Docklands connection

In 1864 my great great uncle, Henry William Austin, worked as a shipwright in Poplar Dock where Alternative is moored today.  He ran a small brass foundry forging propellers for the latest naval weapon, the torpedo.

He was commissioned to make propellers for torpedos set to arm a ship called the Huáscar,  a small armoured turret ship.   He later joined the Huascar as crew and on 20th January 1866 steamed to Peru as a weapons officer. 

Huáscar was built in Britain for the Peruvian Navy and played a significant role in the battle of Pacocha and the War of the Pacific against Chile before being captured and commissioned with the Chilean Navy. 

Today Huáscar is one of the few surviving ships of her type and has been restored to memorial status. She is named after the 16th century Inca emperor, Huáscar.