circa 1973-1981. A Seafaring Archive of Commander and Author Peter Clissold, circa 1973-1981
About 5 inches of manuscripts, letters, maps and research material authored and compiled by Royal Naval Reserve Commander Peter Clissold. Contents generally Very Good with a few scattered small stains, some light to moderate edgewear and a bit of toning.
The collection includes a 10” x 8” typed manuscript for Clissold’s “Samuel Travers and the Naval Knights of Windsor” (published in 1974) with copious handwritten annotations. There are 36 numbered pp. including a 2 pp. list of the Naval Knights of Windsor from the archives in St. George’s Chapel. The opening paragraph set the stage for the work: “From across the Thames the Royal Borough of Windsor, rising from the riverbank and crowned by the magnificent castle, is a pleasing sight…But there is nothing maritime about Windsor and it comes as something of a surprise to learn that for about one hundred years (1795 - 1892) it was the home of the Naval Knights of Windsor and that Travers’ College, named after their founder and benefactor still stands in the shadow of the castle hill.”
There is a second, also well annotated manuscript for the same work, ending in a numbered p. 90. It actually contains 96 typed pp. including a table of contents; most pages are numbered but appear out of order, and several have manuscript additions and corrections on versos. Also found are two 8 ¼” x 6 ½” notebooks (covers branded by the School of Navigation at University College, Southampton). One is an impeccably handwritten alphabetical list of works consulted. The other contains a two page handwritten chronology followed by 42 pages of handwritten notes and history. Another page of notes is laid in; these were jotted on a reused page of illustrations torn from Clisson’s “Radar in Small Craft,” which was published in 1970.
A few materials appear to relate to another of Clissold’s works, “Ships & Seafarers: Scenes from the Story of the Sea,” which may or may not have been published - one double-sided handwritten page lists Clisson’s many submissions of the manuscript from 1977 to 1981. There is also a “Synopsis of Contents” (typescript with handwritten annotations), in which Clissold explained the work: “The chapters describe quite distinct episodes, but taken as a whole, provide a picture of seafaring during the ages. The writer is not an historian; his stand point is that of a seaman whose experience has given him a sympathetic appreciation of the voyages described (often of high adventure) and the ships and men who made them…The book is based upon a series of talks given at the Southampton Technical College. Illustrations can be suggested.”
The remaining research materials include seven folded maps and charts, depicting the Scilly Isles “from the latest admiralty surveys to 1955,” published under the auspices of the Navy in London in 1967, and two copies of an “Explanation of Symbols and Abbreviations Used on Charts Issued by the Hydrographic Department of the Admiralty” (London, 1954). There is also a 1970 reproduction of a portion of a 1937 chart of the English Channel with Clisson’s notes overlaid in red pen. There are two letters to Clisson, both of which he annotated; a poem or song, “Farewell and Adieu” from “The Sailors’ Life” (typed with holograph notes); and a 1973 Meteorological Office Services leaflet entitled “Weather Bulletins and Gale Warnings for Shipping.”
Information on this British Commander is scarce, and we were unable to locate any holdings of his manuscript or archival material in OCLC or online. We learned a bit about his other efforts, however. Clissold authored “Basic Seamanship,” a work “intended for any person interested in a seafaring profession either in the Royal Navy, the Merchant Navy or the fishing fleets,” which was originally published in 1964 and has been reprinted at least seven times. He was one of two “master mariners” who designed a nautical chart published by Brown, Son & Ferguson of Glasgow in 1934; he wrote a work entitled “Elementary Seamanship” in 1939; and he contributed to a dictionary of nautical terms that has also been reprinted a few times between 1967 and 1998.
A handsome collection of sea-faring history, certainly worthy of further research. Item #513