A detailed builder’s model of the largest of the 32 rum vats that would eventually be installed at the Royal Navy provisioning yard at Deptford.
Deptford was the largest of four “victualling yards” which the Navy used at the time, the others being Portsmouth, Plymouth and Haulbowline in Ireland.
Altogether, the vats would hold a total of 230,000 gallons of rum! Rather than being simple holding vats, they were also designed to enable the diluting of the rum before it was distributed throughout the Royal Navy.
The rum ration was not abolished until just before the outbreak of the First World War, and the rum arrived at the dockyard with a rough proof of 40%. This was reduced to 4.5% proof or below, before being decanted into smaller barrels and being shipped all over the world.
The daily rum ration for sailors in the British Navy began in 1687, and was only abolished in 1970! Up until 1740, the rum ration was as much as half a day, before being reduced to the standard 70 millilitres.
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