Tuesday 19th September is officially Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Sadly as we have no actual pirates working in Archives & Collections that we can ask about pirating, we’ve done the next best thing and found some pirate themed treasures to give us some inspiration…
Among our printed reference collection, we came across the perfect book to share with you – A History of the Lives and Exploits of the most remarkable Pirates, Highwaymen, Murderers, Street Robbers etc. by Captain Charles Johnson, published in 1742. The volume contains biographies of many questionable characters, including Blackbeard himself! Also making the cut were women pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read, although as they didn’t command any ships, it seems being a female pirate was enough to warrant inclusion on the list of dastardly individuals.Pirates were not just on the High Seas. We also found numerous references to pirates in the papers of Boulton & Watt, for trying to steal and pirate their patented engine technology! One of their engines was made for H. M. Navy and used for the defence against pirates. Two 50 horse power side lever boat engines were made for the Navy Steamer Pluto in the 1830s. The engines were made in 1826 but not appropriated to the Pluto until 1830. In March 1832, Pluto was about to proceed to the African coast, her first service. According to the Catalogue of Old Engines she was armed with two long 18 pounder guns for the suppression of pirates on the Bahama Banks. Pluto was broken up in 1861.
Considering we are the furthest most point from any coastal waters where pirates might be a hidin’, there is still much to be unearthed about these dastardly ne’er do wells me hearties!
Should you wish to make the most of this day, you can learn how to talk like a pirate here (although other websites I’m sure will be available!)
You can also discover more about pirates at the National Archives.