HMS Foudroyant Copper

(c) Vin Callcut 2002-2017. Small extracts can be used with acknowledgements to '' website.

Helpful comments are very welcome.


The second HMS Foudroyant was launched in Plymouth in 1798, as a second rate line of battle ship with 80 guns (variable throughout her career).  Measurements were 2,062 tons, 184ft x 51ft. Usual armament included 30x 32pdrs, 32x 24pdrs, 14x 12pdrs and 12 carronades.  She was Nelson's flagship from 1799 to 1800, then being described a  3rdrate battleship and used during the campaign to recapture Naples.

In 1862, she was converted to a training ship and served the Plymouth gunnery school, HMS Cambridge. In 1892, she was sold for breaking up to a German firm for one thousand pounds. Because of her association with Nelson, there was a public outcry including a Punch cartoon by Linley Sambourne. She was sold, then purchased by George Wheatley Cobb for twenty thousand pounds (his own expense) with a view for display at various ports and a sail training ship. She was wrecked at Blackpool in a gale on 16th  June 1897. The salvage terms were that the company involved received two thousand pounds only if they re-floated her. If they failed, they could buy the wreck for ten pounds. The ship was unsalvageable and the company recovered some of their expenses by making souvenirs from the timber and copper and selling them. Hundreds of different varieties were sold, including medallions, coins, items of furniture and walking sticks.

Nelson Foudroyant Medal struck in 1897, being made from copper recovered from the hull sheathing of HMS Foudroyant after being wrecked off Blackpool.  Obverse bears his portrait and dates of birth and death together with the registration No 311490 of 1897. Reverse shows finely detailed 3/4 rear view of the ship at sea but with some sails furled.  The diameter is 38mm (1 1/2").  This rare item is normally housed in a red box with stamp in the lining 'The British and Foreign Sailors' Society Prince Edward lunch at St James' Palace'.  Weight 28g.








  Pair of copper napkin rings with fine beaded edge and applied HMS Foudroyant badge, obviously once silver plated as can be seen from the silver left in the less-polished areas. Over and below the illustration of the ship is the wording: 'This article is warranted to be made of copper from the ship Foudroyant'.  Diameter 46mm (1 3/4"). Weight 24g each.




Well made vesta box made of copper from Nelson's ship HMS Foudroyant in 1896. 'This article is warranted to be made of copper from the ship Foudroyant'.  Height 55mm (2 1/8")  Weight 40g.

see: 'Vesta Boxes', R Fresco-Corbu, 1983.








Intricate monogram in an anchor found on three edge of a copper vesta holder and two other trays made from copper from HMS Foudroyant  commemorating Horatio Viscount Nelson.  The makers were The Fletcher's Antique Furniture and the Foudroyant Company Ltd.
















A section cut from a copper bolt from the hull of HMS Foudroyant stamped each side as a commemorative souvenir.






'The exquisite reproduction of this picture and several other portraits now in the British Museum can be obtained along with the History of HMS Foudroyant by writing to Goodall, Lamb and Heighway, Ltd.' ...period advertisement.

  by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
[Being an humble address to Her Majesty's Naval advisers,

who sold Nelson's old flagship to the Germans for a thousand pounds.]

Who says the Nation's purse is lean, 
Who fears for claim or bond or debt, 
When all the glories that have been 
Are scheduled as a cash asset? 
If times are bleak and trade is slack, 
If coal and cotton fail at last, 
We've something left to barter yet
Our glorious past. 

There's many a crypt in which lies hid 
The dust of statesman or of king; 
There's Shakespeare's home to raise a bid, 
And Milton's house its price would bring. 
What for the sword that Cromwell drew? 
What for Prince Edward's coat of mail? 
What for our Saxon Alfred's tomb? 
They're all for sale! 

And stone and marble may be sold 
Which serve no present daily need; 
There's Edward's Windsor, labelled old, 
And Wolsey's palace, guaranteed. 
St. Clement Danes and fifty fanes, 
The Tower and the Temple grounds; 
How much for these? Just price them, please, 
In British pounds. 

You hucksters, have you still to learn, 
The things which money will not buy? 
Can you not read that, cold and stern 
As we may be, there still does lie 
Deep in our hearts a hungry love 
For what concerns our island story? 
We sell our work perchance our lives, 
But not our glory. 

Go barter to the knacker's yard 
The steed that has outlived its time! 
Send hungry to the pauper ward 
The man who served you in his prime! 
But when you touch the Nation's store, 
Be broad your mind and tight your grip. 
Take heed! And bring us back once more 
Our Nelson's ship. 

And if no mooring can be found 
In all our harbours near or far, 
Then tow the old three-decker round 
To where the deep-sea soundings are; 
There, with her pennon flying clear, 
And with her ensign lashed peak high, 
Sink her a thousand fathoms sheer. 
There let her lie! 

(source link now lost)