The orlop is below the waterline so it does not carry any guns. This made it an ideal storage and living area. Because this deck was not cleared for action the cabins and storerooms were permanent and could be locked. This meant that they could be used to store the purser's and surgeon's more valuable or dangerous items. Its position below the water also made this deck a safer place to be during a battle and injured men would be brought to the orlop to be tended by the surgeon.
On this Deck:
SURGEON ~ PURSER ~ NELSON'S DEATH ~ HANGING MAGAZINES
Like some of the other men who lived on this deck, the surgeon's professional status meant that he had his own cabin. Although small, the cabin offered the surgeon some privacy in a very overcrowded ship. Next to the surgeon's cabin is the dispensary. This was a lockable store room where the surgeon could safely store his drugs, powders and ointments. Although the sick berth is on the upper gun deck, in times of battle the surgeon could be found on the orlop. Using the cockpit - an open area near his cabin - as an operating theatre, the surgeon would care for the injured crewmen. One of the most common operations the surgeon would perform was amputation.Purser:
The purser also had his own small cabin on the orlop. The purser was responsible for the obtaining and issuing of things like food and clothing. Poorly paid, the purser made a living from selling clothing, tobacco and other items at a profit, this often made him unpopular with the crew. Next to the purser's cabin is a Slop room. Here would be store clothing or 'slops' that would be issued to the crew by the purser. The cost for these items, plus a percentage for the purser, would be deducted from a man's pay. On the other side of the purser's cabin is the purser's steward's room. From here the daily rations of food and drink would be measured and issued to the mess cooks. The purser's steward would also sleep here, ensuring that the stores could not be stolen.Nelson's death:
After Lord Nelson's had been shot he was brought down to the orlop to be tended to by the surgeon, William Beatty. In his journal surgeon Beatty says that Nelson greeted him with the words " Ah, Mr Beatty! You can do nothing for me . . . . my back is shot through". Nelson's statement was correct and 3 hours later, at approximately 4:30 pm, he died. A plaque traditionally marks the spot where Nelson died. It is also where every year, on the 21st October, that a wreath is laid in remembrance of Nelson and those that died at Trafalgar. Recent research, though, has suggested that the plaque may be in the wrong place and that Nelson may have died on the same side of the orlop, but further forward towards the bow (front).Hanging magazines:
Accessed for the orlop are the Victory's 2 hanging magazine. One is positioned towards the bow (front) and held gunpowder cartridges of the 24 pounders. The other magazine held 12 pounder cartridges and is to be found further aft, near the stern (rear). Located below the waterline the magazines and their contents where protected from enemy fire. To increase safety a dampened curtain, made from 'fearnought' would be hung across the entrance to each magazine. Each magazine would only hold one size of gunpowder cartridge, this was done so that cartridges would not be mixed up during the heat of battle and sent to the wrong size gun.