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The Admiralty was the
British government department The departments of the Government of the United Kingdom are the principal units through which it exercises executive authority; a few of them are titled Ministry (government department), ministries. A department is composed of employed officials, ...
responsible for the command of the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
until 1964, historically under its titular head, the Lord High Admiral – one of the
Great Officers of State In the United Kingdom, the Great Officers of State are traditional ministers of The Crown who either inherit their positions or are appointed to exercise certain largely ceremonial functions or to operate as members of the government. This cite ...
. For much of its history, from the early
18th century The 18th century lasted from January 1, 1701 ( MDCCI) to December 31, 1800 ( MDCCC). The term is often used to refer to the 1700s, the century between January 1, 1700 and December 31, 1799. During the 18th century, elements of Enlightenment ...
until its abolition, the role of the Lord High Admiral was almost invariably put "in commission" and exercised by the Lords Commissioner of the Admiralty, who sat on the governing
Board of Admiralty The Board of Admiralty was established in 1628 when Charles I put the office of Lord High Admiral into commission. As that position was not always occupied, the purpose was to enable management of the day-to-day operational requirements of the R ...
, rather than by a single person. The Admiralty was replaced by the
Admiralty Board Admiralty usually refers to: *Admiralty (United Kingdom), military department in command of the Royal Navy from 1707 to 1964 *The rank of admiral *Admiralty law Admiralty can also refer to: Buildings *Admiralty, Trafalgar Square, a pub in Lond ...
in 1964, as part of the reforms that created the
Ministry of DefenceMinistry of Defence or Ministry of Defense may refer to: * Ministry of defence, a type of government department responsible for matters of defence Current ministries * Ministry of Defense (Afghanistan) * Ministry of Defence (Albania) * Ministry ...
and its Navy Department (later Navy Command). Before the
Acts of Union 1707 The Acts of Union ( gd, Achd an Aonaidh) were two Acts of Parliament Acts of parliament, sometimes referred to as primary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary legisl ...
, the Office of the Admiralty and Marine Affairs administered the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
of the
Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or ...

Kingdom of England
, which merged with the
Royal Scots Navy The Royal Scots Navy (or Old Scots Navy) was the of the from its origins in the Middle Ages until its merger with the 's per the . There are mentions in Medieval records of fleets commanded by Scottish kings in the twelfth and thirteenth centu ...
and the absorbed the responsibilities of the Lord High Admiral of the
Kingdom of Scotland The Kingdom of Scotland ( gd, Rìoghachd na h-Alba; sco, Kinrick o Scotland) was a sovereign state in northwest Europe traditionally said to have been founded in 843. Its territories expanded and shrank, but it came to occupy the northern thi ...
with the unification of the
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain,"After the political union of England and Scotland in 1707, the nation's official name became 'Great Britain'", ''The American Pageant, Volume 1'', Cengage Learning (2012) was a s ...

Kingdom of Great Britain
. The Admiralty was among the most important departments of the
British Government The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
, because of the Royal Navy's role in the expansion and maintenance of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
in the 17th century, in the 18th century, and subsequently. The modern
Admiralty Board Admiralty usually refers to: *Admiralty (United Kingdom), military department in command of the Royal Navy from 1707 to 1964 *The rank of admiral *Admiralty law Admiralty can also refer to: Buildings *Admiralty, Trafalgar Square, a pub in Lond ...
, to which the functions of the Admiralty were transferred in 1964, is a committee of the tri-service
Defence Council of the United Kingdom The Defence Council of the United Kingdom is the body legally entrusted with the defence of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. ...
. This Admiralty Board meets only twice a year, and the day-to-day running of the Royal Navy is controlled by a
Navy Board The Navy Board and formerly known as the Council of the Marine or Council of the Marine Causes was the commission with responsibility for day-to-day civil administration of the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, na ...
(not to be confused with the historic
Navy Board The Navy Board and formerly known as the Council of the Marine or Council of the Marine Causes was the commission with responsibility for day-to-day civil administration of the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, na ...
). It is common for the various authorities now in charge of the Royal Navy to be referred to as simply 'The Admiralty'. The title of Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom was vested in the
monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role tha ...
from 1964 to 2011. The title was awarded to
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark,Multiple sources: * * * * later Philip Mountbatten; 10 June 1921 – 9 April 2021), was the husband of Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexand ...
by
Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A constitutional mo ...

Queen Elizabeth II
on his 90th birthday. There also continues to be a
Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom The Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom is an honorary office generally held by a senior Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from the ear ...
and a
Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom The Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom is a now honorary office generally held by a senior (possibly retired) Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scot ...
, both of which are honorary offices.


History

The office of Admiral of England (later Lord Admiral, and later Lord High Admiral) was created around 1400; there had previously been Admirals of the northern and
western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...
seas. King
Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry is best known for Wives of Henry VIII, his six marriages, including his efforts to have his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon ...
established the Council of the Marine—later to become the
Navy Board The Navy Board and formerly known as the Council of the Marine or Council of the Marine Causes was the commission with responsibility for day-to-day civil administration of the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, na ...
—in 1546, to oversee administrative affairs of the naval service. Operational control of the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
remained the responsibility of the Lord High Admiral, who was one of the nine
Great Officers of State In the United Kingdom, the Great Officers of State are traditional ministers of The Crown who either inherit their positions or are appointed to exercise certain largely ceremonial functions or to operate as members of the government. This cite ...
. This management approach would continue in force in the Royal Navy until 1832. King
Charles ICharles I may refer to: Kings and emperors * Charlemagne (742–814), numbered Charles I in the lists of French and German kings * Charles I of Anjou (1226–1285), also king of Albania, Jerusalem, Naples and Sicily * Charles I of Hungary (1288 ...

Charles I
put the office of Lord High Admiral into commission in 1628, and control of the Royal Navy passed to a committee in the form of the
Board of Admiralty The Board of Admiralty was established in 1628 when Charles I put the office of Lord High Admiral into commission. As that position was not always occupied, the purpose was to enable management of the day-to-day operational requirements of the R ...
. The office of Lord High Admiral passed a number of times in and out of commission until 1709, after which the office was almost permanently in commission (the last Lord High Admiral being the future King
William IV William IV (William Henry; 21 August 1765 – 20 June 1837) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England ...

William IV
in the early 19th century). In this organization a dual system operated the Lord High Admiral (from 1546) then Commissioners of the Admiralty (from 1628) exercised the function of general control (military administration) of the Navy and they were usually responsible for the conduct of any war, while the actual supply lines, support and services were managed by four principal officers, namely, the
Treasurer A treasurer is the person responsible for running the treasury A treasury is either *A government department Ministry or department, also less commonly used secretariat, office, or directorate are designations used by a first-level executi ...
,
Comptroller A comptroller is a management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling diff ...
,
Surveyor Surveying or land surveying is the technique, profession, art, and science of determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional positions of points and the distances and angles between them. A land surveying professional is called a land surveyo ...
and
Clerk of the Acts The Clerk of the Acts, originally known as the Keeper of the King's Ports and Galleys, was a civilian officer in the Royal Navy and a principal member of the Navy Board. The office was created by Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland, King C ...
, responsible individually for
finance Finance is a term for the management, creation, and study of money In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed to King George III are contrasted with the beggar whose legs and arms were amputated, in the left corn ...

finance
, supervision of accounts,
Shipbuilding Shipbuilding is the construction Construction is a general term meaning the and to form , , or ,"Construction" def. 1.a. 1.b. and 1.c. ''Oxford English Dictionary'' Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0) Oxford University Press 2009 and c ...

Shipbuilding
and maintenance of ships, and record of business. These principal officers came to be known as the
Navy Board The Navy Board and formerly known as the Council of the Marine or Council of the Marine Causes was the commission with responsibility for day-to-day civil administration of the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, na ...
responsible for 'civil administration' of the navy, from 1546 to 1832. This structure of administering the navy lasted for 285 years, however, the supply system was often inefficient and corrupt its deficiencies were due as much to its limitations of the times they operated in. The various functions within the Admiralty were not coordinated effectively and lacked inter-dependency with each other, with the result that in 1832, Sir James Graham abolished the Navy Board and merged its functions within those of the Board of Admiralty. At the time this had distinct advantages; however, it failed to retain the principle of distinctions between the Admiralty and supply, and a lot of bureaucracy followed with the merger. In 1860 saw big growth in the development of technical crafts, the expansion of more admiralty branches that really began with age of steam that would have an enormous influence on the navy and naval thought. Between 1860 and 1908, there was no real study of strategy and of staff work conducted within the naval service; it was practically ignored. All the Navy's talent flowed to the great technical universities. This school of thought for the next 50 years was exclusively technically based. The first serious attempt to introduce a sole management body to administer the naval service manifested itself in the creation of the
Admiralty Navy War Council The Admiralty Navy War Council was a temporary war planning and naval strategy advising committee of the Admiralty established in October, 1909 under Admiral Fisher it existed until 1911 when it was later replaced by the Admiralty War Staff. Hi ...
in 1909. It was believed by officials within the Admiralty at this time that the running of war was quite a simple matter for any flag officer who required no formal training. However, this mentality would be severely questioned with the advent of the
Agadir crisis The Agadir Crisis, Agadir Incident or Second Moroccan Crisis (also known as the ''Panthersprung'' in German) was a brief international crisis sparked by the deployment of a substantial force of French troops in the interior of Morocco ) , ...
, when the Admiralty's war plans were heavily criticized. Following this, a new advisory body called the
Admiralty War Staff The Admiralty War Staff was the former senior naval staff operational planning organisation within the British Admiralty The Admiralty was the British government department The departments of the Government of the United Kingdom are the ...
was then instituted in 1912, headed by the Chief of the War Staff who was responsible for administering three new sub-divisions responsible for
operations Operation or Operations may refer to: Science and technology * Surgical operation Surgery ''cheirourgikē'' (composed of χείρ, "hand", and ἔργον, "work"), via la, chirurgiae, meaning "hand work". is a medical or dental specialty that ...
,
intelligence Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for abstraction, logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving. More generally, it can be des ...
and
mobilisation Mobilization is the act of assembling and readying military troops A troop is a military sub-subunit, originally a small formation of cavalry Cavalry (from the French word ''cavalerie'', itself derived from "cheval" meaning "horse") ...
. The new War Staff had hardly found its feet and it continually struggled with the opposition to its existence by senior officers they were categorically opposed to a staff. The deficiencies of the system within this
department of state The United States Department of State (DOS), or State Department, is an executive department The United States federal executive departments are the principal units of the Federal government of the United States, executive branch of the fede ...
could be seen in the conduct of the Dardanelles campaign. There were no mechanisms in place to answer the big strategic questions. A
Trade Division Trade involves the transfer of goods and services, goods or services from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. Economists refer to a system or network that allows trade as a market (economics), market. An early form o ...
was created in 1914. Sir John Jellicoe came to the Admiralty in 1916. He re-organized the war staff as following: Chief of War Staff, Operations, Intelligence, Signal Section, Mobilisation, Trade. It was not until 1917 that the admiralty department was again properly reorganized and began to function as a professional
military staff A military staff (often referred to as general staff, army staff, navy staff, or air staff within the individual services) is a group of officers, enlisted and civilian personnel that are responsible for the administrative, operational and l ...
. In May 1917, the term "Admiralty War Staff" was renamed and that department and its functional role were superseded by a new "
Admiralty Naval Staff The Admiralty Naval Staff was the former senior command, operational planning, policy and strategy department within the British Admiralty. It was established in 1917 and existed until 1964 when the department of the Admiralty was abolished. It was ...
"; in addition, the newly created office of Chief of the Naval Staff was merged in the office of the First Sea Lord. Also appointed was a new post, that of Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff, and an
Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff The Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (A.C.N.S.) is a senior appointment in the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from the early mediev ...
; all were given seats on the Board of Admiralty. This for the first time gave the naval staff direct representation on the board; the presence of three senior naval senior members on the board ensured the necessary authority to carry through any operation of war. The Deputy Chief of Naval Staff would direct all operations and movements of the fleet, while the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff would be responsible for mercantile movements and anti-submarine operations. The office of
Controller Controller may refer to: Occupations * Controller or financial controller, or in government accounting comptroller A comptroller is a management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization, whether it is a business, a ...
would be re-established to deal with all questions relating to supply; on 6 September 1917, a
Deputy First Sea Lord The Deputy First Sea Lord (D.F.S.L.) was a senior Royal Navy flag officer on the Board of Admiralty of the Royal Navy. History Rosslyn Wemyss, 1st Baron Wester Wemyss, Vice-Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss was appointed a Lord Commissioner of the Admira ...
, was added to the Board who would administer operations abroad and deal with questions of foreign policy. In October 1917, the development of the staff was carried one step further by the creation of two sub-committees of the Board—the Operations Committee and the Maintenance Committee. The First Lord of the Admiralty was chairman of both committees, and the Operations Committee consisted of the First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, the Deputy First Sea Lord, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff, and
Fifth Sea Lord The Fifth Sea Lord was formerly one of the Naval Lord The Board of Admiralty was established in 1628 when Charles I of England, Charles I put the office of Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom, Lord High Admiral into Commissioner, commission. ...
. The Maintenance Committee consisted of the Deputy First Sea Lord (representing the operations committee),
Second Sea Lord The Second Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (formerly Second Sea Lord) is deputy to the First Sea Lord The First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff (1SL/CNS) is the professional head of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy The ...
(personnel),
Third Sea Lord The post of Controller of the Navy (abbreviated as CofN) was originally created in 1859 when the Surveyor of the Navy's title changed to Controller of the Navy. In 1869 the controller's office was abolished and its duties were assumed by that of ...
(
materiel Materiel or matériel (; ) refers to supplies, equipmentEquipment most commonly refers to a set of tool A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals u ...
),
Fourth Sea Lord The Fourth Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Supplies originally known as the Fourth Naval Lord was formerly one of the Naval Lords and members of the Board of Admiralty which controlled the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom the post is currently known a ...
(transport and stores), Civil Lord, Controller and
Financial Secretary Financial secretary is an administrative Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization, whether it is a business, a not-for-profit organization, or ...
. Full operational control of the Royal Navy was finally handed over to the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) by an
order in Council An Order in Council is a type of legislation in many countries, especially the Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. Each realm functions as an independent state, ...
, effective October 1917, under which he became responsible for the issuing of orders affecting all war operations directly to the fleet. It also empowered the CNS to issue orders in their own name, as opposed to them previously being issued by the Permanent Secretary of the Admiralty in the name of the Board. In 1964, the Admiralty—along with the
War Office The War Office This article contains text from this source, which is available under th Open Government Licence v3.0 © Crown copyright was a Departments of the British Government, Department of the British Government responsible for the adminis ...
and the
Air Ministry The Air Ministry was a department of the Government of the United Kingdom ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govrenment o the Unitit Kinrick , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size=220px, date_established = , state = United ...
—were abolished as separate departments of state, and placed under one single new
Ministry of DefenceMinistry of Defence or Ministry of Defense may refer to: * Ministry of defence, a type of government department responsible for matters of defence Current ministries * Ministry of Defense (Afghanistan) * Ministry of Defence (Albania) * Ministry ...
. Within the expanded Ministry of Defence are the new
Admiralty Board Admiralty usually refers to: *Admiralty (United Kingdom), military department in command of the Royal Navy from 1707 to 1964 *The rank of admiral *Admiralty law Admiralty can also refer to: Buildings *Admiralty, Trafalgar Square, a pub in Lond ...
which has a separate
Navy Board The Navy Board and formerly known as the Council of the Marine or Council of the Marine Causes was the commission with responsibility for day-to-day civil administration of the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, na ...
responsible for the day-to-day running of the Royal Navy, the
Army Board The Army Board is the top single-service management committee of the British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known ...
and the
Air Force Board The Air Force Board of the Defence Council is responsible for the management of the Royal Air Force "Through Adversity to the Stars" , colours = , colours_label = , march = ...
, each headed by the
Secretary of State for Defence The secretary of state for defence, also referred to as the defence secretary, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, with overall responsibility for the business of the Ministry o ...
. This structure remained in place until the department was abolished in 1964; the operational control and this system still remains in place with the Royal Navy today. For the organisational structure of the admiralty department and how it developed through the centuries see the following articles below.


Organizational structure

In the 20th century the structure of the Admiralty Headquarters was predominantly organized into four parts: # The
Board of Admiralty The Board of Admiralty was established in 1628 when Charles I put the office of Lord High Admiral into commission. As that position was not always occupied, the purpose was to enable management of the day-to-day operational requirements of the R ...
, which directs and controls the whole machine chaired by a civilian government minister the
First Lord of the Admiralty The First Lord of the Admiralty, or formally the Office of the First Lord of the Admiralty, was the political head of the English and later British Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is ...
. His chief military adviser was the First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff as the Senior Naval Lord to the board. # The
Admiralty Naval Staff The Admiralty Naval Staff was the former senior command, operational planning, policy and strategy department within the British Admiralty. It was established in 1917 and existed until 1964 when the department of the Admiralty was abolished. It was ...
, advised and assisted the Board in chief strategic and operational planning, in the distributing of fleets and the allocating of assets to major naval commands and stations and in formulating official policy on tactical doctrine and requirements in regard to men and material. In order to deliver this the Naval Staff was organised into specialist Divisions and Sections. When the Admiralty unified with the Ministry of Defence in 1964 they were re designated as Directorates of the Naval Staff. # The Admiralty Departments, which provides the men, ships, aircraft and supplies to carry out the approved policy. The departments are superintended by the various offices of the Sea Lords. # The Department of the Permanent Secretary which was the general co-ordinating agency, regulating naval finance, providing advice on policy, conducing all correspondence on behalf of the Board and maintaining admiralty records. Its primary component to deliver this is the Admiralty Secretariat, sections of the Secretariat (other than those which provide Common Services) were known as Branches. Board of Admiralty When the office of Lord High Admiral was in commission, as it was for most of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, until it reverted to
the Crown The Crown is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

the Crown
, it was exercised by a Board of Admiralty, officially known as the ''Commissioners for Exercising the Office of Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, &c.'' (alternatively of
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
,
Great Britain Great Britain is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), ...

Great Britain
or the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some f ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
depending on the period). The Board of Admiralty consisted of a number of Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. The Lords Commissioners were always a mixture of
admiral Admiral is one of the highest ranks in some navy, navies, and in many navies is the highest rank. In the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth nations and the United States, a "full" admiral is equivalent to a "full" general officer, general in ...

admiral
s, known as Naval Lords or Sea Lords and Civil Lords, normally politicians. The
quorum A quorum is the minimum number of members of a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a meeting of members Member may refer to: * Military jury, referred to as "Members" in military jargon * Element (mathematics), an object that be ...
of the Board was two commissioners and a secretary. The president of the Board was known as the
First Lord of the Admiralty The First Lord of the Admiralty, or formally the Office of the First Lord of the Admiralty, was the political head of the English and later British Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is ...
, who was a member of the
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
. After 1806, the First Lord of the Admiralty was always a civilian, while the professional head of the navy came to be (and is still today) known as the
First Sea Lord The First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff (1SL/CNS) is the professional head of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by Kingdom of England, Eng ...
. Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty (1628–1964) The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty were the members of The Board of Admiralty, which exercised the office of Lord High Admiral when it was not vested in a single person. The commissioners were a mixture of politicians without naval experience and professional naval officers, the proportion of naval officers generally increasing over time. Key Officials First Lord of the Admiralty The First Lord of the Admiralty or formally the Office of the First Lord of the Admiralty was the British government's senior civilian adviser on all naval affairs and the minister responsible for the direction and control of the
Admiralty and Marine Affairs Office Admiralty usually refers to: *Admiralty (United Kingdom) The Admiralty was the British government department responsible for the command of the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although ...
later the Department of Admiralty.(+) His office was supported by the Naval Secretariat. First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff The First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff was the Chief Naval Adviser on the Board of Admiralty to the First Lord and superintended the offices of the sea lords and the admiralty naval staff. Navy Board The Navy Board was an independent board from 1546 until 1628 when it became subordinate to, yet autonomous of the Board of Admiralty until 1832. Its principal commissioners of the Navy advised the board in relation to civil administration of the naval affairs. The Navy Board was based at the
Navy OfficeNavy Office can refer to: * Navy Office (Germany), a command of the German Navy * Navy Office (Royal Navy) a government office (that included the British Navy Board) established in 1546 in England; also its headquarters building in Whitehall, London. ...
. Board of Admiralty civilian members responsible other important civil functions # Office of the Civil Lord of the Admiralty. # Office of the Additional Civil Lord of the Admiralty. # Office of the Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty. Admiralty Naval Staff It evolved from *
Admiralty Navy War Council The Admiralty Navy War Council was a temporary war planning and naval strategy advising committee of the Admiralty established in October, 1909 under Admiral Fisher it existed until 1911 when it was later replaced by the Admiralty War Staff. Hi ...
, (1909–1912) which in turn became the
Admiralty War Staff The Admiralty War Staff was the former senior naval staff operational planning organisation within the British Admiralty The Admiralty was the British government department The departments of the Government of the United Kingdom are the ...
, (1912–1917) before finally becoming the Admiralty Naval Staff in 1917. It was the former senior command, operational planning, policy and strategy department within the British Admiralty. It was established in 1917 and existed until 1964 when the department of the Admiralty was abolished, and the staff departments function continued within the Navy Department of the Ministry of Defence until 1971 when its functions became part of the new Naval Staff, Navy Department of the Ministry of Defence. Offices of the Naval Staff # Office of Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff. # Office of the Vice Chief of the Naval Staff. # Offices of the Assistant Chiefs of the Naval Staff. Admiralty Departments
The Admiralty Departments were distinct and component parts of the Department of Admiralty that were superintended by the various offices of the Sea Lords responsible for them; they were primarily administrative, research, scientific and logistical support organisations. The departments role was to provide the men, ships, aircraft and supplies to carry out the approved policy of the Board of Admiralty and conveyed to them during 20th century by the Admiralty Naval Staff. Offices of the Sea Lords # Office of the Deputy First Sea Lord # Office of the Second Sea Lord. # Office of the Third Sea Lord. # Office of the Fourth Sea Lord. # Office of Fifth Sea Lord Department of the Permanent Secretary The Secretary's Department consisted of members of the
civil service The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leader ...
it was directed and controlled by a senior civil servant Permanent Secretary to the Board of Admiralty he was not a
Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty The Board of Admiralty was established in 1628 when Charles I put the office of Lord High Admiral into commission. As that position was not always occupied, the purpose was to enable management of the day-to-day operational requirements of the R ...
, he functioned as a member of the board, and attended all of its meetings.


Organizational structure by time period


Admiralty Buildings

The Admiralty complex lies between
Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the City of Westminster, Central London. The road forms the first part of the A roads in Zone 3 of the Great Britain numbering scheme, A3212 road from Trafalgar Square to Chelsea, London, Chelsea. It is the main ...

Whitehall
,
Horse Guards Parade Horse Guards Parade is a large parade groundA parade is a procession of people, usually organized along a street, often in costume, and often accompanied by marching bands, floats, or sometimes large balloons. Parades are held for a wide rang ...

Horse Guards Parade
and The Mall and includes five inter-connected buildings. Since the Admiralty no longer exists as a department, these buildings are now used by separate government departments:


The Admiralty

The oldest building was long known simply as ''The Admiralty''; it is now known officially as the Ripley Building, a three-storey U-shaped brick building designed by Thomas Ripley and completed in 1726.
Alexander Pope Alexander Pope (21 May 1688 – 30 May 1744) is seen as one of the greatest English poets and the foremost poet of the early 18th century. He is best known for satirical and discursive poetry, including ''The Rape of the Lock ''The Rape o ...

Alexander Pope
implied that the architecture is rather dull, lacking either the vigour of the
Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style, the features that make a building or structure historically identifiable * Design, the process of creating something * Fashi ...

Baroque
style, fading from fashion at the time, or the austere grandeur of the
Palladian Palladian architecture is a European architectural style An architectural style is a set of characteristics and features that make a building or other structure notable or historically identifiable. It is a sub-class of Style (visual arts), ...
style just coming into vogue. It is mainly notable for being perhaps the first purpose-built office building in Great Britain. It contained the Admiralty board room, which is still used by the Admiralty, other state rooms, offices and apartments for the Lords of the Admiralty.
Robert Adam Robert Adam (3 July 17283 March 1792) was a British neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer This is a list of notable people whose primary occupation is furniture design. A * Alvar Aalto Hugo Alvar Henrik A ...
designed the screen, which was added to the entrance front in 1788. The Ripley Building is currently occupied by the International Development section of the
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is a department Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, division of a larger organization into parts with specific responsibility Government and military *Department (country subd ...
.


Admiralty House

Admiralty House is a moderately proportioned mansion to the south of the Ripley Building, built in the late 18th century as the residence of the First Lord of the Admiralty from 1788. It served that purpose until 1964.
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The hea ...

Winston Churchill
was one of its occupants in 1911–1915 and 1939–1940. It lacks its own entrance from Whitehall and is entered through the Ripley Courtyard or Ripley Building. It is a three-storey building in yellow brick with
neoclassical Neoclassical or neo-classical may refer to: * Neoclassicism or New Classicism, any of a number of movements in the fine arts, literature, theatre, music, language, and architecture beginning in the 17th century ** Neoclassical architecture, an arc ...
interiors. Its rear facade faces directly onto Horse Guards Parade. The architect was
Samuel Pepys Cockerell Samuel Pepys Cockerell (1753–1827) was an English architect. He was a son of John Cockerell, of Bishop's Hull, Somerset, and the elder brother of Sir Charles Cockerell, 1st Baronet Sir Charles Cockerell, 1st Baronet (18 February 1755 – 6 ...
. The ground floor comprises meeting rooms for the Cabinet Office and the upper floors are three ministerial residences.


Admiralty Extension

This is the largest of the Admiralty Buildings. It was begun in the late 19th century and redesigned while the construction was in progress to accommodate the extra offices needed by the naval arms race with the
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. It is a red brick building with white stone, detailing in the Queen Anne style with French influences. It has been used by the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is a Departments of the United Kingdom Government, department of the Government of the United Kingdom. It was created on 2 September 2020 through the merger of the Foreign & Commonwealth Of ...
from the 1960s to 2016. The
Department for Education The Department for Education (DFE) is the UK government department responsible for child protection Child protection is the safeguarding of children from violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect. Article 19 of the UN Convention on th ...
planned to move into the building in September 2017 following the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's decision to leave the building and consolidate its London staff into one building on King Charles Street. A change of contractor (BAM was replaced by
Willmott Dixon Willmott Dixon is a privately owned contracting, residential development and property support business. History The company was founded in 1852, by John Willmott.
Admiralty Arch Admiralty Arch is a landmark building in London providing road and pedestrian access between The Mall, London, The Mall, which extends to the southwest, and Trafalgar Square to the northeast. Admiralty Arch, commissioned by King Edward VII in m ...

Admiralty Arch
is linked to the Old Admiralty Building by a bridge and is part of the ceremonial route from Trafalgar Square to
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Buckingham Palace
. In 2012,
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sold the building on a 125-year lease for £60m for a proposed redevelopment into a Waldorf Astoria luxury hotel and four apartments.


The Admiralty Citadel

This is a squat, windowless
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
fortress north west of Horse Guards Parade, now covered in
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ivy
. See
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for further details.


"Admiralty" as a metonym for "sea power"

In some cases, the term ''admiralty'' is used in a wider sense, as meaning ''
sea power Command of the sea (also called control of the sea or sea control) is a naval military concept regarding the strength of a particular navy A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a Nation's armed forces principally designated ...
'' or ''rule over the seas'', rather than in strict reference to the institution exercising such power. For example, the well-known lines from
Kipling Joseph Rudyard Kipling ( ; 30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936)''The Times ''The Times'' is a British Newspaper#Daily, daily Newspaper#National, national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title ''The Daily Universal Reg ...

Kipling
's ''Song of the Dead'':


See also

* Admiralty administration *
Admiralty chart Admiralty Admiralty usually refers to: * Admiralty (United Kingdom), military department in command of the Royal Navy from 1707 to 1964 *The rank of admiral Admiral is one of the highest ranks in some navy, navies, and in many navies is the h ...
* Admiralty Peak * Navy Department (Ministry of Defence) * List of Lords High Admiral * List of the First Lords of the Admiralty * List of Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty * Lord High Admiral of Scotland * St Boniface's Catholic College


References


Further reading

The Building * Bradley, Simon, and Nikolaus Pevsner. ''London 6: Westminster'' (from the Buildings of England series). New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2003. . * C. Hussey, "Admiralty Building, Whitehall", ''Country Life'', 17 and 24 November 1923, pp. 684–692, 718–726. The Office * Daniel A. Baugh, ''Naval Administration in the Age of Walpole'' (Princeton, 1965). * Sir Sir John Barrow, 1st Baronet, John Barrow, ''An Autobiographical Memoir of Sir John Barrow, Bart., Late of the Admiralty'' (London, 1847). * John Ehrman, ''The Navy in the War of William III: Its State and Direction'' (Cambridge, 1953). * C. I. Hamilton, ''The Making of the Modern Admiralty: British Naval Policy-Making 1805–1927'' (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011). * C. I. Hamilton, "Selections from the Phinn Committee of Inquiry of October–November 1853 into the State of the Office of Secretary to the Admiralty, in ''The Naval Miscellany'', volume V, edited by N. A. M. Rodger, (London: Navy Records Society, London, 1984). * C. S. Knighton, ''Pepys and the Navy'' (Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 2003). * Christopher Lloyd (naval historian), Christopher Lloyd, ''Mr Barrow of the Admiralty'' (London, 1970). * Malcolm H. Murfett, ''The First Sea Lords: From Fisher to Mountbatten'' (Westport: Praeger, 1995). * Lady Murray, ''The Making of a Civil Servant: Sir Oswyn Murray (civil servant), Oswyn Murray, Secretary of the Admiralty 1917–1936'' (London, 1940). * N.A.M. Rodger, ''The Admiralty'' (Lavenham, 1979) * J.C. Sainty, ''Admiralty Officials, 1660–1870'' (London, 1975) * Sir Charles Walker, ''Thirty-Six Years at the Admiralty'' (London, 1933)


External links


The Admiralty
at the ''Survey of London'' online {{Authority control Admiralty, Defunct departments of the Government of the United Kingdom Royal Navy Lords of the Admiralty, * History of the Royal Navy Royal Navy admirals, * 1964 disestablishments in the United Kingdom United Kingdom in World War II Military history of the United Kingdom during World War II