Artifact Spotlight: Brass Model of HMS Holland 1, 2005

1. J.P. Holland
---Joshua Howard, Curatorial Volunteer

 Few vehicles have captured the imagination more than that of the submarine. Submarines have been written about in works of science fiction, popular literature, and military tactics for hundreds of years. This week’s artifact in spotlight is a solid brass model of the HMS Holland 1 which was custom built in England.

The first submarine named Holland was designed by John Phillip Holland, an Irish immigrant who owned the John P. Holland Torpedo Boat Company of Elizabeth, New Jersey. J.P. Holland originally built this vessel for the United States Navy. The USS Holland (Submarine Torpedo Boat 1) was launched March 17, 1898 and was officially purchased by the Navy in October of 1900. By that time the Electric Boat Company bought Holland's operation and the submarine’s design was licensed and purchased by the Royal Navy. In 1901 the Royal Navy launched the HMS Holland 1 in Barrows-in-Furness. Both vessels were decommissioned in 1913. 

2. Brass Model of HMS Holland 1
The USS Holland  was commissioned, tested, and fitted out in Newport before being shipped to the US Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1901. She spent the majority of her career in the Chesapeake Bay training personnel at Annapolis and later at Norfolk.

The HMS Holland was 63 feet long and displaced 105 tons when submerged. She was manned by a crew of eight and was able to carry three 18 inch torpedoes that she fired out of her one torpedo tube. Many in the Royal Navy were against the idea of submarines, calling them “underhanded, unfair, and Un-English.” The submarine showed great promise as a defense craft for ports but was believed incapable of offensive actions. HMS Holland spent much of her career in the harbor of Portsmouth. By 1913, a new and improved offensive fleet of submarines was underway and Holland was declared obsolete. Under tow to the scrapyard in 1913, the HMS Holland sank. In 1981 she was located and salvaged. The pioneer design is now located at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in a climate controlled gallery for the public to experience.

This brass model, currently on display in the museum's Torpedo Exhibit, was commissioned by Trevor Williamson and dontated to the museum in honor of his grandfather John William Kershaw Pope, who was a crew member of the HMS Holland 1 and Holland 3. Williamson had two other models built for display in England. One of the models is now located in the Royal Navy Submarine Museum along with the original vessel. The other was presented to the city of Derby in honor of Pope, the city's first submariner.

1. Courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command
2. Courtesy of the Naval War College Museum


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