Logbook of Ascension Island kept by Captain William Bate

Scope and Content

Logbook containing daily logs from Thursday 1 January 1834 to Saturday 31 October 1835. Each log gives details of thermometer and weather conditions and at the end of each is a statement of the number of gallons of water consumed by the garrison that day. Also included are records of ships calling at the island (including American whalers, English whalers, ships from Sydney and Van Diemens Land, and Royal Naval vessels), details about the extensive building work being carried out on the island (especially at Fort Cockburn) and occasional entries noting the military exercises being conducted, courts martial, parades and fatalities.

Administrative / Biographical History

Following Napoleon's exile to St. Helena in October 1815, a small British naval garrison was established on Ascension Island. By the time of Napoleon's death in 1821 the island had became a sanatorium and victualling base for ships engaged in suppressing the slave trade on the coast of West Africa. In 1823 the first Royal Marine commandant arrived on the island and it remained a naval possession. This volume is a logbook of Ascension Island kept by Captain William Bate, commandant of the island from 1828 to 1838. Bate was responsible for much of the building work carried out on the island and also for naming the settlement 'Georgetown' in 1829. He died on the island in April 1838.

Conditions Governing Access

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


Collection level description created by Marion Lowman, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

Administrative/Biographical History compiled with reference to Ascension: the story of a South Atlantic island, by Duff Hart-Davis (1972).

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