West's 'Our Navy'
Alfred John West F.R.G.S - Film Pioneer
The Turbinia Photographs
Sea Salts and Celluloid Alfred John West (1857-1937) was amongst the first to take a still and moving shot of the 'Turbinia' Turbinia-sm.jpg (39400 bytes)
(G.West and Son, Southsea)

Above: Photo taken by A.J.West in 1897 - courtesy of Siemens UK - from archive sources
Foot of column: Two frame animation of the 'Turbinia' at speed 1897
Below: plan and elevation of the 'Turbinia'

TurbiniaPlan.jpg (21443 bytes)

'It was at this same (1897 Fleet Review at Spithead) Review that a wonderful little vessel named the "Turbinia" appeared, steaming through the Fleet at 35 knots, a speed never before achieved on water. She was the first ship to be fitted with the turbine machinery invented by her owner, the Hon. C. A. Parsons of Newcastle-on-Tyne, and a great sensation was caused by her steaming through the lines at such a speed. Whilst she was at anchor in Portsmouth Harbour, I went aboard and told the owner that I would like to get a snap of his craft going at full speed.

"No one has succeeded yet, although many have tried", replied Mr. Parsons.

"I should like to have a shot at her", I persisted.

"Alright, so you shall!" he said with a smile, "I will make another run through the fleet tomorrow, look out for me between lines A. and B. at noon. That should give you an opportunity."

"I’ll be there, opposite the Flagship", I told him,

Punctually at l2 o’clock there appeared between the leaders of the lines a smother of foam - it was the "Turbinia". As she raced past the Flagship, I was waiting in my launch and took a flying shot of her. When I developed the plate I was delighted to find that I had "got her", and the owner was so pleased with the result that he invited me to take a number of photographs and a cinematograph film of his craft on the Tyne.'

Turbinia today - displayed at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne

In 1927 (and following an accident when she was rammed by a ship being launched), Turbinia was cut in half to enable it to be displayed in London's Science Museum - this Pathe News clip shows the event taking place (NB the clip may be preceded by a short advertisement)

turbinia.gif (37076 bytes) See Also:

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