Feeding the sailors in the 18th and 19th century sailing ships - especially during voyages of discovery or times of fighting such as the Napoleonic Wars - was on eof the most important jobs ob board ship.
But what were the cooking stoves like? Ad was the fire a danger on a wooden ship?
On HM Bark Endeavour (c1770)
The fire for cooking was contained in the fire hearth and the smoke went up the chimney through a funnel to the weatherdeck. Cooking could be done in the oven but the pork and beef was boiled in large round pots which sat in large round holes on the top - next to the hanging net bags into which each mess-table put its 6 pieces of meat and each bag was labled with the table’s name. To prevent heat descending to the wooden deck, beneath the fire hearth was a layer of sand with bricks, slate or stone slabs.
Kevin Boatman Foster offered this description of the firehearth: The fire was contained in a sheet-iron patent galley stove. The stove usually had a hot water tank, several ovens with sheet or cast iron doors, heating surfaces for pans and kettles surrounded by iron pipe railings, and an iron and copper smoke pipe equipped with a damper. It rested in an open-topped sandbox capped with bricks. The galley stove was one of the most complicated machines on board a sailing ship. Small vessels had smaller sheet-iron stoves, capable of baking inside and cooking on top. The simplest version of galley on a sailing ship was an open topped sand box atop bricks for an open fire to heat cook pots. Those were found on larger dhows and other vessels in the Indian ocean as recently as the last hundred years.
The Galley - HMS Warrior 1850 - Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – here the galley had to cater for hundreds of men every day.
Fireheath - HMS Victory (c1770) - replica - Portsmouth Historic Dockyard