Original Napoleonic Era British Royal Navy Press Gang Cosh found in Whitby Tavern
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is a very powerful object, not only referring to its capabilities but to its obvious age and place in Maritime history.
The British Naval pay scale was established in 1658 and basically remained unchanged for almost 140 years. There was zero inflation up until the 7 years war (1756-1763) known as the French and Indian War in the United States. However by the end of the 1700s with increasing British Government debt Naval pay was well behind causing great unpopularity. This led to two mutinies, that at Spithead near Portsmouth and at The Nore in the Thames Basin in London, both occurring in 1797.
Navy enlistment dramatically declined so the age old tradition of Press Ganging which was equivalent to kidnapping able bodied men, usually by alcohol or brute force then enlisting them in the Royal Navy. A Cosh was an item much feared by men in the 18th & 19th century as it was used by the Royal Navy to coerce men into joining up. Press gangs would roam the streets of inns & taverns looking for the slightly worse for wear. Imagine enjoying a night out and waking up, hung over, finding yourself an involuntary volunteer at sea, on board one of the Navy's finest.
This impressive rope and twine bound cosh measures almost 17" in overall length, and looks every bit of its probable 225 years of age. In fact there is an old tag tied to it on which is written:-
Dr. K. GREENE
on one side and on the other side :-
Found in the
Prospect of Whitby Tavern,
During renovations 1951
An absolutely original item, found in one of London's riverside Taverns from which many a good man willingly or unwillingly enlisted into His Majesty's Royal Navy. A poignant reminder of how cruel life was just two hundred years ago, ready to display!
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