Navy Board

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The Navy Board, occasionally called the Navy Office, was the government bureau responsible for the day-to-day running of the Royal Navy. While the Admiralty issued officers' commissions, ordered the disposition of fleets and individual ships and (in sometimes uneasy harness with the King's ministers) decided naval policy, it was the Navy Board which built and maintained the ships and dealt with provisions and manpower. It also appointed the warrant officers such as the master, gunner, carpenter and surgeon (see Royal Navy ranks).

The Board was under the direction of a Controller (sometimes archaically spelt Comptroller), usually a naval officer of some reputation, assisted by two Surveyors (three from 1813), who were in charge of ship design, and also by a varying number of Commissioners, including the heads of the naval dockyards. In 1801 the Controller was Sir Andrew Snape Hammond and the Surveyors were Sir William Rule and Sir John Henslow.

Until 1806 the Board presided over three largely autonomous departments with particular areas of responsibility: the Victualling Board for food and drink, the Transport Board for conveying soldiers, prisoners etc. to and from their destinations, and the Sick and Hurt (or Sick and Wounded) Board for matters of health. The latter two were amalgamated in 1806.

The Board's headquarters was at Somerset House in The Strand, London, on the north bank of the Thames.

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