Deane, Sir Anthony

SUBJECT AREA: Ports and shipping
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b. 1638 Harwich (?), England
d. 1721 England
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English master shipwright, one of the most influential of seventeenth-century England.
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It is believed that Deane was born in Harwich, the son of a master mariner. When 22 years of age, having been trained by Christopher Pett, he was appointed Assistant Master Shipwright at Woolwich Naval Dockyard, indicating an ability as a shipbuilder and also that he had influence behind him. Despite abruptness and a tendency to annoy his seniors, he was acknowledged by no less a man than Pepys (1633–1703) for his skill as a ship designer and -builder, and he was one of the few who could accurately estimate displacements and drafts of ships under construction. While only 26 years old, he was promoted to Master Shipwright of the Naval Base at Harwich and commenced a notable career. When the yard was closed four years later (on the cessation of the threat from the Dutch), Deane was transferred to the key position of Master Shipwright at Portsmouth and given the opportunity to construct large men-of-war. In 1671 he built his first three-decker and was experimenting with underwater hull sheathing and other matters. In 1672 he became a member of the Navy Board, and from then on promotion was spectacular, with almost full responsibility given him for decisions on ship procurement for the Navy. Owing to political changes he was out of office for some years and endured a short period in prison, but on his release he continued to work as a private shipbuilder. He returned to the King's service for a few years before the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688; thereafter little is known of his life, beyond that he died in 1721.
Deane's monument to posterity is his Doctrine of Naval Architecture, published in 1670. It is one of the few books on ship design of the period and gives a clear insight into the rather pedantic procedures used in those less than scientific times. Deane became Mayor of Harwich and subsequently Member of Parliament. It is believed that he was Peter the Great's tutor on shipbuilding during his visit to the Thames in 1698.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Knighted 1673.
Bibliography
1670, Doctrine of Naval Architecture; repub. 1981, with additional commentaries by Brian Lavery, as Deane's Doctrine of Naval Architecture 1670, London: Conway Maritime.
Further Reading
Westcott Abell, 1948, The Shipwright's Trade, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
FMW

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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