Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Another in our "Key Word Search Series"


File:SirRobertPhillimore.jpgImage result for Image of an Oar MAce of Admiralty
Sir Robert Phillimore was the last judge of the historic court of the Lord High Admiral of England. (PD-1996) and Chief Justice Ian Kawaley of Bermuda presiding over a Special Session, with the Silver Oar below (courtesy of Department of Communication and Information, Bermuda).

 I used to watch movies like "MASTER AND COMMANDER" or video series like the HORATIO HORNBLOWER series, and read related fiction on the era and marvel at how on earth the writers could come up with such stories, details, and authenticity. Then someone gave me a gift of a book of written British Prize Court decisions from the era. Each decision outlines and provided considerable detail on some amazing "sea stories" that actually happened. Each decision could have easily been the basis for a book or film. The stories that ended up being litigated in the prize court after passing through the hands of skilled Hollywood writers made for some amazing cinematography. So if the subjects of maritime and admiralty law can be so photogenic, why are the people, objects, places, and processes of admiralty law not considered photogenic?    Of course there is only one reason why we ever came up with this question. We recently were the referral site for a key word searcher looking for , of all things, a "coffee table book on maritime law". We of course assumed that they meant a traditional large volume heavy with photographs that the book industry typically calls a "coffee table book". We knew they didn't find an answer in our pages we have certainly never reviewed such a publication. So we searched Amazon and Books in Print. Apparently the world of professional photographers and photo publishers have over looked the admiralty courts as a photogenic subject. Unfortunately, we have no such book to suggest here, our search was in vain. But we actually think that the admiralty courts of the world are in fact filled with interesting and photogenic people, customs, and artifacts, and historical illustrations of past practices. To prove that such a book is possible and potentially interesting we decided to comb the public domain for interesting related images for this, our photo essay on admiralty law. Maybe we'll inspire some photographer to assemble a book.

A link to: Canute Road Conservation Area – Draft Appraisal .  This study of a historic area of South Hampton, England contains many contemporary photos, some historic photos, and historic drawings of the area around the location of the "Admiralty Gallows".  Constructed seaward of the high tide mark, within "admiralty jurisdiction" it was there that convicted pirates were led to their deaths proceeded in solemn procession by a court officer holding aloft the "silver oar mace of admiralty". We have a colonial version of such a mace depicted at the top of this post. We aren't showing any of the photos from this site here due our inability to confirm that the unaccredited photos in the report which appears to be a local government report are in the public domain. The collection also includes a photo of the former headquarters of the White Star Line, owners of the Titanic where the families of the crew gathered to await word of the fate of their loved ones.

File:Edward Teach Commonly Call'd Black Beard (bw).jpg One of the most famous criminal defendants ever to appear before a court of admiralty Edward Teach aka "Black Beard", the pirate (PD-old-100). There are many other public domain images of Black Beard.

drawing  An image of the Marshalsea, an admiralty prison in London from a print believed dated1773 (PD-old-100)

 The Tower of London, housed a few famous defendants before the British Court of Admiralty. (PD-

Vera Kratochvil )

 The Tower of London from a print dated 1832 (PD-old-100)
  The U.S. District Court House and Customs House at Galveston Texas. U.S. Federal District Courts are the courts of admiralty jurisdiction in America. At the Customs house merchant ships are entered and cleared through customs . (Licensed under Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported by photographer Nsaum75

 Jose V. Toledo Federal Building Houses the Admiralty court for Puerto Rico. (PD-donation of Osvaldo Ocasio)


Wax figure of a pirate from  Madame Tussauds,museum London, executed at the London Dock on order of the Admiralty Court  (PD, Photographer:Wolcott)

File:Executiondock.jpg The hanging of a pirate at London's Execution Dock, last used in 1830. (PD-old-100)

ENFORCERS OF ADMIRALTY LAW TODAY: Coast Guards are the usual long arms of the admiralty law at sea

  U.S. Coast Guard (photo U.S.Navy ) 

U.S. Coast Guard photo ID 090826-G-7510C-020  -The Japanese Coast Guard   

Photo by Chief Petty Officer Aaron Glover : Members of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA performing typical "coast guard" functions for Malaysia, one of the best small "coast guards" in the world)


 Louisiana Admiralty Lawyer

Robert J. Young Jr.

File:SirRobertPhillimore.jpg  Sir Robert Phillimore  whose photo graced our opening of this post dressed a bit more formally in the old days.

 We hope we've provided enough photographic food for thought that some enterprising professional photographer will consider a traditional coffee table book on maritime or admiralty law. Our research tells us there isn't much, if anything. on the market now. Our demographic research indicates a potential market of admiralty lawyers, judges, paralegals, law clerks and investigators around the English speaking world of thousands. The enforcers, the coast guards of the world represent another market, the U.S. Coast Guard alone has about 42,000 active duty members, about 8, 000 reserve members, over 40,000 auxiliary members and about 11,000 civilian employees. Just about every coastal nation has some form of coast guard. Many images are available free in the public domain. Some need to be captured but travel and production costs need not be prohibitive. We think an initial run of 1500 copies would sell out rather quickly.
This on line photo essay is likely to be about as far as we will ever take the idea. We really aren't in the publishing business. Our business is helping the public to find their needed maritime / nautical information where ever it is. In the case of the "Coffee Table Book on Admiralty or Maritime Law" the photo data appears to be as yet unorganized and formally presented. We hope we made a start here.

Johnas Presbyter, Editor

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