Henry Grant: Naval journal

Scope and Content

A daily journal kept on board HMS Pearl, December 1855 - August 1857, 234 pages. The journal begins with the ship's fitting out and victualing at Woolwich and Spithead, and describes its participation in the grand naval review at Portsmouth before Queen Victoria, 23 April 1856, on the occasion of the end of the Crimean War. It proceeds to describe the voyage to Central America, where the Pearl cruised northwards from Panama to the coasts of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala and southwards to Peru. In addition to a record of shipboard routine, Grant provides descriptions of the places visited, together with sketches and watercolours. In April 1857 the Pearl sailed to Hong Kong, where it received orders to proceed to Calcutta with HMS Shannon, to assist with the suppression of the Indian Mutiny. The journal ends with the arrival of the Pearl in Calcutta in August 1857. At the end of the volume are a series of transcripts relating to the Grand Naval Review, the Treaty of Peace signed in Paris in 1856, and other documents.

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry Duncan Grant (1834-1896) was born on 12 October 1834, the son of John Grant, paymaster, R.N. He entered the navy in 1847, and was made lieutenant in 1855. From December 1855 to August 1857 he served on H.M. Screw Steamship Pearl, a newly commissioned vessel of 21 guns, 1462 tons and 250 crew. Thereafter, he served with the Pearl's naval brigade in Bengal during 1858. Grant was promoted to the rank of captain on 30 September 1864, and between 1870 and 1878 commanded, in turn, the Serapis, Triumph, Aurora, Narcissus and the Duke of Wellington. He was made a C.B. in 1875, and from 1878 until his death he was an assessor under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1876. He was an Aide de Camp to Queen Victoria, 1879-1881, and was promoted to Rear Admiral in January 1881. Grant was Admiral Superintendent of Devonport Dockyard, 1885-1888, and was promoted to Vice-Admiral in 1888, and full Admiral in 1892. He was also a Vice-President of the National Temperance League. He died at Coombe Lodge, Liss, near Southampton on 8 November 1896.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Julian Browning, 4 November 1998.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives.

Other Finding Aids

There is a detailed description of the collection in the Additional Manuscripts Catalogue, available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Geographical Names