|Born||21 December 1873|
|Died||30 December 1950|
|Employer||John I. Thornycroft & Company|
|Parent(s)|| Sir John Isaac Thornycroft |
Blanche Coules Thornycroft (21 December 1873 – 30 December 1950) was a British naval architect. She was not formally recognised in her lifetime but her role as an "assistant" is now better credited.
Thornycroft was born in 1873 in Hammersmith into the Thornycroft family, daughter of Blanche Ada (née Coules) (1846–1936) and John Isaac Thornycroft.She had four sisters, Edith Alice (1871–1959), Mary Beatrix (1875–1965), Ada Francis (1877–1965), and Eldred Elizabeth (1879– 1939), and two brothers. Her elder brother was John Edward Thornycroft. Her younger brother, Isaac Thomas (known as Tom) worked at the family firm until 1934. Her uncle was the sculptor Sir Hamo Thornycroft. She was the granddaughter of Thomas Thornycroft and Mary Thornycroft. Her father, John Isaac Thornycroft, was knighted in 1902.
Although Blanche Thornycroft did not keep regular hours at her father's business, it is acknowledged that she made an unsung contribution to the business. She was trained in the same way as an apprentice would be trained and she was known as her father's assistant. Analysis however of correspondence with her brother and father reveal that she was regarded as a maths expert and her work was well regarded.
The Thornycroft family home in Bembridge had a model ship testing facility in its grounds, built in 1884, but disguised as a decorative water system known as “The Lilypond”. This was used for complex testing of model ships until 1909, when the need for a larger and indoor test tank was identified. A new test tank, one of the first buildings ever built by pouring concrete over steel, was built at Steyne Woods Battery.
The Experimental Boat Testing Tank Facility, at the Steyne Wood Battery in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight, (Grade II Listed Building Number 1426608) has six angled glazed panels below a concrete walkway, linked to a boiler within the battery to warm water, which was installed by Thornycroft as part of her interest in hydroponics.
Some of Blanche’s monographed notebooks, recording her test notes from 1907 until 1939, along with the ship tank models used in her engineering calculations, are held at the Classic Boat Museum in East Cowes. The notebooks record her calculations for tests on the models trialled in the lily pond at the family home and later at the Experimental Boat Testing Tank Facility. These models were the basis for the development of Skimmers (racing motor boats), which later evolved into Coastal Motor Boats. Other models tested ideas for Acasta and Acheron Class Destroyers, motor torpedo boats, RAF Rescue Launches, as well as RNLI Lifeboats.
She was one of the first three women to be admitted to the Royal Institution of Naval Architects on 9 April 1919 alongside engineers Rachel Parsons and Eily Kearyand was a member of the Women's Engineering Society for twenty years.
Blanche Thornycroft died in Bembridge in 1950.
A torpedo boat is a relatively small and fast naval ship designed to carry torpedoes into battle. The first designs were steam-powered craft dedicated to ramming enemy ships with explosive spar torpedoes. Later evolutions launched variants of self-propelled Whitehead torpedoes.
John Philip Holland was an Irish engineer who developed the first submarine to be formally commissioned by the US Navy, and the first Royal Navy submarine, Holland 1.
The Balao class was a successful design of United States Navy submarine used during World War II, and with 120 boats completed, the largest class of submarines in the United States Navy. An improvement on the earlier Gato class, the boats had slight internal differences. The most significant improvement was the use of thicker, higher yield strength steel in the pressure hull skins and frames, which increased their test depth to 400 feet (120 m). Tang actually achieved a depth of 612 ft (187 m) during a test dive, and exceeded that test depth when taking on water in the forward torpedo room while evading a destroyer.
The Norwegian warship HNoMS Rap was a torpedo boat built in 1873. She was one of the first torpedo boats to carry the self-propelled Whitehead torpedo after being converted to use them in 1879, the same year the Royal Navy's HMS Lightning entered service. The name Rap translates as "quick".
A motor torpedo boat is a fast torpedo boat, especially of the mid 20th century. The motor in the designation originally referred to their use of petrol engines, typically marinised aircraft engines or their derivatives, which distinguished them from other naval craft of the era, including other torpedo boats, that used steam turbines or reciprocating steam engines. Later, diesel-powered torpedo boats appeared, in turn or retroactively referred to as "motor torpedo boats" for their internal combustion engines, as distinct from steam powered reciprocating or turbine propulsion.
HM Coastal Motor Boat 4 is the torpedo boat used when Lieutenant Augustus Agar earned a Victoria Cross for carrying out a raid on Soviet warships in Kronstadt and sinking the cruiser Oleg.
Sir John Isaac Thornycroft was an English shipbuilder, the founder of the Thornycroft shipbuilding company and member of the Thornycroft family.
John I. Thornycroft & Company Limited, usually known simply as Thornycroft was a British shipbuilding firm founded by John Isaac Thornycroft in Chiswick in 1866. It moved to Woolston, Southampton, in 1908, merging in 1966 with Vosper & Company to form one organisation called Vosper Thornycroft. From 2002 to 2010 the company acquired several international and US based defence and services companies, and changed name to the VT Group. In 2010 the company was absorbed by Babcock International who retained the UK and international operations, but sold the US based operations to the American Jordan Company, who took the name VT Group.
William Denny and Brothers Limited, often referred to simply as Denny, was a Scottish shipbuilding company.
During the First World War, following a suggestion from three junior officers of the Harwich destroyer force that small motor boats carrying a torpedo might be capable of travelling over the protective minefields and attacking ships of the Imperial German Navy at anchor in their bases, the Admiralty gave tentative approval to the idea and, in the summer of 1915, produced a Staff Requirement requesting designs for a Coastal Motor Boat for service in the North Sea.
Sir John Edward Thornycroft, KBE (1872–1960) was a British mechanical and civil engineer. He worked for the family business of John I. Thornycroft & Company, a shipbuilder to the Royal Navy and others. He played a key role in the early development of destroyers and helped the business to branch into land-based transport as managing director from 1906. During the First World War Thornycroft developed the first coastal motor torpedo boats and launching systems for depth charges and was knighted for his work. He also played a key role in the Second World War, making technical decisions on warship armament. Shortly before his death his son, John Ward Thornycroft succeeded him as chairman and managing director of the company.
Theresa Thornycroft was an English sculptor and painter.
Culver Battery is a former coastal artillery battery on Culver Down, on the eastern side of the Isle of Wight, England. The fortification is one of several Palmerston Forts built on the island following concerns about the size and strength of the French Navy in the late 19th century. It was operational during the First and Second World Wars. The battery was closed in 1956.
The Classic Boat Museum is a museum of boats and of the history of yachting and boating. It is located on the Isle of Wight at two separate sites on either side of the River Medina; The Boat Collection in Cowes, and The Gallery in East Cowes. It is a working museum featuring restoration. Work takes place all year round. In addition to classic boats, the museum contains tools, artefacts, books, photographs, film and archival items that relate to the history of boat building, sailing, yachting, cruising and racing over the last century.
Peral was the first successful full electric battery-powered submarine, built by the Spanish engineer and sailor Isaac Peral for the Spanish Navy, in Arsenal de la Carraca. The first fully capable military submarine, she was launched 8 September 1888. She had one torpedo tube and an air regeneration system. Her hull shape, propeller, periscope, torpedo launcher and cruciform external controls anticipated later designs. Her underwater speed was 3 kn. With fully charged batteries, she was the fastest submarine yet built, with underwater performance levels that matched those of First World War U-boats for a very short period, before her batteries began to drain. For example, the SM U-9, a pre-war German U-boat built in 1908, had an underwater speed of 8.1kn, and an underwater range of 150 km (81 nmi) at 5.8kn, before having to resurface to recharge her batteries. Although advanced in many ways, Peral lacked a means of charging batteries while underway, such as an internal combustion engine, thus had a very limited endurance and range. In June 1890, Peral's submarine launched a torpedo while submerged. It was also the first submarine to incorporate a fully reliable underwater navigation system. However, conservatives in the Spanish naval hierarchy terminated the project despite two years of successful tests. Her operational abilities have led some to call her the first U-boat.
Bembridge Lifeboat Station is an RNLI station located in the village of Bembridge on the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom.
Rachel Mary Parsons (1885–1956), engineer and advocate for women's employment rights, was the founding President of the Women's Engineering Society in Britain on 23 June 1919.
Cleone Benest, also known by the pseudonym C. Griff, was a pioneering motorist, as well as an engineer, and metallurgist. She was one of the first women engineers to pass mechanical examinations of the City and Guilds of London Institute, Royal Automobile Club, and Portsmouth Municipal College. She published articles on engineering and established her own firm which was both managed and run by women. She served as the chair of the Women's Engineering Society from 1922 to 1926.
Eily Keary was a British naval architect, mechanical engineer and aeronautical engineer. She was one of the earliest female associates of the Institution of Naval Architects and the first woman to have her papers given to that institution.
Women have played a role in engineering in the United Kingdom for hundreds of years, despite the various societal barriers facing them. In the 18th and 19th century, there were few formal training opportunities for women to train as engineers and frequently women were introduced to engineering through family companies or their spouses. Some women did have more formal educations in the late 19th century and early 20th century, normally in mathematics or science subjects. There are several examples of women filing patents in the 19th century, including Sarah Guppy, Henrietta Vansittart and Hertha Ayrton.