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At the same time, dockyard management needed attention, and the Admiralty Board adopted an almost revolutionary move: the Lords visited the dockyards themselves, and used their first-hand knowledge to tackle evidence of mismanagement, waste, and idleness, with ‘task’ or piece-work replacing the day wages by which most work had been done in the yards.

While Anson is generally credited as the prime mover behind these reforms, they were primarily the result of teamwork, with First Lord Bedford making the final decisions, based on Anson's professional experience, and Sandwich's inquisitive nature, ferocious energy and political cunning. 

Sandwich and Anson worked closely together, covering for each other when Anson was at sea, or Sandwich was abroad as appointed British representative at the peace negotiations on the continent. 

Sandwich continued to work closely with Anson after he succeeded Bedford as First Lord in February 1748, since both had a common rival on the board. Captain Lord Vere Beauclerk, son of the Duke of St Albans and a grandson of King Charles II, was senior to both in terms of tenure on the board, and ahead of Anson on the captains' list, but retired in November 1749. 

While the board as a whole worked as a team, Anson took the lead in tactics and training, rankings, discipline, and ship design; Sandwich concentrated on administration and dockyard management, and the whole board acted together on strategic, legal and political questions.

Anson's star continued to rise with his marriage in April 1748 by his marriage to the lord chancellor, Lord Hardwicke's eldest daughter Elizabeth Yorke, twenty-eight years his junior, and when a political coup ousted Sandwich as First Lord in June 1751, Anson was the obvious successor. 

© Ian Hughes 2017