Office of the Second Secretary to the Admiralty
Office of the Second Secretary to the Admiralty
Preceded by Office of the Second Secretary
Country United Kingdom
Founded 1782
Abolished 1869
Headquarters London, England
Head Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty
Role Management of Naval Administration
Affiliations Royal Navy
Parent Department Department of Admiralty
Succeeded by Department of the Permanent Secretary

The Office of the Second Secretary to the Admiralty originally known as the Office of the Assistant Secretary was the Civil Service department responsible for the control, direction and guidance of all administrative functions of the British Admiralty from 1782 to 1869, it was administered by the Second Secretary to the Admiralty its main functional component was known as the Admiralty Secretariat.

1) History

1.1) The Office of Second Secretary

The office originally evolved from the Assistants to the Secretary of the Admiralty (later called the First Secretary) who were initially only intermittently appointed, being sometimes designated "joint secretary" and sometimes "deputy secretary". Appointments became regular from 1756, and the title of the office was established as Second Secretary to the Admiralty on 13 January 1782. In the 18th and 19th centuries it increasingly became the case that the First Secretary of the Admiralty was a member of the Government, while the Second Secretary was a civil servant, and the titles of the offices were changed to reflect this in 1869, the First Secretary becoming the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty and the Second Secretary the Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty.

1.2) Duties of the Second Secretary

He was primarily responsible for the interrelationships and office organization of the various departments that serve the Royal Navy. He assumed the role Secretary to the Board, his chief responsibility was to examine thoroughly all questions involving expenditures and to advise the Board as to the possibility of savings where possible.

1.3) Secretary's Office

Prior 1869, the Admiralty Secretariat, charged with carrying special duties that were not usually dealt with by other departments, was also conduit from which departmental submissions would be submitted to the Lords Commissioners, when the commissioners had reached a decision this was usually communicated back to all relevant departments by correspondences that had been written by the secretariat staff which was then signed by the Secretary. As this was the system that was operating no important decision could be made without the knowledge and approval of the Secretary's department. All orders from the Board of Admiralty were conveyed through this system and this department effectively became a center for official admiralty knowledge. In 1869 a number of changes were introduced in to modify this system then existing, mainly due to the complication caused by duplication of business and the resulting delays that it caused by a number of departments that were instructed to communicate directly to the board and always action the orders given by the offices of the various commissioners, without the approval of this secretariat. Between 1879 and 1880 further re-structuring took place the formally known "Naval Department" was renamed the "Secretary's Department," following a report that was produced by the Massey Lopes Committee. The purpose of the formation of this committee was to investigate and conclude possible recommendations for restricting the secretariats role in relation to other departments, the word Naval was dropped as that implied military and replaced with civil terminology. The Second Secretary was initially assisted by a Chief Clerk then re-styled a Principle Clerk. The Second Secretary's supporting staff were responsible for administering the Admiralty Secretariat.

2) Head of Department

2.2) Second Secretary to the Admiralty

  1. John Ibbotson, deputy and second secretary (1782-1795)
  2. William Marsden, (1795-1804)
  3. Benjamin Tucker, (Feb-May 1804)
  4. John Barrow, from (1804-1806)
  5. Benjamin Tucker, (1806-1807)
  6. Sir John Barrow (created a baronet in 1835), (1807-1844)
  7. Captain William Alexander Baillie Hamilton, (1845-1855)
  8. Thomas Phinn, (1855-1857)
  9. William Govett Romaine, (1857-1869)

3) Sources


4) Attribution

  1. Flag of a civilian member of the Board of Admiralty is by Mile Li courtesy of Rob Raeside at Flags of the World:
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