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The role, work, and careers of clerks and other non-political appointees in the Office of Ordnance - presentation

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posted on 29.03.2019, 09:42 authored by Gareth ColeGareth Cole
The slides from a presentation given at the 2019 British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (BSECS) annual conference on 4-6 January 2019 at St Hugh's College, Oxford.

The slides have been uploaded in .pptx and .pdf format.

Paper abstract:

The administration of war in the long eighteenth century has begun to receive much needed attention in recent years. However, many works focus on the political appointees and only mention the more junior, non-political, staff in passing. In contrast, this paper will focus on the clerks, storekeepers etc. who were the backbone of the Office of Ordnance during the long eighteenth century. Although the paper will focus on the period of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, the earlier eighteenth century will be used as a comparison.


The Ordnance was an international organisation with yards and out-stations throughout the world (especially by 1815) as well as in the British Isles. The paper will demonstrate that many Ordnance clerks and storekeepers worked across the globe at a number of these establishments in order to progress through the ranks.


In addition to outlining the work and careers of the Ordnance officials the paper will examine what happened to the employees when they left Ordnance service – either through old age or through dismissal. Many employees also died in service and the paper will also describe how the Ordnance contributed to looking after the dependents of those who had served.

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