Genova steamship launched at Blackwall antique print. Original half-page wood-block engraving published in The Illustrated London News on April 19th. 1856, above the caption “Launch of the ‘Genova’ steam-ship, at Messrs. Mare’s, Blackwall”.
The text below was used for a ‘blog’ published in Reach plc’s ‘In Your Area dated 18th. April 2019.
In April 1856, at Mare’s shipbuilding yard in Blackwall, the steamship Genova was launched.
She was built for the navy of the Kingdom of Sardinia.
At the fore of the vessel flies the British pilot jack, which is now seldom used and, when done so, is the jack of civilian vessels.
Immediately behind is the flag of the Kingdom of Sardinia (a green white and red tricolour with the Savoy shield and Royal crown in the middle.) In 1861 becoming the flag of the Kingdom of Italy.
The ship flies two British ensigns, each with the union flag in the top left-hand corner.
Until 1864, the Royal Navy flew three ensigns, the Blue Ensign, the Red Ensign and the White Ensign.
The three ensigns distinguishing the three squadrons of the Royal Navy.
The ensigns flown by Genova are presumably the Blue Ensign and the Red Ensign.
Differing only in their colour, with both carrying the Union flag in the canton (top left-hand corner.)
In 1864 the Blue Ensign was allocated to ships in public service or commanded by an officer in the Royal Naval Reserve.
The Red Ensign was allocated to the British merchant marine and the White Ensign to the Royal Navy.
If you scrutinise the image carefully you will see that there are three vessels on the stocks awaiting launch into Bow Creek.
The ship in the foreground, which I believe is the steamship Havre, flies four flags, the flag at the aft of the vessel being a White Ensign and that at the fore being a Union Jack.
In between are the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom (not Scotland) and what appears to be the flag of the Admiralty (but lacking the rope usually fouling the anchor.)