Bone ships

During the Napoleonic Wars (1792-1815), French prisoners of war held by the British made ship models from bone. These models were made from the left over bone from their staple diet of mutton stew. Gradually, after each meal, the prisoner would build up a collection of bone which he would submerge for prolonged periods in wet clay to make it pliable, before working on its construction. There are some of these bone ships in our Museum’s shipping collection.