A blue leather Dispatch Box with a strong Chubb lock. The interior is lined in green velvet with no dividers.
It would have been used for dispatches between the Admiralty and the Physician General. The faded gilt titles to the top of the box do help us to date it. The title given to the Navy's head medical officer changed frequently in the 19th century with Physician General used between 1835 and 1841. Sir William Burnett M.D. was the only man to ever hold this title and indeed was head medical officer from 1832 to 1844. He was born in Scotland in 1779 and had an illustrious career. Apart from being Physician General of the Navy he was in medical charge of POW hospitals at Portsmouth and Chatham, Physician & Inspector of Hospitals to the Mediterranean fleet and a Member of Victualing Board. He was also granted a Baronet in 1831 and was made Physician in Ordinary to King William IV in 1835. Circa 1835