Object Title

Artillery ammunition - Manby's Life Saving Shot

Artillery ammunition - Manby's Life Saving Shot



Object Number



Old Tower Collection

Physical Description

Similar to No.XX.78 but corroded and lacking the raw-hide rope


Weight: 23lb (10.4kg)


Places Britain

Bibliographic References

H.L.Blackmore, The Armouries of the Tower of London, Ordnance Catalogue, H.M.S.O. London 1976.


Captain George William Manby (1765-1854) was the inventor of a system of saving life from vessels wrecked on the coast. While stationed at Yarmouth in 1807 he witnessed the wreck of gun-brig Snipe where sixty seven people died within sixty yards of the shore. In August and September of that year useing a mortar borrowed from the Board of Ordnance he demonstrated his technique of shooting a line from shore to ship. The apparatus was first used at the wreck of the brig Elizabeth at Plymouth on the 12th February 1808. Two patterns of mortar were employed; a small iron mortar, of which Nos.145, 146 are examples, which were fixed by means of bolts to solid rectangular wooden beds fitted with carrying handles at the sides; these fired the small solid shot of which No. XX.76 is a specimen; and a larger, brass, mortar from which the larger shot such as Nos. 77-79 were discharged. Manby's mortars were all elevated at a low angle in order that the shot should be less effected by the wind than if fired with a high trajectory.