much as they should be, but readers will remember that the chapter called Signposts of the Sea gives an insight into the story of these important aids to navigation.”

The Wolf Lighthouse, Land's End


Contents of Part 35


The Adventures of Captain Voss

Marine Models

Russian Shipping

The Secret of the Niger

The Sovereign of the Seas

The Sovereign of the Seas (colour plate)

Danish Standard Motor Tramp

Gunboat Patrols in China

Epic of the MLs



The Secret of the Niger


The conquest of the River Niger was effected only after many years of exploration, hardship and tragedy in the face of almost insuperable dangers. This chapter is by Sidney Howard and is the twelfth article in the series on World Waterways.

(Pages 1109-1114)



The “Sovereign of the Seas”


Next to the Victory, perhaps the most famous of the “wooden walls of England” was the Sovereign of the Seas, later the Sovereign and finally the Royal Sovereign. It was King Charles I who conceived the idea of building the mightiest ship that had yet been seen, and he drew up the first plans for her. The Admiralty was very much opposed to the idea, as the vessel would be of a size hitherto undreamed-of, and thus very expensive to build, and it was with difficulty that the Admiralty was persuaded to agree to the building of such a ship. She cost more than £40,000 - a sum equivalent to an amount many times greater to-day. After many vicissitudes, including a postponed launch, the Sovereign of the Seas put to sea, and it was at once apparent she was far too high to be of much use at sea. In spite of this, however, her almost legendary fame persisted. Under the Cromwellian regime, the Sovereign of the Seas was reduced to a two-decker, and began at once to justify her reputation,. In Blake’s encounter with van Tromp she acquitted herself so well that the Dutch nicknamed her the “Golden Devil”. From then till 1696, when she was accidentally destroyed by fire, she was frequently in action. Frank Bowen’s chapter describes the eventful history of this famous ship, with detail of her dimensions and armament.

(Pages 1115-1117)


The Adventures of Captain Voss


The story of the voyages of Captain Voss, concluded from part 34. You can read more about Voss’s adventures in The Venturesome Voyages of Captain Voss, first published in 1913.

(Pages 1093-1096)

Danish Standard Motor Tramp


This vessel differs in many ways from the Doxford standard tramp, of which a drawing appeared in part 29. The Bornholm is a vessel of the long bridge type, with a short forecastle, long central bridge structure and short poop. The Bornholm is owned by the Dansk-Franske Company and was completed in Copenhagen in June 1930. She has a gross tonnage of 3,177, a length of 326 ft 2 in, a beam of 50 ft 1 in and a depth of 20 ft 10 in. She has a speed of about 10½ knots when drawing 20 ft 6½ in, and she used about 5 tons of oil a day for all purposes. She is driven by a four-cycle single-acting diesel engine with 6 cylinders of 21.65 in diameter and 59.06 in stroke, the total power developed being 1,250 bhp at 105 revolutions.

This is the twenty-seventh article in the series on Merchant Ship Types.

(Page 1118)





Gunboat Patrols in China


Not may people realize that the Royal Navy may be on active service in peace-time. That is a fair description of the duties of the China Gunboats, about which this chapter is devoted. The Yangtse Gunboat Patrol is a section of the Royal Navy which is always on active service. Over a stretch of 1,300 miles of river these interesting units protect civilians of every nationality from the attentions of numerous bands of pirates.

This chapter is by Hector Bywater and is the ninth article in the series The Navy Goes to Work. There is a complementary article on Chinese Piracy in parts 52-53.

(Pages 1119-112)


Epic of the Motor Launches


The Motor Launch Patrol included 550 MLs manned by officers and men of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. In the successful raids on Ostend and Zeebrugge the dramatic exploits of the MLs gained for these small craft a permanent place in naval history. This chapter is by Sidney Howard and is concluded in part 36. You can read more about the MLs by following the link to Gordon Maxwell’s book The Motor Launch Patrol (published 1920).

(Pages 1123-1124)



Marine Models


Miniature representations of ships attract their enthusiasts all over the world. Ship models may be ornamental (“glass-case”) or working models, and their purpose may be to give pleasure to the amateur, to advertise a shipping line, or to further research in naval architecture. This chapter is by F E Dean and complements the article on Ships in Miniature which appeared in part 9.

(Pages 1097-1103)


Russian Shipping


In a remarkably short time the Soviet Union has built up a considerable mercantile marine with the object of handling all Russia’s overseas trade in Soviet ships. Unparalleled measures have been taken to achieve this end with efficiency.  This chapter is by Frank Bowen and is the eighth article in the series on Sea Transport of the Nations.

(Pages 1104-1108)


The Sovereign of the Seas


THE FINEST MAN-OF-WAR OF HER TIME, the Sovereign of the Seas marked an important stage in the development of naval architecture. She was designed by Phineas Pett. On September 25, 1637, King Charles I was present at the launching ceremony at Woolwich. She stuck on the slipway, however, and was not launched until some weeks later. The total cost of the ship was £40,833 8s 1½d, of which £6,691 were spent on her extravagant decoration. Her stern towered to a tremendous height and made her unsuitable for service at sea until 1652 when Cromwell had her reduced to a two-decker. Cromwell had her renamed Sovereign. Popular demand refused to allow the Puritans to deface her gilded decorations. Her yellow hull and gilded ornament therefore made her conspicuous in naval engagements with the Dutch, who gave her the nickname of the “Golden Devil”. At the Restoration in 1660 she was

The "Sovereign of the Seas"