Leyosura (leyosura) wrote in little_details,

laundry aboard ship - early 19th century

I am writing an AU set at the turn of the 19th century during the Napoleonic Wars. Part of the story concerns a journey on a British warship.

I'm trying to find out who would do the laundry for the captain and/or officers aboard ship. I know that their ideas of hygiene and bathing, etc, were very different at that time, and that fresh water for washing would have been scarce on long voyages, but with journeys sometimes lasting months, presumably the captain would have needed a clean shirt at some point?

I know that the duties of a Midshipman at the time included "officer's servant". Would that be just for the captain, or would the other commissioned officers have a servant, too? What did that job entail and did it involve sort sort of laundry duty? Or would this work be delegated to one of the ordinary seamen?

I've researched a number of articles on day-to-day life aboard ship, both for the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but I can find very little mention of it and only as a passing reference such as - "other diseases, such as dysentery and typhus, were avoided through an insistence on keeping the ship, the crew and their clothes clean."

I've also searched various terms such as
laundry 19th century ship
captain's servant
officer's servant
duties of midshipman

I'd appreciate any help you could give me.
Many thanks.
Tags: 1790-1799, 1800-1809, uk: military: historical, ~age of sail, ~boats and other things that float

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