On board HMS Medusa, 1802-1810: A new online exhibition

Archive Services are pleased to make available online for the first time, a rare logbook, charting a Scottish sailors’ life on one of Nelson’s ships.

Andrew Service, born in Port Glasgow in 1781, served on the HMS Medusa as a sailor in the Royal Navy, and travelled around the world to the Mediterranean, the East and West Indies and the North and South Americas. The logbook charts his experiences during the Napoleonic Wars, on board Nelson’s 38-gun frigate as it did battle in the North and South Atlantic in the early 1800s. The logbook provides an unusual, ‘below decks’ perspective on the events, as official logs were kept by officers.

The logbook is extremely fragile, and conservation took place before digitisation and transcription of the entries. The transcripts were compiled by history student Emily Graham, as part of the University’s Club 21 work experience programme.

Emily said: “The most difficult part of deciphering Andrew Service’s handwriting was the names of the places that the ship visited…there are still a few that we have to crack and I hope that someone reading the logbook online may be able to provide the missing ports of call.”

Can you identify ‘Severdvich’ in the image below?

A page from Andrew Service's Logbook



Andrew Service completed his account on July 6th, 1810, and the exhibition launches today, exactly 200 years later.

Categories: Archive Services

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3 replies

  1. Dear Avid,

    We are glad you found our post about the HMS Medusa logbook interesting and useful and hope that you enjoyed looking at the images on the Glasgow University Archive Services website:


    Best wishes,

    Gemma Tougher
    (Assistant Archivist)

  2. This article was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last week.
    I have been coming to this blog for a couple of days now and i’m very impressed with the content!

    thanks & regards
    avid –


  1. Archive Services: Annual Review 2009-10 « University of Glasgow Library

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