HMS Victory - the heads

HMS Victory: the crew 'heads'
HMS Victory - the crew heads

For a crew of 821 (At Trafalgar, 1805), personal facilities on Victory are extremely limited. Toilets - no more than a seat with a hole above the waves - were to be found right up in the bow (or head) of the ship. Two small enclosed spaces gave some privacy for the officers. Senior NCOs had a seat on either side of the bow. Ordinary seaman had a bench, each with two holes, placed on either side of the bowsprit and immediately above the creaming bow wave. The deck here was open - in the form of a grating to allow the free sluicing of waves across the area. A seaman wishing to make use of the toilets would go to the head of the ship - toilets aboard ship are now known as the 'heads' - wherever they are.

HMS Victory: the crew 'heads'
View forward - from the NCOs head
The Admiral, Captain and senior officers had their own heads aft - in the outer part of the great stern galleries.

St Vincent 1797 - HMS Victory tour index

Page creation: Peter Milford - St Vincent College, February 1997