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William Henry White

(1845—1913) naval architect


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(1845–1913), naval architect and the director of naval construction for the British Admiralty from 1885 to 1902. Born at Devonport on February 2, 1845, White was the youngest son of Richard White, a currier. White's brilliance was recognized during his time as an apprentice at Devonport, and he was sent to the Royal School of Naval Architecture, where he graduated at the top of an outstanding class in 1867. As a young man he made important contributions to the designs of the Sir Edward J. Reed and Nathaniel Barnaby eras, as well as to theories of ship stability and strength. Following a visit to France, White became an advocate for steel hulls. His lectures at the Royal Naval College led to his Manual of Naval Architecture (1877), which ran to many editions and was translated into several languages. In 1880 he produced a report on the recruitment and career development of Admiralty design staff and dockyard officers. This report led in 1883 to the formation of the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors, which was to dominate the naval architecture scene in the United Kingdom for a hundred years.

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From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Maritime History.


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