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in British government, department in charge of the operations of the Royal Navy until 1964. Originally established under Henry VIII, it was reorganized under Charles II. Five lords commissioners composed the board of Admiralty, each gradually developing his own field of specific responsibility, with the first lord responsible to Parliament. In 1832 it absorbed the navy board, previously responsible for the administrative organization. In 1964 the Admiralty became the navy department, coequal with the other service departments, of the ministry of defense. The navy is now directed by the Admiralty Board of the Defense Council, which consists of 4 naval and 7 civilian members, including the secretary of state for defense, who serves as chair.



(1) The basic center for construction of military ships for an isolated naval theater. In Russia from the end of the 17th century until the 19th century there were admiralties in Voronezh (1695–1711), St. Petersburg, Sevastopol’, Nikolaev, and Kronshtadt. Admiralties were usually located in harbors or ports and on riverbanks convenient for launching ships—for example, the major admiralty in St. Petersburg was located on the left bank of the Neva. During 1704–1844 ships were built at the admiralty, and later it housed offices of the fleet department.

(2) A building in Leningrad, a remarkable work in both Russian and world architecture. Begun as a shipyard in 1704 by Peter I, who had conceived the plan, the Admiralty was reconstructed by I. K. Korobov from 1727 until 1738 and by A. D. Zakharov from 1806 until its completion in 1823; Zakharov created a monumental building in the strict lines of the Russian Empire style. Three of Leningrad’s main roads meet at the Admiralty tower, the center of the city’s architectural composition. The Admiralty’s façades, sculpted by F. F. Shchedrin, I. I. Terebenev, and others, and its interiors have an organic connection with the architecture of the building, which is a brilliant example of the synthesis of these arts.

(3) In Great Britain the highest department and command organ of the naval forces; corresponds to a naval ministry. In 1690, as a board of temporary members of the Admiralty, it replaced the one-man leadership of the lord high admiral. Since 1869 the Admiralty has been headed by the first lord admiral, a naval minister to whom the admiralty council, made up of the highest naval officers, is subordinate.


Sashonko, V. N. Admiralteistvo. Leningrad, 1965.
Siniaver, M. M. Admiralteistvo. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948 (Pamiatniki russkoi arkhitektury).
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Personalities rather than processes usually drove its development, until the Admiralty finally agreed to the establishment of a permanent apparatus of policy making based on good record keeping.
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Since construction of the building was completed in 1910, Admiralty Arch has hosted leading figures of state and society, from Sir Winston Churchill - whose office was based within the arch when he was First Sea Lord of the Admiralty - to author of the James Bond spy novels Ian Fleming.
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