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Armoured Cruiser Cressy (Hardback)

Detailed in the Original Builders' Plans

Maritime WWI Seaforth

By Andrew Choong
Seaforth Publishing
Series: As detailed in the original builders’ plans
Pages: 120
Illustrations: 35 colour plans, and one 8-page colour gatefold
ISBN: 9781526766373
Published: 29th May 2020

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The technical details of British warships were recorded in a set of plans produced by the builders on completion of every ship. Known as the ‘as fitted’ general arrangements, these drawings represented the exact appearance and fitting of the ship as it entered service. Intended to provide a permanent reference for the Admiralty and the dockyards, these highly detailed plans were drawn with exquisite skill in multi-coloured inks and washes that represent the acme of the draughtsman’s art.

Today they form part of the incomparable collection of the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, which is using the latest scanning technology to make digital copies of the highest quality. This book is one of a series based entirely on these draughts which depict famous warships in an unprecedented degree of detail – complete sets in full colour, with many close-ups and enlargements that make every aspect clear and comprehensible. Extensive captions point the reader to important features to be found in the plans, and an introduction covers the background to the design.

The subject of this volume is best known for the disaster of 22 September 1914 in which Cressy and two sister-ships, Aboukir and Hogue, were sunk with great loss of life by a single small submarine in little more than an hour. Having been overtaken by the rapid advance of naval technology in the fifteen years since their construction, the cruisers were regarded as obsolete and employed on a task for which they were never intended. However, in their day they were powerful and innovative ships, with a significant impact on the way the armoured cruiser developed. This becomes clear from the analysis of the plans included in this book, which thus presents an original and more positive view of these ships that will enlighten – and perhaps surprise – many naval historians and enthusiasts.

Superbly detailed - a gem of a book in every respect.

Books Monthly

In short, the book is the most detailed one could want to understand how the Cressy (and some other ships of this class) had been designed and subsequently set up and modified. This book is therefore very useful for the naval enthusiast, the model maker, the simple curious who wants to discover a ship that served as a bridge between two eras of the world navy. Seaforth once again produces a book that cannot be missed on the bookshelves of fans and historians of the Royal Navy.

Read the full Italian review here

On The Old Barbed Wire

This is another excellent entry in this series, looking at an example of a type of warship that was at the forefront of naval thinking when they were designed, even if they didn’t hold up well under the pressure of the Great War.

Read the full review here

History of War

This has to be quite an interesting book, that I was grateful for receiving to review, I suppose because I have a technical drawing background and whilst I might be used to seeing housing plans it made a really treat to see the plans for how a ship is constructed. I think this might only appeal to a limited market but I would say for a change this is an excellent book and made a great change of pace. I have to say a very well done to Andrew Choong, who is the Curator of Historical photos and Ships plans at the National Maritime Museum’s out station the Brass Foundry, so he clearly has the highest expertise for this type of book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would give it a good 4 star rating, mainly because in reality the amount of reading was small due to the nature of the book.

Read the full review here

UK Historian

About Andrew Choong

ANDREW CHOONG is the Curator of Historic Photos and Ships’ Plans at the National Maritime Museum’s outstation at the Brass Foundry in Woolwich. As such, he is uniquely qualified to select and comment on the draughts in this book. He was also closely involved in the publication of the monumental seven volumes of the Perkins identification series, for which he wrote the introduction.

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