Feedback

Ship’s Biscuit

At the entrance to Royal William Yard, on top of an old ship's millstone sits a marble slab, engraved to illustrate the two staples of a traditional Navy diet: Ship's Biscuit or 'Hardtack' and salted beef.

Photograph of a large granite slab with recipes engraved on the sideCategory: Permanent
Date: 1999
Location: View on our Public Art Map [desktop and tablet; requires Google sign-in]
Find the location on a mobile
Commissioner:
Plymouth City Council

 

Project Description

At the entrance to Royal William Yard, on top of an old ship’s millstone sits a marble slab, engraved to illustrate the two staples of a traditional Navy diet: Ship’s Biscuit or ‘Hardtack’ and salted beef.

The marble slab mounted on top of an old ships millstone is engraved on one side with the recipe for Ship’s Biscuit and a ‘butcher’s map’ on the other.

The millstone relates to the production of Ship’s Biscuit’, which sailors ate on board ship instead of bread due to its hard consistency, which made it able to withstand rough handling and extreme conditions. The engraving on the opposite side of the marble slab is a copy of a ‘butcher’s map’ showing the various cuts, which relates to the secondary staple of the Navy diet – salted beef.

Photograph of the stone engraving of the recipe for Ships Biscuit

The sculpture is situated on a historic site designed by engineer John Rennie as a place to keep the Royal Navy fed and watered. The yard had its own brewery, bakery and slaughterhouse. In 1992 the Royal Navy left Royal William Yard and it has since been sensitively redeveloped to create an iconic setting for contemporary restaurants, galleries, apartments and businesses.

Close up of carved marble with a butchers map showing cuts of meat