|Warspite boys accompanied by their mascot. © NMM|
Within 100 years, there were another seven ships on the Thames alone, with others scattered across the country. The most famous training ship was the Conway, on the River Mersey, in Liverpool.
|HMS Worcester cadets spanning the yards. © NMM|
The hope was that when they left the ships, they would be able to find work either in the Royal Navy, or on a merchant vessel.
While on board, the cadets also received the same basic schooling as their friends attending normal schools on land.
Vital for defence
|Marine Society recruitment advertisement, c. 1905. © NMM|
As Britain relied so heavily on its fleet for both trade and defence, there were constant worries that there might not be enough trained seamen to man the ships.
These fears were greater during time of war. The idea behind the training ships was that there would be a steady flow of recruits available for the Navy, if needed.
Helping the poor?
The first training ships were set up to help the poor, and many of their recruits were orphans.
|Worcester training ship. © NMM|
The later ships, such as the Worcester, tried to provide a better standard of education, with the aim of producing officers for the Navy.