Dan Snow and Sian Williams celebrate the best in British history from the HMS Warrior in Portsmouth. They experience what life was like on board a 19th century warship.
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150 years ago the world's newest and largest warship was preparing
to put to sea. A Royal Navy ship so powerful, so intimidating, that no-
one dared challenge her. From HMS Warrior... This is National
APPLAUSE Good evening from Portsmouth and
welcome to National Treasures Live. This ship was the pride of Queen
Victoria's fleet. It it was first big warship to have a hull made of
iron. Even 150 years later she is still an imposing figure. Which is
why we've been joined by hardened Warrior fans. Armour-plated and
loaded with 40 state of the art guns, she never fired a shot in
anger. She didn't have to. Warrior was the ultimate deterrent. She was
the largest, the fastest, the most powerful ship on the ocean.
believe it or not she was the first warship to have walking machines.
It was important to keep the men clean. And what is amazing is how
young the men were. How old are new Five. Eight. 12. Perfect, the
youngest were 12. Is this your mum? Do you think he would be alright on
a ship? I think he would mishis Xbox. He can manage. There would
have been 700 men and boys on board. Tonight we are going deep inside
the ship to find out what it was like for them living and working on
the Warrior. They've spent years working on the sick berth here.
We'll give you a look later on. I will be looking back in history
as I try to explain the history of King Arthur to Michael Douglas. And
our archaeological team in York make a discovery deep in the city
centre. And we want to hear from you. You can either e-mail us:
Or follow us on Twitter. Especially if you have any
questions on naval history. We are going to use them and put Dan on
the spot later. You are making me nervous. These are the daily
rations for every single man on board. It looks like quite a lot.
We'll explain why in a moment. the word "ration" means different
to many people today. MasterChef's Gregg Wallace looked at how a
different sort of rationing created a generation of very incentive
cooks. Nowadays there is an abundance of food in our shops, and
a fine array of food in our markets. We are, literally, spoilt for
choice. It is easy to forget but there was a time when British
resourcefulness was stretched to the limit, when nifty and busy
people had to find cost-effective ways to feed the country. That was
during 19421939, almost immediately after war was declared with Germany,
Nazi U-boats attacked our merchant ships in the hope of starving
Britain into defeat. But that was a serious problem, because back then
Britain imPorthed 55 million tonnes of food and produced only enough
home-grown to feed one in three of us. The Government decided to
control the supply of food. On January 8th 1940 introduced
rationing. Meet Terrence charman from the
Imperial War Museum. What effect did rationing have on the people?
It it was basic food-stuffs: sugar, bacon and, disastrously for the
British, team. One could say the Second World War really saw the
birth of the queue. There's no more. Has it gone? That's the lot.
Government introduced campaigns to encourage families to grow their
own food. People were urged to use gardens and every piece of spare
land - parks, railway embankments, tennis courts. All were turned into
allotments. Surprisingly, no place seemed out of bounds. Even the moat
at the Tower of London was turned into a great big vegetable patch!
People were encouraged to Pete more potatoes and then carrots. The
Ministry of Food created two cartoon figures, so there was
Potato Pete and Dr Carrot. The ministry had this rumour that our
night-fighter aces could see in the dark because they ate carrots. The
encourage ment was to eat your carrots. It could very successful
as well. Recycling I imagine was very important? Nothing was thrown
away. Recycling of newspapers, cardboard, meat bones. Bones?
because the Ministry of Supply told people that enough glycerine was
produced bay chop bone to provide am mission for a Hawker Firearm. It
encouraged people to think they were making a positive contribution
to the defence of their country. But it wasn't just a question of
being frugal. Mothers had to skillfully conjure up tasty dishs
with meagre rations. In fact putting a proper meal on the table
was one of life's biggest challenges. Popular shows like The
Kitchen Front with shared cooking and house-keeping tips to make
rations go further. Blimey, I would like to cook his goose fer a
tenner! This man knows how to make the best from what he's got. What
is he making? This is parsnip whip. I'm pureing it with banana
flavouring. Sorry, chef, but that smells like a bowl of parsnip!
is mock cream. How can you mock up cream? Flour, butter and water.
only consolation was knowing most Germans were eating worse than you
were. What is this? This is squirrel and rabbit stew. Where
would you get squirrel and rabbit? Some schools had rows of rabbit
hutches one for the head -- one for each children. At the end of the
term they would whack it on the head with a piece of led and take
it home. This is rabbit stew. Rabbit's alright. And squirrel?
Have some dessert. What is that? Parsnip. It tastes like custard and
potato. If you had that once a week could you manage? Yes, it is not
that bad. Do you like that? That is squirrel. It fasts Lammy. If that
taste -- it tastes the like lamb. If that tastes like lamb I would
change your butcher. I honestly believe without the control of our
food, without feeding ourselves and our armed forces on dishes just
like this, we wouldn't have endured, we wouldn't have got through and we
wouldn't have won the war. Rations, get your rations. Get 'em while
they are hot. They're lovely. We've left the upper deck and we are in
the heart of the ship. This is the galley. It would have prepared food
for 700 men. A very important part of the ship. A hungry ship is an
unhappy ship. We've been joined by Greg. Surely that squirrel was
horrible wasn't it? It is not that much meat on it and it's a little
bit greasey. You put a brave face on it. If anybody at home is
feeling brave enough to try out these recipes they are on our
website. Last week we asked tow get in touch
with any of your own rationing recipes passed down the generations.
We've got loads. Greg has a family interest. Dorothy Devereaux, a
recipe for making stale bread fresh, dip it in cold milk and water and
put it into the oven. This is almost like a mudding. This sounds
like a good pudding. Would that work? Stephanie Clarke is from East
Grinstead. She's brought a book of recipes for -- with her. This is
very kind of you. Your mum made meticulous notes. Yes, she kept all
the cuttings from the war. She still makes the stuffed heart she
used to make. We grew up on that. Pretending it was something else.
Yes. What is this? This is a cutlet. This looks like a lovely cutlet.
Greg, did you want this? With the do you reckon? Tastes like cheese
and potato. It's the cheesy flour and water paste really. I thought
this was a bone. It is supposed to make it look like a bone. Thank you
for bringing that in. That's really a treasure. Back 100 years
rationing on board the HMS Warrior was luxurious compared to this.
was. No cheese cutlets on board here. The conditions where the men
may have eaten may have been camped. Would have got 300 people here, so
-- cramped. You would have got 300 people here. This is what they ate.
This is one day's ration for one man. I'm here with Andrew Baines,
chief historian for the HMS Warrior. The men ate extremely well. It is
incredibly high calorie this, do it. 4,000 calories per man per day.
Double what we recommend now. These guys were undertaking physically
demanding work. They were using a large gun and were up and down the
rigging. It was important to keep the men healthy. The Navy had
invested a lot in them. Absolutely. It is made easier by giving them
the right amount of the right type of food. The Captain and officers
would have Eton same. Why sit important for everybody to get the
same radiations? It is very important that everyone got the
same. I notice you are not tucking into the ship's biscuit. Give it a
go. That's where the men ate. This is the 6.5 tonne gun. Geengs. This
is the hammocks where they would have slept. Can you imagine five or
six of these strung up and the way white have moved at sea. Is that
comfortable for you? It is wonderful. We've got burly men here.
They relaxed here as well, the men. You are performing an interesting
activity here, which I doubt any of you will have done before. This is
embroidery. A leisure time. We can't get our paint out, we haven't
got the room, so we would have a piece of cloth that the men would
embroider. And you can roll it up and put it away. This dates from
1864. What do you do for a livering? I'm a construction site
manager. Have you going to take that on site with new I don't think
so! They seem to be at home. The team here have been celebrating its
150th anniversary. Other historians have been celebrating something
much, much older. Two weeks ago archaeologists working in York city
centre made an amazing discovery. Joe Crowley was lucky enough to be
there. Amongst the great historical
buildings of York city centre a team of archaeologists have made a
remarkable discovery - a Roman cemetery has been hidden deep
underground for almost 2,000 years. Over the last 18 months, 50graves
have been uncovered. They've given the archaeologists a fresh insight
into Roman burials and their belief in the afterlife. Today I'm going
to help them dig what they believe could be another grave. Tom, I'm
excited. I want to keep dig. If possible I will lend you a hand, if
that is OK. Yep. If you want to take this trowel and slowly scrape
away. That looks quite light. It could be bone. Just a bit of stone
today. That's probably from the Roman period, that stone, but still
it is just a bit of stone. The cemetery lies just outside what was
the main fortress of Eboricum, the Roman name for yofrpblgt We were
close to the River Foss. This was a wet Roman road, a river. As people
come round, they would see this low cemetery on the hillside beside the
river. Maybe that says something about identity. Maybe the people
who were buried here carried out their lives on the river. Maybe
they traded a lot. Maybe the people themselves came from abroad and
their life was about trade and river connections and river
transport. And eventually settled down, lived here and then died and
were buried here as well. At our grave inside the mud, a discovery.
Tom, you think we are just starting to scratch the surface of some
bones, is that right? Yes, we have a human long been here, probably a
femur, the upper leg bone. And this is a kneecap? I think so yes.
like you said, looking like a stone. I might have turfed that out.
could be the pelvis area. It could be the start a vertebra. Progress
As the skeleton starts to take shape, we discover more than just
bones. We just got some teeth up here. Teeth? Yeah. They're in
amazing condition. I know we have been looking at this person all the
way through, but suddenly seeing teeth is for me an extremely human
aspect because they look like they would have looked 1700 years ago.
When you find the skull and it takes shape, that's when it really
hits you, this is a person we're digging up. It's in the just bones
in the ground. Now, Tom has found something
particularly excited (SIC) and perhaps a little bit unexpected.
Just hear I found a ring. It's in the area of the hand, so it
probably would have been on the finger. It is immaculate condition.
It looks brilliant. It's a first for this site as well. A first for
this site? Yeah, it's absolutely amazing. There we go. That's
definitely very much one of a kind that you found. Yeah, but actually,
there's another one underneath it. It's so exciting, and I have to say
it's the personal nature of it, and this person wore these two rings
probably next to each other, and here they are. In graves elsewhere
on the site other objectss have been discovered, bracelets,
necklace beads and a perfume bottle. Hats off to them that they knew how
to make beautiful things just so intricate, so gorgeous. We've not
seen anything like this excavated in York for about a hundred years.
It's just perfect. You could go out and wear that tomorrow. What's most
fascinating about the grave goods is what they tell us about Roman
beliefs in the afterlife. These objects have been placed with the
bodies. These objects are an expression of the living person in
the afterlife. When you go on a voyage, you want to look good, so
the woman was buried with her best jewellery. She was buried with
perfume to smell fantastic as well. Obviously, when you're going on a
voyage, you need a lot of food and drink. Believe it or not, we even
found some remains of a chicken as well, so you've got both food and
drink for the afterlife. What a day. Look what has been uncovered. It's
pretty much a whole skeleton. We've got the teeth. Oui got these
incredible rings, which are such an intimate connection to this person
and a first for this site - so, so exciting, and all of this -
incredibly well preserved from 1700 years ago.
Peter Connolly is joining us now. Thank you so much for coming down
and for bringing these rings. I can hardly restrain this man here.
I touch it? Go on. Pick it up. That's 2,000 years. That's
unbelievable. Were these decorative or could they have been symbolic?
They're both, to tell the truth. They're decorative, lovely, but
they mean something. They're a display. We can make that
connection to the past just through the ring itself. That's incredible.
It would have been worn by someone. It would have. Since we made that
film a couple of weeks ago you have found more, haven't you Yeah,
around the grave Joe was excavating, we found another six graves, and
just last week, just last Friday, we found a complete French simian
imported bowl, beautiful, beautiful things. Know the project is going
to continue, so stay in touch and we'll let everybody know how it
goes. This gun deck might be difficult to
get around but it offered protection. That's key. It was
meant to compete with the French. They launched a ship with iron
plates on the side. We launched a ship that was 50% bigger and
completely made of iron. The hull was made of iron. It was such a
success, nobody would be able to take her on. That didn't mean
sailing her wasn't a dangerous business. Yes, it was very
dangerous onboard because the men faced a daily battle against the
enemies - against disease, against industrial injuries. This is the
place where they would have been treated. This is the sick berth.
This is how it would have looked in 1861. So although the men never
faced any battles at sea, they were prepared for the worst here. Andrew
Baines is with me. Hello. This is the surgeon's table. It looks wide.
It is wide because it could have had two surgeries. I don't like the
look of these implements. These are used for amputations, the knife for
cutting through skin and the sore for bone. Always carry a spare
blade because these go blunt. they have been performing a lot of
amputations? How quickly would you have been able to do one?
fastest surgeons in the day, 28 seconds. With a primitive
anaesthetic? Yes, mainly chloroform. And flammable, we should say, which
means you can't have lightbulbs. they would have been very, very low
indeed. So a blunt sword and dim light, not ideal. This is the
medicine cabinet where they would have put together all the medicines
for illnesses. There is one thing the men were particularly afraid of.
Explain this. It just looks like a ball bearing. The Victorians were
very much obsessed with purging, getting rid of the badness out of
the bottle. This is called an everlasting pill. It's a tablet.
You swallow it. Your stomach acids Corode. Makes you sick. You pass it.
The assistant washes it off, and there it waits for the next patient.
It's used again! I'll tell you what. You can have it back. Thank you
very much. This is the first time anyone has
seen Warrior's sick berth refurbished. If you want another
look, it will be open tomorrow. Restoring something like HMS hls
takes a huge amount of research, obviously. The team here have been
using research from the descendants of the men who lived onboard and
photos of it in its prime, but what happens when there is no evidence
and the history between myth and truth gets blurred? That's one
thing I tried to tackle with the One Show's hairdresser on the
second leg of our history road trip. You're up there tonight, by the way.
It's horrible up there! That is the worst sound I have ever heard from
a kettle. I thought it was you for a minute. So it's King Arthur Day
today, my favourite. Yes, it is. Don't get over-excited because the
problem with King Arthur is it's not clear he existed. Did he exist
or didn't he? Is it worth doing? the end of today you'll know a lot
more. Yeah, about something that didn't exist or did it exist? Did
it or didn't it exist? So why are we going to Somerset? Because
presumably, if he was a King, he'd just live in London, would he not?
He came from one small part of England, Wales or maybe parts of
Scotland. Do you want to narrow that down a little bit? He came
from maybe England and Wales or Scotland? Not Ireland? No. Thank
goodness for that. But this country, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, this
is an area especially in connection with the Arthur myth. This better
be worth its snow. You owe me a pair of shoes. You know that don't
you? The Romans were split into these tribes quite hostile to each
other. The Romans come along and everything falls into disrepair.
Then when the Romans leave everyone has a go. The Saxons come across
the North Sea. The Scandinavians come. War has come back to Britain.
And this is the magnificent remains Well, "magnificent" isn't the word
I would use, really. It's epic in its scale, isn't it? Epic,
magnificent. It's a bit of a big hill. There was a kingdom here that
managed to hold back the Saxons. People have said perhaps Arthur was
in charge of that kingdom that threw back the Saxons and protected
the Britons. What are we talking about? 400 AD? Yeah, 400, 500 AD.
No-one wrote much down because it was so chaotic. Where was the round
table, then,? Was it around here?S Of things like the round table and
Merlin, they were added by medieval authors. Hang on. There is a
difference between Merlin because he's magical and a basic round
table. You can't go, Merlin and the round table. Presumably, there was
a tail, and it could have been round... Yes. How do you think the
round table could have been? How many people were sat around it?
About 38. Really? LAUGHTER
You do know Camelot is a theme park, don't you? Junction 27 on the M6.
So where are we going next? We're going to that beautiful hill over
there, Glastonbury Toll. My big problem with history is it's always
at the top of a big, flipping hill. That's because hills are strategic
points. That's where you want to be if the Saxons are stampeding around.
This is one of the great sites in the west of England. It used to be
surrounded by marshes and water. It used to be an island. There is a
strong possibility this was Avalon, that great myth that appears in all
the tales. Where is the sword and the stone? People claim it's in
different places. Another version is a hand came out of the lake that
surrounded this... What? The lady in the lake gave him a sword.
you think in 2,000 years' time they'll go, oh, there were some
rings and a man with a white beard called demandoff and people will
think that Lord of the Rings is real in the way we think King
Arthur is real. That's why you need historians, to work out what is
real and what isn't. Down there there is an abbey. Allegedly he
came here in his final battle. he died down there? That's one of
the interpretations. OK, OK. here at Glastonbury Abbey in the
late 12th century, the 1190, the monks, amazingly, dug into the
ground just near here and found the tomb supposedly of Arthur and his
Queen Guinevere. This is where the myth begins? It does because the
monks here, they know that the most crowd-pleasing thing they could
ever do is discover Arthur. Thousands of people came here and
pilgrimed. It was fantastic for business. This is where they
reburied this alleged King Arthur. Oh, is it? And the King of England
came. It was a massive ceremony. He could still be down there. Really?
Yeah. Let's get a spade. I believe the legend is probably based on
some real events. What's more important than all of that is
people think it's true. That's what's really interesting about
history is the myth is almost more important than reality because
myths change the way we think of ourselves and our society. If you
believe it, it will happen. Yeah. can live with that. Merlin, is he
He seems to be making some progress, isn't he, with Michael? It's slow.
He's trying. Getting there, absolutely. Thank you so much for
all your questions coming in on Twitter. As we said at the
beginning Dan doesn't know what these questions will be. First from
Gregg. This is an e-mail "Have there been any females onboard?" I
believe he means serfs. In the 19th century, no, the Victorians didn't
like that kind of thing. In the 1700s, lots of women onboard, legal
and illegal. Some cauld through the gun ports. This is a Tweet from
Harry, "Is it true Nelson was seasick? How was it cured?" I know
this. The greatest sailor that's ever lived was seasick. I was
terribly seasick when I was a kid. My dad used to say, "Don't worry,
son. Nelson was seasick." There was no cure. He used to have to line
his cot and two or three days later he'd be right as rain. Didn't have
one of those everlefting pills? You have a question. What happened to
Warrior this beautiful old ship? good question. It was part of a
revolution. Eventually the revolution outgrew it. The guns got
more powerful. Like your laptop or mobile phone, it was out of date.
Couldn't even sell it for scrap. Thank you very much. We will leave
you with Stephanie because we know you want more of those cheese
cutlets. Now, Sian is very excited about next week's show. Absolutely.
We're headed for Stratford. We're going to join hundreds at the site
of an archaeological dig at shax peer's house. We're going to be
planting a time capsule, so if you have any suggestions of what should
go in it, get in touch. Thank you so much for all your messages.
Live from the majestic HMS Warrior in Portsmouth, Dan Snow and Sian Williams continue their series celebrating the best in British history. They experience what life was really like on board a nineteenth century warship, whilst Masterchef's Gregg Wallace investigates the ingenious recipes that were cooked up during rationing in the Second World War. Plus, Joe Crowley makes a remarkable discovery in a two thousand year old Roman grave.