“…seasick at Spithead”


Spithead was the great anchorage of the Royal Navy located adjacent to the port city of Portsmouth. Spithead continues to be the scene of naval reviews such as Trafalgar 200 International Fleet Review. This image provides a view of Spithead to the right foreground an is oriented up The Solent towards Southampton.

Spithead provided a very sheltered anchorage, heavily defended by land fortifications, that had the advantage of allowing ships to exit under most wind conditions.

Spithead was also the site of one of the two great mutinies of the Royal Navy in 1797, unlike the later one at the Nore, the Spithead mutiny was settled peacefully and resulted in substantial reforms in the Royal Navy.

For fans of C. S. Forester and Horatio Hornblower, Spithead is where Midshipman Hornblower began his naval career on the HMS Justinian and became famed as the midshipman who was seasick at Spithead.

If you are interested in what Portsmouth, Spithead, and The Solent look like from a glider be sure to drop by this site.

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2 Comments

Filed under Age of Sail, Geography, Horatio Hornblower Novels

2 responses to ““…seasick at Spithead”

  1. Hey, I’m doing research for a period novel — know where I can find a good online image of maps of Spithead and environs?

    • billcrews

      I’d start with the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich/London. As far as books go, Nelson’s navy: the ships, men, and organisation, 1793-1815
      By Brian Lavery, Patrick O’Brian has a chart of the Spithead anchorage

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