We have a slew of updates that are long overdue! As you can see from the picture above, Man the Capstan has finally received its last shipment of gold lace from Military Heritage! They had some lengthy order issues to deal with through their supplier, but in the end came through. They sent me the lace straight away, and it arrived within days of them receiving it. Thank you very much to the kind folks at Military Heritage for putting up with us here in Nova Scotia!
The lace is ten metres long, and should be more than adequate in finishing the trim on the first R.N. uniform. The uniform is still missing trim on the front lapels, the back, the tails and the sleeves. I imagine she’ll look very different when fully trimmed, and I can’t wait! We’ll be sure to post an update when it is complete.
Another substantial update is one of our acquisitions, save the lace. She arrived about a month ago from Australia, in a very large box! Understandable, given she was an expensive sword purchased and shipped from Australia. This newest addition was hinted to in the Behind the Uniform, Addendum post (scroll down until you see the brass anchor/crown picture), and only now have we had the time to talk further on it.
The sword is a replica, of course. She’s based off of an 1827 pattern, which is currently in use by many Commonwealth navies around the world (United Kingdom, Canada), so it’s no surprise we were able to find it in Australia. The 1827 pattern is similar to a 1805 sword, which is often called the Nelson Trafalgar sword. This sword was worn and used by Admiral Horatio Nelson, during the Battle of Trafalgar on the 21st of October in 1805. Trafalgar was one of the more decisive naval battles of the Napoleonic Wars, and it was significant both strategically, and socially. The victory at Trafalgar supplied a significant morale boost for both civilians back home, and for sailors and servicemen at sea. Strategically, it all but annihilated Bonaparte’s influence on the high seas, assuring Great Britain’s dominance. Indeed, it was Britain’s ability to circumvent Bonparte’s “continental system” that kept her in the war, and ultimately was a large contributor to the dissolution of Bonaparte’s strangle-hold on Europe.
All of the metal components on the sword are solid brass! Take a peek at the picture above, and note the detail of the hilt. Like many R.N. swords, she bears the fouled anchor and crown of the Royal Navy. There is one hole on the top of the hilt for the sword knot, and two others on the bottom part of the hilt. The sword knot currently being used is a regulation knot, in use today by the Royal Navy. The scabbard rings are nicely welded, and fit beautifully to our Royal Navy regulation sword belt. They both look like they are perfectly suited to one another (which, I suppose, is true).
The hilt is imitation ivory, taking after Nelson’s sword (which was real ivory, I am sure). The pommel, near the tang button, features a lion’s head. The scabbard of the sword is real leather, which makes the sword surprisingly light to carry (and not as bulky). The other swords for Man the Capstan feature solid steel scabbards. These steel scabbards are heavier and sturdier, and when you draw the blade make a very nice sound. Our new Nelson scabbard, while not solid steel, is genuine leather and is true to form. The metal components on the scabbard are also solid brass, and feature decorative etchings as well.
All in all, this sword is a truly exquisite addition to Man the Capstan, and will be a true pleasure to wear. It really adds to the presentation of the uniform, improving the overall authenticity that we’re so deeply concerned about.
Featured below is another YouTube video we’ve produced on the Nelson sword. Please take a look!
Halifax’s Tall Ships 2009 is approaching fast, and with the new lace and the sword having arrived, we are one step closer to being adequately prepared for it. There is still so much left to do, though, and finding time to get it all done has been difficult. The good news is that I’m now finished all my schooling. I wrote my last exam two days ago, and will graduate in May from Acadia University. I am finally earning my Bachelor of Arts degree, and am glad to finally move on! I’ll have plenty of time this summer while I get situated to work and update on our efforts here at Man the Capstan. The picture to the right features myself posing alongside Miranda, who is wearing the Passage to India.
We’ve had relatives from British Columbia visit us this past week, my cousin Miranda and grandmother Sjoukje (SHOWK-YA). I am half-Dutch on my mother’s side, and my visiting grandmother originally came from the Netherlands. They immigrated in the 50s to Canada. My grandmother and Miranda managed to try on both of the dresses here at Man the Capstan, in particular Passage to India and English Rose.
With this in mind, we’ve decided that any friends or family passing through who manage to try on our uniforms will be inducted into the Crew as honourary members! In a few days I’ll throw up some pictures of my grandmother and Miranda outfitted in the dresses, with some form of write-up to our crew page. Pictured to the left is Sjoukje, “the Duchess”, in the English Rose.
Speaking of dresses, I believe Johanna, the tailor, is still working on a few more. I think she’s shifted her choice of style, and will be trying her hand at some regency style gowns. One of the main reasons will be temperature—these larger gowns tend to be quite warm, while the regency varieties are lightweight and incorporate a great deal less fabric. I’ll let Johanna expand on this in a future post, however!
That’s all for the moment! Until next time!