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18 October 2015

Eight Days in England, 18-25 September 2015

A business trip to London in mid-September provided an excellent opportunity to extend the stay an extra week for sightseeing.  An intricately-planned and coordinated itinerary focused heavily on museums and historic sites in three English cities: London, Chatham, and Bristol.  With its customary thoroughness, MoMI presents the following photographic tour of each and every site visited.


As both Chatham and Bristol are located within easy reach of London by train, the decision was taken to use London as the base of operations for the week, thereby avoiding the need to check in and out of various hotels or haul heavy luggage from city to city. The Strand Palace Hotel (72 Strand, London WC2R 0JJ) provided comfortable and convenient central London accommodation within easy reach of restaurants, landmarks, and public transport, including both the London Underground and inter-city train services.


The Strand Palace Hotel, a five-minute walk from Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, and Charing Cross Station, and located in the midst of the West End theatre district. The hotel, which opened in 1909, hosts a number of restaurants and bars, including Daawat Indian Restaurant, the Mask Bar, the Nook Bar, the Lounge Bar, the Gin Palace Cocktail Bar, and the Strand Carvery & Grill.


Room 623 of the Strand Palace Hotel. This room is classed as a 'Cozy Single' and offers the basic amenities in a functional yet comfortable small room, perfect for a solo traveller who plans to spend a minimal amount of time in the hotel.
The room features a wall-mounted flat screen television, reading light, a desk fan, tea and coffee service (including biscuits refreshed daily), small en suite bathroom, digital safe, and a small closet with shelves and hangers.  
Strand Palace Hotel notepad.
Looking west along the Strand.
The famous Savoy Hotel, Britain's first luxury hotel, which opened on 6 August 1889. The 268-room hotel was the first in Britain to feature electric lighting, electric lifts, and private, en-suite bathrooms in most rooms.  On the left is the Savoy Theatre (built 1881), whose revenues from Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas helped finance impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte's later construction of the Savoy Hotel.  Savoy Court, the short section of roadway leading from the Strand to the front entrance of the hotel, is the only named street in the United Kingdom on which vehicles are required to drive on the right, given the location of the entrance and the design of the small roundabout at the head of Savoy Court.       
One of the sections of the Victoria Embankment Gardens, located on the north bank of the Thames between Westminster Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge.  The gardens were installed in 1874 atop reclaimed land created as a result of the construction of the northern embankment and sewer.
Another section of Victoria Embankment Gardens, showing the mature trees, cafe, and an example of the numerous statues and monuments scattered throughout the gardens. Victoria Embankment Gardens are managed by the City of Westminster, and fully enclosed by wrought iron fences and gates.  The gardens are open from 07:30 daily, closing at varying hours depending on the time of year, from 16:30 in winter to 21:30 in summer.
The Covent Garden market hall, built in 1830 on the site of a public square dating from 1630.  The large square was a new concept in the London of 1630 and influenced further modern town planning in the city. 
The western side of the Covent Garden market hall and square, with a crowd gathered around one of the many buskers and street performers licensed to perform.
A view of the covered Apple Market craft kiosks in the Covent Garden market hall.  By 1974, traffic congestion resulted in the relocation of the produce vendors to the New Covent Garden Market three miles to the southwest, and the 1830 market building was redeveloped as a tourist attraction, re-opening in 1980.  Today, the building houses pubs, restaurants, and small shops selling everything from watches and jewelry to souvenirs and gelato. 
The lower level of the redeveloped Covent Garden market hall, as seen in the morning, prior to the shops and restaurants opening for business.
A busy Covent Garden market hall at night is filled with tourists and pub-goers and illuminated by a pulsating, cloud-like art installation hung from the roof.


DSEI exhibition, ExCeL Centre, London, 18 September

The final day of the biennial DSEI defence and security industry trade show at the massive ExCeL convention centre in the London docklands offered an opportunity to duck away from official business and survey some of the various warships participating in the exhibition.  Ships visiting for DSEI 2015 included: 


  • Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Iron Duke
  • Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate HMCS Winnipeg
  • German Navy K130-class corvette Ludwigshafen am Rhein
  • Royal Navy River-class offshore patrol vessel HMS Tyne
  • Royal Navy Hunter-class mine countermeasures vessel HMS Hurworth
  • Belgian Navy coastal patrol vessel BNS Castor
  • Indian Navy Talwar-class corvette INS Trikand
  • Sea Owl naval training vessel VN Partisan                    
HMS Iron Duke (F234), a Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy, commissioned on 20 May 1993.  She is named after Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington (the 'Iron Duke') and sports a 4.5-inch gun, Sea Wolf and Harpoon surface missiles, Sting Ray torpedoes, and a mix of machine guns.  Iron Duke also carries a Lynx or Merlin naval helicopter in an enclosed hangar.    
A stern view of HMS Iron Duke, showing the Westland Lynx helicopter parked on the flight deck. 
HMCS Winnipeg (FFH338), a Halifax-class frigate of the Royal Canadian Navy commissioned on 23 June 1995 and recently modernised under the Halifax Class Modernisation/Frigate Life Extension Program.  Winnipeg is homeported at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.
HMCS Winnipeg is armed with a Bofors 57mm gun, Evolved Sea Sparrow and Harpoon missiles, Honeywell Mk 46 torpedoes, a Vulcan Phalanx close-in weapon system, and .50 calibre machine guns.  The ship also carries one Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King maritime helicopter, but will soon be fitted for the new Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter entering service with the Canadian Armed Forces. 
The German Navy K130 class corvette Ludwigshafen am Rhein (F264), commissioned on 21 March 2013.  This ocean-going corvette is equipped with four 88mm guns in twin mounts, MLG 38mm autocannons, medium machine guns, RBS-15 anti-ship missiles, a close-in weapon system, depth charges, and two racks for 34 sea mines.  The ship's hangar and flight deck can support two Camcopter S-100 small unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Royal Navy River-class offshore patrol vessel HMS Tyne (P281), commissioned 4 July 2003 and homeported at Portsmouth Naval Base. Displacing 1,700 tonnes and with a range of 7,800 nautical miles, Tyne accommodates 30 crew and is armed with one 20mm Oerlikon gun and two general purpose machine guns. 

Thames Clipper to Woolwich, 19 September

Woolwich was the home of the Royal Arsenal, which manufactured ordnance for the Royal Artillery from the early 18th century to the mid-20th century.  Today, this southeastern suburb of London located along the River Thames is undergoing rapid mixed-use re-development.  Occupying some of the former Royal Arsenal buildings is Firepower: The Royal Artillery Museum, which covers the history of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, the Woolwich Arsenal site, and the history of the development of artillery from ancient times to the present.

While one can take the Underground and Docklands Light Railway to Woolwich, a much more pleasant way of getting there is via the Thames Clipper catamaran ferries that regularly ply the Thames as part of London's public transport system.  The 58-minute ferry ride offers stunning views of many of London's notable landmarks, including the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Canary Wharf, the O2, and the Thames Barrier. Passengers paying by Oyster Card enjoy a 10% discount on one-way fares on the Thames Clipper.

Embankment Pier, located on the north side of the River Thames next to the Hungerford Bridge.  The pier serves both the Thames Clipper ferry service, Circular Cruises (river sightseeing), and the Thames Rib Experience (fast boat sightseeing).   
The Clipper Typhoon passes another of the catamaran ferries plying the waters of the River Thames.  The Thames Clipper service began in 1999 and today operates 13 high-speed catamarans under licence from Transport for London. 
The interior of a Thames Clipper ferry.  With comfortable, airplane-style seating, restrooms, and a cafe selling snacks and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, these 'river buses' carry both commuters and tourists up and down the Thames. 
The London Eye ferris wheel, located on the south bank of the Thames near Westminster Bridge.  Completed in March 2000, the London Eye is 135 metres (443 feet) tall, with a diameter of 120 metres (394 feet), and is presently (2015) sponsored by Coca-Cola Ltd. As the most popular paid attraction in the UK, the London Eye attracts 3.75 million passengers annually.  Thirty-two air-conditioned capsules carry 25 passengers each, and the wheel moves at 26cm per second, taking 30 minutes to make one complete rotation. 
Seen from a Thames Clipper in mid-river, the Palace of Westminster is home to the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two bodies comprising Parliament.  The Elizabeth Tower hosts the famous 'Big Ben' bell.  The Palace of Westminster has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
The New Adelphi building (left) and Shell Mex House (right), both built in the early 1930s, as seen from the River Thames, near Victoria Embankment.  The obelisk called Cleopatra's Needle can be seen at the far left; the obelisk was given to the United Kingdom in 1819 by the ruler of Egypt and the Sudan in commemoration of the victories of Lord Nelson and Sir Ralph Abercromby at the Battle of the Nile and the Battle of Alexandria, respectively.
The former HMS Wellington, a Grimsby-class sloop constructed in 1934 for the Royal Navy.  The ship, which served as a convoy escort in the North Atlantic during the Second World War, has since 1948 been permanently moored along the Victoria Embankment as the headquarters of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners and known as HQS Wellington.  As part of the post-war work to convert her to her present role, the grand wooden staircase of the 1906 Isle of Man ferry SS Viper was installed aboard Wellington.
HMS President is the former HMS Saxifrage, a Flower-class anti-submarine Q-ship built in 1918.  The ship was renamed HMS President in 1922 and permanently moored on the Thames as a Royal Navy Reserve drill ship.  Sold to private buyers in 1982, HMS President now serves as an event/conference and office space for media companies, and is one of only three surviving First World War Royal Navy warships.  In this photo, HMS President is seen sporting a dazzle colour scheme designed by artist Tobias Rehberger, unveiled on 14 July 2014.  
The Shard skyscraper towers over Southwark on the south bank of the Thames in London.  The light cruiser HMS Belfast, now a museum ship and part of the Imperial War Museum, is moored in the foreground.  At 1,016 feet tall and with 87 floors, the Shard is the fourth tallest building in Europe, built between 2009 and 2012.  An open-air observation deck is located on the 72nd floor, at 802 feet above ground level. 
Some of London's cutting edge modern commercial architecture on the north bank of the Thames.  Twenty Fenchurch Street (known as the Walkie Talkie) on the left, 122 Leadenhall Street (known as the Cheese Grater) at centre, and 30 St. Mary Axe (known as the Gherkin) on the right.
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, known as the Tower of London, located on the north bank of the Thames, near Tower Bridge. The fortress was founded in late 1066, following the Norman Conquest, and the old part, the White Tower (seen right of centre), was constructed in 1078 by William the Conqueror. The site consists of several buildings surrounded by two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat, and was used as a royal residence, as well as a prison between 1100 and 1952. The World Heritage Site is a major London tourist attraction and houses the Crown Jewels and the Royal Armouries Collection. Seven ravens have been kept at the Tower continuously since the reign of King Charles II, who paid heed to the superstition that stated that the kingdom would fall if the ravens left the Tower.
The iconic Tower Bridge, as seen from the aft deck of a Thames Clipper.  The bridge was built between 1887 and 1894, and is a combination suspension and bascule bridge.  The bascules forming the roadway raise about 1,000 times per year to permit river traffic to pass through.  A paid admission attraction allows visitors to traverse the upper pedestrian deck and visit the original steam boilers once used to power the bascules.    
The Emirates Air Line cable car across the Thames opened on 28 June 2012 and is operated by Transport for London but sponsored by Emirates, the Dubai-based airline. The kilometre-long gondola route across the Thames takes 10 minutes (5 minutes during rush hour), and runs back and forth between the Greenwich Peninsula on the south bank and the Royal Victoria Dock on the north bank, near the ExCeL convention centre.  A maximum of 2,500 passengers can cross per hour in each direction at an altitude of up to 300 feet over the Thames.  In the background, the white dome of the O2 arena and event facility (formerly called the Millennium Dome) can be seen.     
Canary Wharf business district in east London, with high-rise flats in the foreground. Over 100,000 people work in Canary Wharf, which is home to a number of major financial and media companies.  The skyscrapers of Canary Wharf occupy much of the former West India Docks on the Isle of Dogs, which were closed in 1980 following the decline in the British shipping industry.  Construction of the first of the district's skyscrapers began in 1988 by Canadian developer Olympia & York, with One Canada Square (the building with the pyramidal top in the centre of the photo) being completed in 1991.       
One of the Tate & Lyle sugar refineries located along the Thames in Silvertown in east London. As a centre of manufacturing, Silvertown was home to the separate sugar refineries of rival businessmen Henry Tate and Abraham Lyle, whose companies merged in 1921 after both men had died. Tate & Lyle still maintain two refineries in the area. The company is famous for its golden syrup, also known as light treacle, a byproduct of the sugarcane refining process used as a dessert topping and in many baking recipes.
The Thames Barrier flood control installation.  Completed in 1982 and officially opened by Queen Elizabeth on 8 May 1984, these submerged gates span a 520-metre wide stretch of the Thames east of London and can rotate into an upright position to block flood waters caused by dangerously high tides or storm surges from the North Sea.   

Royal Arsenal Woolwich, 19 September 2015

Woolwich was the home of the Royal Arsenal, which manufactured ordnance for the Royal Artillery from the early 18th century to its closure in 1967.  In 1907, the Royal Arsenal covered 1,285 acres and stretched for three miles downriver, and its continued growth during the First World War led to a workforce numbering 80,000 people.  Today, this southeastern suburb of London located along the River Thames is undergoing rapid mixed-use re-development. Occupying some of the former Royal Arsenal buildings is Firepower: The Royal Artillery Museum, which covers the history of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, the Woolwich Arsenal site, and the history of the development of artillery from ancient times to the present.

A 9.2 inch calibre, 40-ton, 38-foot long coastal defence artillery gun formerly mounted in Gibraltar between 1902 and the 1950s.  Guns like these were installed in many British colonies in the early 1900s to defend against long-range attack by enemy cruisers and battleships.  This gun could fire a 380 pound shell over a distance of 16 miles (25.6 kilometres).  As guided missile systems replaced coastal artillery beginning in the 1950s, such giant guns were dismantled, this one being found in a Gibraltar scrap yard in the 1980s and returned to the UK for display.      
A Soviet 2S3 M-1973 Akatsiya (Acacia) 152mm self-propelled gun howitzer used to provide mobile fire support to motorised rifle and tank divisions.  Introduced into service in 1973, the 2S3 had a crew of four, a top speed of 50 kilometres per hour, and could fire a standard shell 17,300 metres or a rocket assisted projectile 30,000 metres. 
The main entrance to Firepower: The Royal Artillery Museum in Woolwich.
A section of the Iraqi supergun known as 'Big Babylon', part of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's Project Babylon to build a series of ultra long-range guns beginning in 1988. This segment was to be one of many bolted together to form a 512-foot long gun with a bore of 1 metre, to be used to fire objects into orbit, or possibly extend the range of Iraq's Scud missiles.  Project Babylon collapsed following the mysterious March 1990 assassination of Dr. Gerald Bull, the project's architect.  In April 1990, European authorities intercepted parts destined for the second Big Babylon gun, which had been manufactured under the guise of oil pipeline equipment in Spain, Switzerland, Greece, Turkey, and the UK.  The Iraqi government finally acknowledged Project Babylon following the 1991 Gulf War.    
An ornately-carved wooden version of the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom, also known as the Royal Arms, hanging in the Royal Artillery Museum.
One of the two cannons from which bronze gunmetal has been taken from the cascabel (rope mooring knob) to manufacture the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest military award for valour.  These guns are of Chinese origin and were forged in the 1800s.  The remaining part of the remaining cascabel is kept under armed guard at a military installation.
Part of the bas-relief memorial to the Royal Regiment of Artillery housed in the museum.  This dynamic scene depicts a First World War horse artillery troop straining under the weight of its gun.
The Modern Gunner gallery presents displays on the variety of post-1945 hotspots in which members of the Royal Artillery have served, including Northern Ireland, the Falklands, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, Cyprus, the Congo, Belize, Libya, East Timor, Lebanon, and Cambodia.
A 105mm L118 Light Gun serves as a centrepiece in the Modern Gunner gallery and was a familiar sight in many operations in which Royal Artillery personnel served in the late-20th century.  The L118 Light Gun has a muzzle velocity of 708 metres per second (2,320 feet per second) and a maximum range of 17.2 kilometres (18,800 yards). 
A display on the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery.  This unit is part of the Household Troops and is responsible for firing gun salutes in Hyde Park for Royal Anniversaries and State occasions, as well as providing a gun carriage and team of black horses for State and military funerals.  In addition to their ceremonial duties, the troop's members also maintain their combat skills and deploy on operations.  When on parade, the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery takes precedence over all other regiments of the British Army, parading on the Right of the Line. 
The Gunnery Hall, the main display of 20th century artillery pieces.
Looking down on the great variety of artillery pieces on display in the Gunnery Hall from the mezzanine.  Once can see the progression of artillery from First World War guns to late-20th century tracked mobile artillery launchers.
The Gunnery Hall displays are housed in the former Paper Cartridge Factory (Building 17) of the Woolwich Arsenal, built in 1855-56.
A British 6-inch 26cwt Mark I howitzer, dating from 1918.  This medium field gun, first introduced in 1915, featured a modernised hydro-pneumatic recoil system and barrel that could be elevated to 45 degrees.  The tires were added in the 1930s and the 6-inch Mark I howitzer was extensively used during the Second World War.   
A British 5.5 inch BL Mark III howitzer, dating from 1944.  Introduced in May 1942 in the Western Desert campaign, 5.5 inch BL Mark III howitzers fired more than 2.5 million rounds between D-Day (6 June 1944) and the end of the Second World War.  The backbone of the Army Group and Corps artillery, these guns were subsequently used by the British Army during the Malayan Emergency in 1964-1965, where it was flown aboard aircraft into jungle clearings.    
A British 4.5 inch Quick Firing howitzer from 1914.  This type of gun was designed by the Coventry Ordnance Works and introduced in 1910.  As one of the the most successful field howitzers of the First World War, its simple and reliable design led to mass production, including under license in Russia.  The 4.5 inch QF howitzer fired a 15.8 kilogram shell, loaded into the gun with a separate propellant cartridge.       
A British 3-inch 20cwt anti-aircraft gun, dating from 1918.  The first dedicated anti-aircraft gun designed during the First World War, it could be mounted on a pedestal (as seen here) or on a Peerless truck.  The 3-inch anti-aircraft gun served in both world wars, and was adapted for naval use and also used widely for air defence in the Second World War.    
An ornate Burmese gun captured by British forces on 28 November 1885 from King Theebaw's palace in Ava, Mandalay, Burma.  Following an attempt by King Theebaw to extort money from the Bombay and Burmah Trading Company, the British Viceroy of Burma dispatched a military force which secured the surrender of Theebaw on 27 November.
A Thunderbird missile and launcher Mark VI, dating from 1960.  The Thunderbird was the Royal Artillery's first anti-aircraft guided missile system, and served between 1958 and 1978.  Guided to its target by two ground-based radars, the missile's warhead would be triggered by a highly secret mechanism, unleashing 164 steel bars that would tear apart the target aircraft.  The Thunderbird missile was operated by 36 and 37 Guided Weapon (AA) regiments during the Cold War. 
A 40mm towed Bofors anti-aircraft gun from 1942.  A Swedish design, it was licensed for production in Britain and was widely used during the Second World War.  Aiming the gun took two men, seated on either side of the barrel, who would use crank handles to traverse and elevate the gun, respectively. 
A British 18 pounder funeral gun from 1906.  The body of King Edward VII was transported atop this gun carriage from Westminster Hall to Paddington Station on 20 May 1910.  On 23 January 1936, the body of King George V was carried on this carriage from Kings Cross Station to Westminster Hall.  Today, this funeral ceremonial duty is split between the Royal Navy and the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, using their 13 pounder guns.  
A Morris-Commercial C9/B Self-propelled Bofors gun, a Bofors 40mm Antiaircraft Gun mounted on a Morris-Commercial chassis, one of approximately 1600 manufactured for the British military during the Second World War. The towed version of the Bofors gun was in British Army service from 1938, widely used in France and Norway in 1940, in the Battle of Britain, in the Far East, and in North Africa. The truck-mounted version was introduced in 1943 and used in action in Italy and then in northwest Europe from D-Day onwards.
A British Sexton 25 pounder self-propelled gun, dating from 1944.  The Sexton combined the British 25 pounder gun with the chassis of the Canadian-designed Ram armoured personnel carrier, and was manufactured in large numbers to support the armoured divisions involved in the liberation of France from the Nazis in the Second World War. Production of Sextons continued until 1957.  This example was built at the Montreal Locomotive Works and is powered by a rotary Continental aircraft engine.
A British Abbot 105mm self-propelled gun, the direct successor to the Second World War-era Sexton.  Introduced in 1966, the Abbot served with the artillery component of the British Army of the Rhine stationed in Germany during the Cold War.  The Abbot had a crew of four and a Rolls Royce K60 engine that provided a road speed of 49 kilometres per hour.  The all new 105mm gun design could fire a shell 17 kilometres.  
A British 25 pounder gun (centre), with a smaller 6 pounder gun in the background on the right.
A U.S.-designed 75mm M1A1 pack howitzer from 1942.  Introduced as a light airborne weapon in the British Army, this type of gun was used at the Battle of Arnhem during the Second World War by the 1st Airlanding Light Artillery Regiment, Royal Artillery, who defended the Arnhem Bridge against German counterattacks.     
An Australian short 25 pounder gun from 1943, designed following Australian troops' experience fighting the Japanese in the jungles of Borneo and New Guinea.  A radical redesign of the 25 pounder made the gun much lighter and transportable in 14 loads. The reduced range of the gun (10 kilometres) was not a disadvantage, given the close fighting in jungle conditions.   
A 4.2 inch mortar on a towed mounting (1943).  The 4.2 inch mortar was originally designed to fire gas projectiles, but was modified to fire high explosive and saw service during the Korean War, when gunners were required to provide fire support against Chinese forces.
A British 7.2 inch recoilless gun designed in 1944 as a potential assault weapon for the invasion of France.  A recoilless weapon seeks to counteract the momentum of the projectile by the momentum of the expelled gases at the rear of the gun.  While several of these innovative guns were produced by the War Department, none were used in action.  The principle of the recoilless gun was, however, accepted as suitable for an anti-tank role, given that such weapons are light and easy to handle.  
An Italian 105mm L10A1 pack howitzer from 1964.  First introduced by the Italian Oto Milara company in 1956 and designed to be carried on a mule, the L10A1 was adopted by the Royal Artillery as a light howitzer and used extensively in the 1960s.  The L10A1 featured a variable seven charge system, a range of 10 kilometres, and could be easily transported by air, especially by helicopter.  It is still used today by the Royal Malaysian Artillery.       
A British Saracen FV610A armoured command post, dating from 1966.  Manufactured by Alvis of Coventry, and based on the Saracen armoured car, the FV610A variant had a higher roof to accommodate the radios and plotting equipment required for it to act as a Royal Artillery command post.  A tent could also be strung between two FV610As if more space was required.  The FV610A was used extensively by artillery regiments training in northwest Europe in the 1970s and 1980s.     
The interior of the FV610A Saracen, showing the various equipment used to command Royal Artillery batteries.
A 155mm FH70 towed howitzer designed through a collaborative project between Britain, West Germany, and Italy.  Intended as a common gun for all NATO allies, the FH70 featured a power unit to permit it to drive short distances independently and hydraulics to control steering and assist in setting it up.  Firing a 43 kilogram high explosive shell, the gun had a maximum range of 24.7 kilometres and required a ten-man crew to operate.  The FH70 was introduced into service in 1978.      
The upper level of the Gunnery Hall is devoted to a chronological history of the development of artillery from ancient times to the 20th century.  
A display on medieval artillery.  Here, three different English guns are displayed: a bronze saker (named after the saker hawk) from 1535; a cast iron saker from the 16th century; and a wrought iron serpent from the late 15th century.  
One of the displays explaining the proofing (testing) of artillery pieces and the development of the Woolwich Arsenal site in the late 1600s.
Tracing the progress from muzzle loaders to breech loaders, this display shows (left to right) a German seven-barrelled bronze gun from 1620; a wrought iron French gun from 1619; a Dutch bronze gun from 1650; and a British 4.5 inch Quick Firing howitzer Mark I from 1916. 
A display of uniforms and artefacts from the Bengal Horse Artillery from the 1830s and 1840s.  These artillery troops were part of the army of the East India Company, which governed India as a commercial venture until governance of the colony was assumed by the British government as part of the British Empire.  
A Congreve Clock, invented by Sir William Congreve to measure time.  The action of a pendulum was replaced by the motion of a small steel ball on an inclined plane, which the ball descends in 30 seconds.  The three dials, each with one hand, measured the hour, minutes, and seconds.  This clock was presented to HRH The Prince of Wales in 1808.  
This display is part of the section on 19th century artillery development.  A 2.5 inch RML mountain gun (1880) sits in front of a the words of Rudyard Kipling's poem, Screw-Guns, which ends with the line 'You may hide in the caves, they'l only be your graves, but you can't get away from the guns!'.  Guns like this were known as screw guns because the barrels were designed to unscrew into two parts for easy transport.  Used extensively by the British and Indian armies, the guns could be carried in six loads on mules, with a battery of guns requiring a mule train of 76 animals.     
An English bronze 5.5 inch howitzer forged at Woolwich in 1782.  Howitzers like these were used to fire over the heads of accompanying infantry.  This gun was originally gifted to the Emperor of China by King George III, and was found in the Yuen-min-Yuen palace in 1860 during the British campaign in China and subsequently returned to Britain.    
A field artillery piece from the Napoleonic Wars. 
A 17th century wrought iron falconet reflective of the light field guns used during the English Civil War (1642-1651).  The term 'falconet' was used to describe light field guns of around two-inch calibre.  These guns were used for sniping at enemy soldiers.
An 18th century unfinished Indian mortar in the shape of a tiger, possibly intended for the Sultan of Mysore.  British troops discovered this mortar when they seized the fortress of Kurnaul in southern India in 1839 after hearing rumours of an insurrection.     
A Mysorean bronze gun of the 18th century, forged for Tippu Sultan, Sultan of Mysore in southern India.  It was captured by British forces during the Siege of Tippu Sultan's fortress at Seringapatam in 1792.  The carriage was manufactured by the East India Company in 1832.
A 6 pounder Sutlej gun of the Sikh Horse Artillery (1838).  This gun was forged in the workshops of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, whose engineers had access to East India Company artillery designs and quickly gained expertise in gun manufacture.  The barrel was produced in Lahore in 1838 and patterned off the British light 6 pounder gun; the carriage is based on the 1823 Bengal artillery pattern and is ornately decorated with brass, copper, steel, and mother-of-pearl inlay.  This gun was captured by British forces in 1848 after the First Anglo-Sikh War.    
A Battery Gatling gun (1865), forged by the Colt Company in the United States and proposed for use by Britain's Royal Artillery.  While a smaller calibre Gatling gun was used by the British Army, this one-inch calibre version was not adopted.  
A Wolf gun from 1900, manufactured in British workshops in Mafeking, South Africa during the Boer War.  Designed from spare metal parts and the wheels of a threshing machine, this gun was meant to address the British Army's shortage of artillery and provide a capability of bombarding Boer positions during their siege of the British at Mafeking.  It was named 'Wolf' after the nickname of Colonel Baden-Powell, who was present at the Siege of Mafeking. 
A wrought iron 12 pounder RBL gun from 1860, designed by William Armstrong.  This three-inch, rifled breech-loading gun was the first such gun adopted by the British Army. The wrought iron barrel was a tube over which additional sheets of hot iron were wrapped. As these sheets cooled, they tightened around the tube.  Given this 'pre-stressing' process, the barrel could be smaller and lighter than previous guns while withstanding the heat and pressure of firing.   
A British 25 pounder Mark II gun, dating from 1941.  The 25 pounder Mark II saw extensive use in the Western Desert campaigns of the Second World War, and was used both for close support and as an anti-tank weapon on many occasions.  The gun's effective sighting system produced accurate and consistent targeting, while the circular platform under the carriage permitted one man to traverse the gun 360 degrees.  A gun limber (ammunition trailer) was usually kept beside the gun and carried 32 rounds of ammunition.       


Greenwich, 20 September

Greenwich, southeast of central London, is well-known for its Royal and maritime history, having been the birthplace of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, home to the Old Royal Naval Hospital and National Maritime Museum, the site of the Greenwich Meridian (0 degrees longitude), and the reference for Greenwich Mean Time.  Today, Greenwich is a popular tourist and recreation destination, being only a short ride from London via Thames Clipper ferry or Docklands Light Railway, and offering quaint restaurants and pubs, many attractions, and open green space in the form of the 183-acre Greenwich Park.    

Tea Clipper Cutty Sark

The three-masted clipper ship Cutty Sark was built on the River Clyde in Scotland and launched on 22 November 1869 for the Jock Willis Shipping Line. Entering service on the cusp of the age of steam navigation, Cutty Sark was one of the last clipper ships built and also one of the fastest.  While the speed of steamships and the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 meant that Cutty Sark served only a few years transporting tea from China to Britain, she soon moved to the wool trade between Australia and Britain.  When the wool trade too was taken over by steamships, Cutty Sark was sold in 1895 to Portuguese owners and renamed Ferreira (and later Maria do Amparo) and continued carrying cargo until 1922.  Purchased as a training ship that year, Cutty Sark operated out of Falmouth and in 1938 was transferred to the Thames Nautical Training College in Greenhithe as an auxiliary cadet training ship.  No longer suited as a training ship, Cutty Sark was towed to Greenwich as a museum and tourist attraction in 1954.   

On 21 May 2007, during an extensive conservation project, a fire consumed Cutty Sark in its Greenwich dry dock.  Fortunately, as much of the ship's decking, planking, and its masts had been previously removed to a storage facility, the ship was restored and re-opened to the public on 25 April 2012.       

The restored Cutty Sark sits suspended over a covered dry dock in Greenwich, very close to the Greenwich Pier served by the Thames Clipper ferries.  The ship measures 212 feet 5 inches in length, with a 36 foot beam, a draught of 21 feet, and a displacement of 963 gross register tonnes. 
The lower cargo hold of Cutty Sark, once used to carry crates of tea or bales of Australian wool, now features displays on the ship and its voyages, the tea trade, and the Opium Wars, as well as a theatre used for musical performances and lectures.  Visitors begin their tour of Cutty Sark by entering through a hatch cut into the side of the hull at the level of the lower hold.  
Displays resembling wooden tea crates stacked in Cutty Sark's cargo hold recount the tea trade and the sailing Clippers that carried the precious commodity from China to a Britain thirsty for the exotic Oriental beverage.
Visitors walk through the hold from the stern to the forward end before ascending a staircase to the Tween deck.
A diagram depicting how crates of tea were loaded into Cutty Sark to maximise efficient use of the available space in the holds.
Cutty Sark's composite construction can be seen.  In composite construction, a wooden hull was bolted onto an iron framework.  the iron framework was much stronger and could thus be much thinner than wooden framing, leaving more space for cargo.  Cutty Sark was constructed from East Indian teak, American rock elm, and yellow pine, with a rudder of English oak.  Muntz metal (like brass) bolts held the timber planks to the iron ribs, while sheets of Muntz metal clad the wooden hull below the waterline to reduce fouling by barnacles and seaweed.     
The Tween deck, showing the large cargo storage space available aboard Cutty Sark. This deck now contains various artefacts, displays, and interactive exhibits on the ship, its history and various owners over the years, cargo types carried, and life aboard. 
A 1:75 model of Cutty Sark depicting her as she was rigged as a tea clipper (1870-1877). In 1880, the ship's sails and masts were reduced in size so that fewer crewmen were required, thus saving money.
A life ring from Cutty Sark during her time as a training ship at the Thames Nautical Training College at Greenhithe from 1938 to 1953.
Several artefacts belonging to Captain Richard Woodget, master of Cutty Sark between 1885 and 1895. The items include a speaking trumpet, a telescope, a barometer, and a chronometer.  
An interactive exhibit allows visitors to learn about all of the ports that Cutty Sark called at during her career, from Pensacola, Florida to Pernambuco, Brazil, and from Cape Town, South Africa to Melbourne, Australia.
Cutty Sark's brass bell, stolen by one of the ship's former officers around 1903 when the ship was sailing under the Portuguese flag.  When Cutty Sark was bought back by a British owner for use as a training ship in 1922, the bell was returned. 
A carving of the emblem of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, Cutty Sark's original stern decoration.  It was copied from another clipper ship, the Tweed, owned by Cutty Sark's owner, John Willis.  Tweed had originally been built in Bombay, India for the Indian Marine of the East India Company.   
A display depicting large bales of Australian wool, one of the major commodities that Cutty Sark carried during her career as a cargo vessel between 1883 and 1895.  Cutty Sark was the fastest sailing ship on the wool trade for ten years, and Captain Richard Woodget was in command during the ship's fastest voyages: 77 days from Australia to Britain, and 73 days from Britain back to Australia.   
A view of Cutty Sark's starboard side, showing the fore mast and extensive rigging, as well as the blue glass bubble which surrounds the ship's hull and the dry dock in which she sits.
The ship's bell hangs near the bow.
The deckhouse, containing accommodations for the bo'sun, carpenter, and sailmaker.
A closeup look at some of the rigging aboard Cutty Sark.
One of Cutty Sark's wooden lifeboats.
Looking forward along Cutty Sark's upper deck.  The deckhouse in the centre of the photo housed the galley and seamen's accommodation.
A view of the spartan living conditions for seamen aboard Cutty Sark.
The ship's wheel, located on the poop deck at the stern.  
Looking forward from the steering position on Cutty Sark's poop deck.
The Master's cabin is in the deckhouse immediately forward of the steering position. While spartan, the cabin contains a bunk, a desk, and a chair, and allowed the captain easy access to the wheel.
The officer's wood-panelled wardroom in the aft deckhouse, known as Liverpool House, where the ship's officers had their accommodations.  The wardroom is lighted by a hanging lamp and by a skylight over the table.  Leather banquettes flank the wardroom on the port and starboard sides, and a small fireplace provides warmth.
The officers' head (toilet), located just off the wardroom.
The officers' pantry, located inside the aft deckhouse (Liverpool House).  While all meals were prepared in the galley located in a forward deckhouse, the officers' meals were served from this pantry by a steward.  The steward looked after the Master and First and Second Mates, serving meals and tidying their cabins.  Typical meals consisted of pea soup, salted meat, and potato pie.   
The First Mate's cabin.
Some of the crockery upon which officers' meals were served.  Several items here are marked with the company (house) flag of John Willis & Son, while the large plate includes the name of the ship, Ferreira, when it was under Portuguese ownership. 
The enclosed dry dock permits visitors to walk right underneath Cutty Sark's hull, suspended from steel supports embedded in the side of the dock.  The bottom of the dry dock provides space for a cafe and displays on the conservation of the ship from 1954 to the present.
Looking down on the drydock floor from an elevated viewing gallery at the bow of the ship.  The plimsol lines marking the depth of water can be clearly seen on the hull, as well as the brass sheathing that prevented accumulation of barnacles and seaweed, as well as damage to the hull timbers by wood-eating toredo worms.
Looking aft from straight on the bow.  The graceful lines of Cutty Sark's hull can be seen from this angle, explaining why the ship enjoyed remarkable speed by sailing ship standards.
A display of ships' figureheads.  Many are carved in the likeness of famous historical figures, including Hiawatha, Arabella, Cleopatra, General Gordon, Benjamin Disraeli, Boadicea, Sirius, Abraham Lincoln, Garibaldi, and Sir Lancelot.     
A view of the port side of Cutty Sark on a sunny day in Greenwich.
A Greenwich franchise of Nando's, the global peri-peri BBQ chicken restaurant chain.
A Nando's napkin, soft and durable, perfect for cleaning the spicy peri-peri chicken sauce off one's fingers.


Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre

The Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre provides an introduction to the history and attractions of Greenwich, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Opened in the Pepys Building on the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College in March 2010, the centre houses a number of historic paintings, dioramas, and exhibits on the architecture of Christopher Wren's Greenwich Hospital and the Royal Naval College.     

A large scale model map of Greenwich dominates the Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre.
A display on classical architectural designs and principles as applied to the Greenwich Hospital.
A selection of paintings and an 1877 bust of Royal Navy Commodore James Graham Goodenough, once displayed in the former Naval Gallery of the Painted Hall of Greenwich Hospital.

Old Royal Naval College

The Old Royal Naval College was designed by famous English architect Sir Christopher Wren and built between 1696 and 1712 on the former site of the Palace of Placentia (commonly known as Greenwich Palace and the birthplace of Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I).   It originally housed the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich, which closed in 1869. From 1873 to 1998, the buildings served as the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, a training establishment for the Royal Navy. Since July 1998, the buildings have been manged by the Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College as a registered charity.

Today, the Old Royal Naval College is Grade II listed and houses the University of Greenwich and the Trinity College of Music.  The famous Chapel and Painted Hall, as well as the grounds, are open to the public free of charge.  

Old Royal Naval College visitor's brochure:




The Queen Mary Court, seen on the left, and King William Court, seen on the right. Although designed by Wren, his other architectural commitments left most of the work to be overseen by Nicholas Hawksmoor, Clerk of Works from 1698.  The final elements were completed between 1735 and 1751.  
Although 2,000 Royal Navy pensioners lived here from 1712, by 1869 the number of residents had so declined that the buildings were transformed into an officers' school for the Royal Navy.  The Joint Services Defence College was established here in 1983, but in 1997 the Royal Navy and Joint Services Defence College departed, leaving the buildings under the administration of a charitable foundation for the preservation of the site for present and future generations.
The wrought iron Water Gate on the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College.  The badge of the Royal Hospital is seen on the front of the gate.  Steps lead down to the River Thames.
The neo-classical architecture of the Queen Mary Court is clearly evident in this photo.
The interior of the vestibule dome of the King William Court is 90 feet high.  This forms the entry of the Painted Hall, which has been recognised as the greatest example of decorative painting in England and has been called the 'Sistine Chapel of the United Kingdom'.   
The magnificent Painted Hall was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, and originally intended as the dining hall for the 2,000 naval pensioners of the Royal Hospital for Seamen. The artwork adorning the walls and ceiling was painted by Sir James Thornhill in two phases between 1708 and 1727. The ceiling artwork covers 5,683 square feet and is the largest figurative painting in the UK.
Thornhill made extensive use of symbolism to convey powerful messages about the monarchy, religion, maritime power, navigation, and trade.  This particular part of the Painted Hall, the west wall, was painted by Thornhill between 1718 and 1726.

The Upper Hall having been conserved in 2013, the Old Royal Naval College announced in 2014 that it would commence the next phase of the restoration of Thornhill's masterpiece. A three-year, £7 million project will see the restoration of 40,000 square feet of the Lower Hall, rejuvenating the vibrancy of the original painting which has greyed over time.
The neo-classical Chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul, housed in Queen Mary Court, was designed by James Stuart and William Newton, and completed in 1789.  Although it originally served as a place of worship by pensioners of the Royal Hospital for Seamen, the chapel is today open to the public and still holds services every Sunday.  

National Maritime Museum

Opened by King George VI on 27 April 1937, the National Maritime Museum occupies buildings that formerly housed the Royal Naval Asylum and Royal Hospital School.  Today, the National Maritime Museum is part of the Royal Museums Greenwich, which also include the Queen's House, the Royal Observatory Greenwich, and the Cutty Sark.  The National Maritime Museum's collection comprises two million items, from maritime art, sculptures, and ship models to navigational instruments, uniforms, and weapons.  The museum's Caird Library is the world's largest collection of maritime reference materials, including 100,000 books, 20,000 pamphlets, and 8,000 rare books dating between 1474 and 1850. 

During this visit, time was spent seeing the galleries devoted to Admiral Lord Nelson and the development of the Royal Navy to 1815, as well as the First World War at Sea.  

(See the 19 September 2013 entry 'London: For Business and Pleasure' at http://momi-canada.blogspot.ca/search/label/Travel%20and%20Tourism%20Gallery%208%20-%20London for photos from other galleries of the National Maritime Museum.) 

The entrance to the gallery devoted to the career of Admiral Lord Nelson and the development of the Royal Navy between 1688 and 1815.
A wooden, carved lion figurehead from a smaller warship, circa 1720.
A display of 18th century Royal Navy uniforms.  From left to right: an Admiral's full dress coat (1795-1812 pattern) and dress sword; a Captain's full dress coat (1774) and telescope; and a Lieutenant's dress coat and waist coat (1748), as well as an octant (navigational instrument).  
A scale model of the 100-gun first-rate HMS Victory.  The model was built in 1744.  Five Royal Navy ships have been named Victory; this model depicts the fourth, launched in 1737.  The fourth HMS Victory was lost with all hands in the English Channel in 1744. The more famous fifth HMS Victory, on which Nelson fought the Battle of Trafalgar, was launched in 1765.
A display of commemorative items produced to honour the naval victories of Britain's famous admirals.  Marble busts of Admiral Edward Vernon and Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson occupy niches on the back wall. 
An 1806 painting depicts Nelson accepting the surrender of the Spanish warship San Nicholas at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent in 1797.  After capturing the San Nicholas on his own initiative, Nelson immediately boarded and captured another, larger Spanish ship, the San Josef.
A display of 18th century naval boarding weapons, including pistols and cutlasses.  A painting at the centre of the display depicts the chaos and hand-to-hand combat of a naval boarding operation in the Age of Sail.
A painting depicting the Battle of Barfleur, May 1692, in which British and Dutch warships fought a French fleet to prevent a planned French invasion.  The linked battles, off Barfleur and La Hogue near Cherbourg, led to the destruction of many French ships. 
A depiction of the Battle of San Domingo, off the island of Hispaniola, 6 February 1806. The British fleet led by Admiral Sir John Duckworth destroyed a French fleet, thereby allowing Britain to extend its control in the Caribbean. 
After the loss of his right arm at the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife on 24 July 1797, Admiral Nelson adopted several knife and fork combinations to enable him to eat with only his left hand.   
A view of some of the exhibits in the Nelson, Navy, Nation gallery.
A fragment of a Union flag from HMS Victory.  Although a group of sailors were ordered to fold one of Victory's flags and place it atop Nelson's coffin as it was lowered into the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral following his 9 January 1806 funeral, they instead tore the flag into scraps as personal mementos.  
Nelson's undress coat (1795-1812 pattern) and waist coat in which he was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805.  As Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory, approached the French fleet, it came under heavy musket fire and Nelson was hit in the left shoulder at 1:15pm.  The musket ball shattered Nelson's shoulder, punctured a lung, and lodged in his spine.  The hole caused by the musket ball can be seen in the upper left shoulder of this coat.  Aware of the fatal nature of this injury, Nelson told Victory's Captain Hardy, 'They have done for me at last, my backbone is shot through.'      
After being shot, Nelson was carried below deck and lived for another three hours as the Battle of Trafalgar raged outside. Attended by his chaplain, purser, and steward as he slowly died, Nelson lived long enough to hear from Captain Hardy that the British had won the battle, after which Nelson exclaimed, 'Now I am satisfied. Thank God I have done my duty'. This most famous depiction of Nelson's final moments was painted by Arthur William Devis in 1807, who won a contest by publisher Josiah Boydell for the best 'Death of Nelson' painting. The prize was 500 guineas (about £35,000 in today's money).
A display of some of the many items of housewares, mementos, and decorative art dedicated to Admiral Nelson and sold to the grieving British populace after his death. The commemorative products ranged from inexpensive items which the general public could afford to expensive items purchased by the wealthy. 
The top floor of the National Maritime Museum in 2015 houses Forgotten Fighters: The First World War at Sea.  Two large, long glass display cases flank this gallery and contain a number of ship models and historic artefacts.
A model of the British Eclipse-class second-class cruiser HMS Doris, launched in 1896. Nine Eclipse-class cruisers were constructed between 1894 and 1896, each being 364 feet long and displacing 5,600 tons, with a battery of eleven six-inch guns.  During the First World War, HMS Doris participated in the blockade of the Dardanelles.
A pair of Imperial German Navy binoculars, circa 1914.  Germany was a world leader in high-quality optical instruments.
A model of the British destroyer HMS Jackal, built in 1911.  This ship carried a crew of 70 and was used to launch torpedoes at enemy ships and counter enemy destroyers. Jackal participated in the Battle of Heligoland Bight in August 1914 and the Battle of Dogger Bank in January 1915.  In 1917, Jackal assisted in the rescue of survivors of a torpedoed hospital ship in the English Channel.   
A model of the British dreadnought battleship HMS Iron Duke, built in 1912.  With ten 13.5 inch main guns and a crew of 1,022, HMS Iron Duke was the flagship of the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet during the First World War, and participated in the famous Battle of Jutland on 31 May-1 June 1916.  During the Second World War, Iron Duke was stationed as an anti-aircraft gunnery platform at the naval base of Scapa Flow in Scotland, where she was badly damaged in two separate attacks by German bombers.   
A model of the ocean-going cargo vessel SS Springwell, built in 1914 and used to transport coal and other war supplies.  In February 1916, Springwell was sunk  by a German submarine in the Mediterranean, without any casualties.
A model of a Royal Navy K-class submarine.  These large, steam-powered submarines were designed in 1913 and intended to have the speed and endurance to keep up with the battle fleet.  Unfortunately, the K-class vessels constructed were prone to accidents, with six of the 18 K-class boats being lost in this way.  Only one K-class boat ever engaged an enemy vessel, hitting a German submarine amidships with a torpedo that failed to detonate.  All of the K-class boats were withdrawn from service by 1931.   
A model of the SS Orduna, built in 1913-14 as a passenger liner with a crew of 330.  Built to carry passengers and freight to South America, Orduna was requisitioned for wartime service and used to ferry Canadian soldiers to Britain.
A model of the Imperial German Navy torpedo boat G37, the 13th of the Großes Torpedoboot 1913 class. G37 was built by F. Krupp Germaniawerft in Kiel, launched in December 1914, and assigned to the Sixth Torpedoboat Flotilla of the German High Seas Fleet. During the Battle of Jutland, G37 was assigned to escort the battlecruiser SMS Lützow, which was badly damaged in the action. G37 assisted in the effort to take off Lützow's survivors. On 4 November 1917, G37 struck a mine in the southern North Sea off Walcheren Island and sank.
A model of the British minesweeping sloop HMS Snapdragon.  This ship was used to clear mines, patrol, and escort convoys.  Although designed to be easily and rapidly constructed for wartime requirements and intended as minesweepers, the Arabis-class sloops were determined to be useful for a variety of other tasks as well.   
Some of the stunning Baltic Exchange Memorial Glass windows designed by English artist John Dudley Forsyth for the Baltic Exchange, the world's main international shipping exchange, which provides networking facilities, legal advice, and independent market information for the shipping industry.  These windows were originally installed in 1922 in the Baltic Exchange building at 30 St. Mary Axe (current site of the Gherkin) in Central London to honour the 62 members of the exchange killed in the First World War.

On the night of 10 April 1982, a one-tonne truck bomb left by the Provisional Irish Republican Army exploded, killing three people and seriously damaging the building and the stained glass windows.  Of 245 panels in the windows, only 45 remained intact. The shards of glass were carefully recovered and given to conservators in the hope that they could be repaired.  As the Baltic Exchange building was too heavily damaged to be repaired, it was torn down in 1998.  The windows were painstakingly restored using historic photographs, and since 2005 have been on display in the National Maritime Museum.

The display consists of five main panels of painted coloured glass, depicting a personification of Truth, Hope, Justice, Fortitude, and Faith, as well as a three-metre high glass dome comprising 240 panels divided into five areas featuring classical and religious symbolism.     
A large model of the MV Llangibby Castle, a passenger liner owned by the Union-Castle Mail Steamship Company and built by Harland and Wolff in Glasgow, Scotland.  The ship was 505 feet in length, displaced 11,951 gross tons, and capable of a speed of 14.5 knots (26.9 km/h).  Llangibby Castle was launched on 4 July 1929 and was operated on the Round Africa service.  Whilst serving as a troopship, Llangibby Castle was torpedoed by U-402 on 16 January 1942 in the Bay of Biscay, though she made it back to Britain and was fully repaired.  The ship took part in the North African landings (Operation Torch) on 9 November 1942 and was later converted to a Landing Ship, Infantry for her role in transporting Canadian troops to Juno Beach during the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944. Llangibby Castle ended the war as a troopship in the Far East, returning to merchant service until being sold for scrap on 29 June 1954.          


Chatham Historic Dockyard, 21 September

Despite the cancellation of the intended 08:11 train, departure from London's Charing Cross Station was finally achieved at 08:41 on a train operated by Southeastern Trains.  

Charing Cross Station in London prior to the chaos of the morning rush hour commuter traffic. The six-platform station opened on 11 January 1864, with the Charing Cross Hotel and its French Renaissance facade at the southern end (pictured) opening the next year.  Southeastern now operates all inter-city trains serving Charing Cross, which is also connected to the Underground system via Charing Cross Underground Station.  Inside, a wide variety of vendors include M&S Simply Food, W.H. Smith, Boots pharmacy, Burger King, Caffe Nero, Costa Coffee, and the Pasty Shop.  
The outgoing and return tickets for the day trip to Chatham.  Total cost was £19.90.
The nearly-empty Standard Class passenger carriage of an early morning train outward bound from London to Chatham.
The main gate into Chatham Dockyard.  The gatehouse was designed by the yard's Master Shipwright and erected in 1722.  The coat of arms of George III have hung above the entrance since 1811 and were restored in 1994. 
The front and reverse sides of an adult admission ticket to the Chatham Historic Dockyard. Tickets cost £19 but permit unlimited admission for one year from purchase, good for locals, but not such a selling point with foreign tourists.

The site map for the 80-acre Chatham Historic Dockyard:




Chatham Historic Dockyard: A History

The dockyard at Chatham was one of the Royal dockyards which possessed the expensive dry docks and shore-side facilities lacking in most private shipyards and which were critical to building, repairing, and maintaining the Royal Navy's fleet.  As the largest industrial organisations in the world by the mid-18th century, these dockyards covered vast areas and employed thousands of workers across a large number of trades.   

The River Medway had become the Royal Navy's principal fleet base during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) and by 1570 the majority of repair and maintenance work on the fleet was being carried out at the Chatham Dockyard's original site.  In 1588, Chatham's workers prepared the fleet to meet the threat posed by the Spanish Armada, and in 1613 the dockyard moved to its present site.  The construction of storehouses and a ropewalk (rope-making facility) were constructed by 1618 and by 1625 a dry dock and houses for senior officials had been completed.

With the Royal Navy battling the Dutch fleet in the English Channel and North Sea from the mid-1600s, Chatham Dockyard was ideally placed to support the English ships at their nearby operational bases and soon became the pre-eminent shipbuilding and repair facility.  The first of the dockyard's buildings to survive to the present day date from the early 1700s, when the Commissioner's House was built (1703-04); however, the location of naval operations in the 18th century had shifted westwards to the Mediterranean and North America, putting Chatham at a geographical disadvantage compared to the other major bases at Portsmouth and Plymouth.  As such, Chatham shifted from being a fleet base to Britain's principal naval shipbuilding and repair yard.  

Britain's most famous warship, HMS Victory, was constructed at Chatham.  On 23 July 1759, her keel was laid in the Old Single Dock.  After a lengthy delay, construction was restarted, and Victory was launched on 7 May 1765.  Following fitting out, Victory finally departed Chatham in 1778, participating in the Battle of Cape St. Vincent in 1797.  After a refit at Chatham, Victory was recommissioned as Admiral Horatio Nelson's flagship and engaged in the Battle of Trafalgar.

The heavy demands on the dockyard's facilities led to major expansion and improvements, as well as the industrialisation of many of the yard's processes. New storehouses, a lead and paint mill, the Royal Dockyard Church, officers' offices, a steam-powered sawmill, and the No. 1 Smithery were erected in the late 1700s and early 1800s.  The 1,135 foot long Double Ropehouse was completed in 1791.  In 1820, Chatham's first stone dry dock and the engine house for a steam-powered dock pump were built.

The 1830s ushered in the Age of Steam at Chatham Dockyard, with the yard's first steam-powered vessel, the sloop Phoenix, launched in September 1832.  In 1849, the construction of all remaining sailing ships was halted and in 1850 Chatham's first ship powered by a screw propeller, Horatio, was launched. Between 1838 and 1855, new covered building slips were erected in the dockyard, and the two remaining timber dry docks were rebuilt in granite.

On 13 August 1908, the Chatham Dockyard launched its first submarine, C17, a small coastal boat.  Five more boats of the same class soon followed and the construction of submarines soon became a specialty of the Chatham Dockyard up until the mid-1960s.  A total of 57 submarines would eventually be built at Chatham between 1908 and 1960, including the X- and M-class boats of the interwar period, the T-class boats of the Second World War period, and six of the Oberon-class of the post-war period.  The last warship to be constructed at Chatham for the Royal Navy was the Oberon-class sub HMS Ocelot, launched in 1962, while three Oberon boats were built here for the Royal Canadian Navy--the last, HMCS Okanagan, was launched on 17 September 1966.  

While no warships were constructed at Chatham after 1966, the dockyard continued to serve as a ship and submarine repair facility, including for technologically complex nuclear submarine refits, until its closure in 1984. Today, the most historic 80 acres of a facility that once covered 505 acres have been preserved as the world's most complete example of a dockyard of the Age of Sail.  Chatham Historic Dockyard is managed by the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust.  

The No. 1 Smithery, built between 1806 and 1808. Grade I listed and designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the No. 1 Smithery was constructed to address the increasing use of iron in shipbuilding and the demands of the Napoleonic Wars. An expansion in 1861-69 accommodated new technologies and the new, steam-powered warships then being built at Chatham. Having been restored in 2010 under a partnership between the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, the National Maritime Museum, and the Imperial War Museum, the building now houses galleries and exhibitions (both permanent and temporary), as well as temperature controlled storage for many of the National Maritime Museum's collection of ship models.     
On the left, 3 Slip (built 1838), one of the covered slipways, was once Europe's largest wide span timber structure.  Today, it houses large artefacts from the dockyard and items from the nearby Royal Engineers Museum.  The buildings on the right today house the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) collection of 17 historic lifeboats.   
A look inside 3 Slip, showing the enormous internal space covered by the timber roof
The large number of surviving historic buildings help recreate the feel of a dockyard of the Age of Sail. 
Built in 1723, the Clocktower Building is the oldest surviving naval storehouse in any of the Royal Dockyards. Used to store materials and equipment required by ships under construction or repair, the top floor of the Clocktower Building was used as a mould loft, while the six ground floor bays were open and used as saw pits. Today, the building houses Bridgewarden's College of the University of Kent.
The Admiral's Offices, built in 1808 and used as offices for the dockyard's master shipwright.  The low roofline was designed to avoid obstructing the view from the officers' terrace.  The building later became the Port Admiral's offices and was extended, with the northern extension housing the dockyard's communications centre.   
A close-up view of the entrance to the Admiral's Offices.
The Commissioner's House, built in 1704 and the oldest naval building in Britain to survive intact.  This grand family home was constructed for the Commissioner of the dockyard.  Today, the Commissioner's House is available for hire as a venue for weddings and other events, and includes a bridal suite, a ceremony room, a ballroom, a pavilion marquee, a bar, a patio courtyard, and Edwardian gardens.   
The Oberon-class submarine HMS Ocelot, the last warship built for the Royal Navy at the Chatham Dockyard, launched in 1962 and commissioned 5 January 1964.  Ocelot served with the Third Submarine Squadron at Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde at Faslane. HMS Ocelot today sits in the No. 3 Dry Dock and is open for guided tours via timed tickets obtained in advance.     
HMS Ocelot was one of 13 Oberon-class diesel-electric submarines built for the Royal Navy between 1959 and 1964.  The Oberon-class carried improved detection gear compared to the preceding Porpoise-class boats, and featured soundproofing of all equipment, which made them the quietest submarines then in existence.  Their low noise signature made the O-boats ideal for submerged patrolling, surveillance, and intelligence-gathering missions across the European Arctic region that were a regular part of the Royal Navy's Cold War submarine operations.  
HMS Ocelot's six forward torpedo tubes.  Britain's Oberon-class subs carried Mark 24 homing torpedoes.
One of the crew messes aboard HMS Ocelot, showing the cramped quarters in which the boat's sailors lived. Unlike in previous submarine classes, in which crew were forced to 'hot bunk', each of Ocelot's crewmen had their own bunk. Ocelot carried a crew of 68, comprising 6 officers and 62 ratings.
A view down Ocelot's main passageway, flanked by storage cabinets and crew bunks.
Officer's mess and ship's office.
The steering position in HMS Ocelot's control room.
The cramped galley aboard HMS Ocelot, from which all meals were prepared.
The two Admiralty Standard Range 16 cylinder supercharged VMS diesel generators that produced the power used by the boat's two 6,000 shaft horsepower electric motors. The Oberon-class submarines were capable of making 17 knots (31 kph; 20 mph) whilst submerged.
The electrical control panel

HMS Ocelot served 27 years until being decommissioned in August 1991 and moved to the Chatham Historic Dockyard as a museum ship in 1992.
The Ropery was where naval rope was manufactured for the ships being built and repaired at Chatham Dockyard; a typical sailing warship needed approximately 32 kilometres (20 miles) of rope just for its rigging. Rope has been made on this site since 1618, though the current Double Ropehouse building dates from 1791. Visitors require advance, timed tickets to participate in a 40-minute guided tour of the Ropery, where ropemakers demonstrate the art of spinning rope using Victorian-era techniques and equipment.
The entrance to the Ropery Laying Floor, located in a Hemp House dating from 1785. Chatham's Hemp Houses were built between 1729 and 1814 and were used to store the raw hemp imported from southern Russia and used to make finished rope. The Hemp Houses still feature many of their original fittings. Mechanical spinning machines were installed in 1864, with female workers hired to maintain the new equipment. The women were forbidden from interacting with the male workers, and were provided with separate entrances and canteens to keep them apart.
The interior of the Ropery, measuring one-quarter mile in length.  Of the four original ropeyards at the Royal Dockyards in Chatham, Portsmouth, Plymouth, and Woolwich, Chatham's is the only one still producing rope.   
A rope spinning machine combines the strands of fibre into rope, moving forward on its tracks as the tightly-wound rope shrinks. 
A view of the old-fashioned tools and equipment used in the Ropery.  Bicycles are used by staff to go from one end of the 1,135-foot long facility to the other.
Another view of the interior of the Ropery. Although rope manufactured here was originally made by hand, from 1811 onward the process was mechanised and powered by steam from 1826. The Master Ropemakers, a subsidiary charity of the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, continues to manufacture rope and rope-based gifts in this building for sale in the dockyard.
HMS Gannet, a Doterel-class screw sloop, built at Sheerness on the River Medway and launched on 31 August 1878.  At 1,130 tons displacement and with a crew of 140, Gannet was designed to patrol the British Empire's overseas colonies, showing the flag, defending British interests and trade, undertaking surveys, and conducting anti-slavery patrols.
HMS Gannet served on the Pacific Station (1879-1883), followed by a deployment to the Mediterranean (1885-1888), during which she helped relieve the siege of Suakin, Sudan during the Mahdist War.  Surveying work in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea occupied Gannet from 1888 to 1895, after which she was decommissioned, placed in reserve, then refitted as a training ship, and renamed HMS President.  President served as the headquarters ship of the London Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve unit from 1909-1911, followed by a stint as a dormitory ship for the Training Ship Mercury until 1968. 
HMS Gannet represents the period of the transition from sail to steam, and possessed both a steam engine and a full sailing rig.  Her hull consisted of teak planking fastened onto an iron frame (composite hull).  Speed was 11 knots on steam power or up to 15 knots under sail. 
One of HMS Gannet's four 64-pound guns.  Two of these guns were located on pivoting mounts in the forward part of the ship and fired through hull openings.  The other two 64-pounders were located amidships on fixed mounts.  Gannet also carried two seven-inch muzzle loading rifled guns on pivoting mounts.  

One of the four Nordenfelt multiple barrel organ gun mountings on HMS Gannet.

The steering position aboard HMS Gannet.
HMS Gannet was turned over to the Maritime Trust following the end of its service as a dormitory ship in 1968.  In 1987, the Chatham Historic Dockyard acquired the ship and commenced a restoration project to return her to her appearance in 1888.  Since 1987, HMS Gannet has been preserved as part of the United Kingdom's National Historic Fleet. 
One of the giant shipyard cranes in the Chatham Historic Dockyard. 
The Dock Pumping Station housed the pumps that drained Chatham Dockyard's first stone dry dock.  The first steam-powered dock pumping station built in Britain features a central boiler house with enclosed chimney, flanked by engine houses on each side.   
HMS Cavalier, a C-class destroyer launched on 7 April 1944 and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 22 November 1944.  Cavalier was one of 96 War Emergency Program destroyers ordered in 1940-1942 to fill an urgent requirement for additional escort vessels to combat the German U-boat threat.  Serving with the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla in Home Waters, and off Norway and in the Arctic, Cavalier was then transferred to the British Pacific Fleet in the Far East in 1945 and conducted naval gunfire support during the Battle of Surabaya.  Further Pacific operations followed until Cavalier was decommissioned in May 1946.  After a modernisation refit, HMS Cavalier recommissioned in 1957 and was assigned to the 8th Submarine Squadron in Singapore.  After 15 years' further service, Cavalier returned to Britain in 1972 and was decommissioned for a final time.  
The forward crew messdeck aboard HMS Cavalier.
One of the wash spaces.
The port passageway, looking forward.
The Gunnery Control Compartment.
Cavalier's main galley, in which meals for 247 crewmen were prepared.  Meals for the ship's 16 officers were prepared in an officers' galley.  
One of HMS Cavalier's three Quick Firing 4.5 inch L/45 Mk IV gun mountings.  This one is located aft, while two others are located forward in super-firing arrangement.  The QF 4.5 inch guns were medium-range weapons suitable for use against surface and air targets, as well as shore bombardment, and fired two-part rounds (shell and powder cartridge) weighing 55 pounds.    
Looking forward on the port side.
One of two three-barelled, ahead-firing Squid anti-submarine mortar mountings, located above the quarterdeck and facing forward.  Each Squid mortar weighed 440 pounds, including 207 pounds of Minol explosive, and was thrown 275 yards ahead of the ship. The ahead-firing arrangement permitted the destroyer to maintain sonar contact with a submarine target while delivering ordnance onto it.     
HMS Cavalier's bell, hanging amidships.
The wheelhouse (steering position), located in a small compartment off the main deck amidships. Helm orders were communicated to the steering position via voice pipes.
One of HMS Cavalier's boats, on davits amidships.
The Captain's  sea cabin, located close to the bridge was ideally situated to permit the commanding officer to quickly reach the bridge.  The sea cabin was only used whilst the ship was at sea. 
One part of the Captain's day cabin, the larger, more comfortable cabin used by the commanding officer when the ship was docked.  It was here that the captain would entertain any visitors.
The Wardroom, where the ship's officers ate and relaxed.  According to tradition, the captain was not a member of the wardroom but could be invited in by his officers for social occasions.
The other side of the Wardroom, featuring a small electric fireplace and comfortable leatherette settees.
The Operations Room, from where the ship was navigated and fought.  Plotting tables, communications gear, and other equipment adorn the bulkheads throughout.
Some of the antique communications gear in Cavalier's Bridge Radio Telegraphy Office.
HMS Cavalier's open bridge was where the commanding officer or officer of the watch commanded the ship.  The captain's high wooden chair sits in the middle of the bridge while a compass pedestal can be seen in the immediate foreground.  A variety of navigation and communications equipment covers all sides of the bridge.
A view from HMS Cavalier's bridge.  HMS Ocelot sits in the dry dock next door, with HMS Gannet just beyond, and the grey-roofed No. 3 Slip in the background. 
While a preservation campaign led by Lord Louis Mountbatten saved Cavalier from scrapping, unsuccessful attempts to turn the ship into a museum in Southampton, Brighton, and South Tyneside failed.  In 1998, Cavalier was bought by the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and arrived on 23 May 1998.    
On 14 November 2007, HMS Cavalier was officially designated a war memorial to the 142 Royal Navy destroyers lost during the Second World War and the 11,000 sailors on those ships. 
The Anchor Wharf Storehouses, built between 1778 and 1805 at the southern end of the dockyard.  These were the largest storehouses built for the Royal Navy in Britain, with Storehouse 2 measuring 700 feet (210 metres) long.  Storehouse 3 was used to store equipment from warships in reserve or undergoing repair; Storehouse 2 was used as a general storehouse.  A gallery entitled Steam, Steel and Submarines in part of one of the Anchor Wharf Storehouses tells the story of the Chatham Dockyard between 1832 and 1984.
A model of the Chatham Dockyard as it appeared in the early 1760s, when HMS Victory was being constructed, as depicted here.  Of the 505-acre dockyard site, the most historic 80 acres have been preserved as the Chatham Historic Dockyard.
The figurehead from the battleship HMS Rodney (1884).  Launched by the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh on 8 October 1884, HMS Rodney was the last Royal Navy battleship to carry a figurehead.  
The inside of the Steam, Steel and Submarines gallery.
A model of HMS Achilles, built at the Chatham Dockyard in 1863.  Achilles was the first iron-hulled ship to be built by the Chatham Dockyard and the largest ship in the world at her launch.  
Liferings from HMS Cressy and Aboukir.  Along with sistership HMS Hogue, these Chatham-based armoured cruisers were sunk by the German submarine U-9 in the North Sea on 22 September 1914, leaving 1,459 British sailors dead.
A commemorative launching silk for HMS Calliope.  A tradition within the Royal Navy, commemorative silks were printed and distributed to guests invited to the launching ceremonies.
A model of the County-class heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland, which underwent a refit at Chatham Dockyard in 1936.  The refit included the addition of a fixed catapult and hangar for two Walrus scouting aircraft.  In the years leading up to the Second World War, Chatham Dockyard was kept busy fitting anti-aircraft weapons and armour to Royal Navy warships.  
A model of the Leander-class frigate HMS Hermione, the last warship to be refitted at Chatham.  Hermione's departure from Chatham Dockyard on 21 June 1983 drew huge crowds. 
A diorama of the nuclear submarine refitting and refuelling complex at Chatham Dockyard, which opened in 1968. 
A model of the Leander-class light cruiser HMS Ajax.  Ajax, manned by sailors from the Chatham Naval Division, was the flagship of the Royal Navy's South Atlantic cruiser squadron.  Ajax, in company with HMS Exeter and HMNZS Achilles, was responsible for damaging the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee in the Battle of the River Plate on 13 December 1939.  Forced into the neutral port of Montevideo, Uruguay, the captain of the Admiral Graf Spee soon decided to scuttle his badly-damaged ship rather than risk it falling into British hands.  Refitted at Chatham Dockyard, HMS Ajax went on to serve in the Mediterranean and during the D-Day landings.       
Models of HMNZS Achilles and Exeter, as well as one of the Admiral Graf Spee, complement a display on the Battle of the River Plate.
A model of HMNZS Achilles.
A model of HMS Chatham, a Type 22 frigate launched on 20 January 1988 and commissioned on 4 May 1990.  Although built on the River Tyne in northern England, HMS Chatham was named in honour of the city of Chatham's strong naval connections. Budget cuts led to the decommissioning of HMS Chatham on 9 February 2011, and in 2013 the ship was towed to a scrapyard in Turkey for dismantling. 
A model of the C-class destroyer HMS Cavalier, one of the museum ships at Chatham Historic Dockyard.
Some of the artefacts, models, and displays seen in the Steam, Steel and Submarines gallery.
The brass bell from the King George V-class battleship HMS Anson.  Anson was launched on 24 February 1940 and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 14 April 1942.  After a short but active service life, HMS Anson was decommissioned in November 1951 and scrapped on 17 December 1957.  
A model of the 14,890-ton German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee, scuttled in Montevideo harbour in Uruguay following the Battle of the River Plate, 13 December 1939.
A model of the York-class heavy cruiser HMS Exeter.  Although badly damaged by the Admiral Graf Spee in the Battle of the River Plate, HMS Exeter returned to Britain, was repaired, and dispatched to the Far East.  On 1 March 1942, Exeter was sunk by Japanese warships in the Second Battle of the Java Sea. 
A Mark 17 contact sea mine used by the Royal Navy.  These mines were deployed at precise depths under water, floating at the end of a cable tethered to a sinker on the seabed.


Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon, 22 September

The exterior of the Battle of Britain Hall, one of the hangars filled with historic aircraft at the RAF Museum in Hendon, a northern suburb of London.

A view of some of the historic aircraft preserved in the Battle of Britain Hall.
A Gloster Gladiator, the last bi-plane to enter service with the Royal Air Force.  The Gladiators are best known for their service overseas, especially in the defence of Malta. At the outbreak of the Second World War, two of four British-based Gladiator squadrons were deployed in France and were destroyed within 10 days of the German invasion in May 1940.  Additional Gladiators were deployed to cover the Dunkirk evacuation in June 1940 and as a rearguard during the withdrawal from Norway in April-June 1940.  At home, No. 247 Squadron RAF and No. 804 Squadron Fleet Air Arm used the Gladiator operationally during the Battle of Britain.      
A de Havilland Tiger Moth basic trainer.  One of the world's most famous training aircraft, the majority of RAF pilots undertook elementary flight training on Tiger Moths. 
A Boulton Paul Defiant two-seat fighter, which entered service in 1939.  With no forward-firing armament and all its firepower concentrated in a rotating turret, the Defiant initially surprised attacking German fighters.  However, once Luftwaffe pilots learned of the aircraft's lack of forward-firing weapons, the Defiants were easily attacked and had to be withdrawn from daylight operations and used only at night. Despite eventually being equipped with airborne radar, the Defiants were soon replaced by much more effective Bristol Beaufighters and de Havilland Mosquitos.    
A Bristol Blenheim IV light bomber.  Pressed into service to deliver desperate raids against the German onslaught in France and the Low Countries in May 1940, the Blenheims and other aircraft involved suffered terrible losses.  Blenheim IVs in Bomber and Coastal Commands made attacks on German-occupied ports and installations to disrupt invasion plans in 1940-1941, and they also served in North Africa and the Far East. 
A 16-foot (5 metre) high statue of Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park, Commanding Officer of Number 11 Group, RAF Fighter Command.  Number 11 Group was responsible for the defence of London and southeast England) during the Second World War.  Displays on the wall show the badges of RAF and German Luftwaffe squadrons involved in the Battle of Britain.  
A Supermarine Spitfire Mk I fighter.  Although unveiled in 1936, the Spitfire Mk I did not enter RAF service until 1938.  Although there were nine squadrons of operational Spitfires by the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the Commander of Fighter Command, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding refused to deploy any of this type of aircraft to France in response to the German invasion in May 1940, arguing that they would be needed to defend Britain in the event of a French surrender.  By July 1940, the RAF had 19 Spitfire Mk I squadrons available to participate in the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire Mk I was the only British fighter capable of matching the Luftwaffe's Messerschmitt Bf109E fighter.  
A Hawker Hurricane Mk I fighter.  Although the Spitfire has become the symbol of the Battle of Britain, the Hurricane was available in larger numbers and actually shot down more Luftwaffe aircraft than all other air and ground defences combined. Approximately 500 Hurricanes were in RAF service by the outbreak of the Second World War, with several Hurricane squadrons being sent to France in 1940 to help stem the German invasion.  Production of all aircraft, including Hurricanes, ramped up during the Battle of Britain, with the number of Hurricane squadrons growing from 19 in September 1939 to 32 by September 1940.  Hurricanes also served in the defence of Malta, in North Africa, and in the Far East later in the war.     
A display on the German aircraft models used in the Battle of Britain and the Luftwaffe commanders who directed the German air campaign against Britain, men like Albert Kesselring, Hugo Sperrle, Hans Jeschonnek, and Jurgen Stumpff.
A Heinkel He111-H medium bomber, developed from a high-speed commercial airliner design of 1934.  The He111 entered Luftwaffe service in 1936 and saw action during the Spanish Civil War, where they supported General Franco's Nationalist forces.  The speed and manoeuvrability of the He111 bomber greatly assisted the German Army's blitzkrieg tactics early in the war, but its vulnerability to fast British fighters and its poor defensive armament led to huge losses during the Battle of Britain in 1940-41.  From 16 September 1940, the Luftwaffe largely confined its He111s to night operations against British targets.      
A Messerschmitt Bf109E fighter of the German Luftwaffe.  The Bf109 airframe, originally developed in 1935, was flexible enough to accommodate improved engines and armament as the war progressed, a feature which enabled the plane to remain the backbone of the German fighter force until 1945.  The Bf109E was as fast as the Spitfire, faster than the Hurricane, and could outclimb both, though it lacked sufficiently heavy armament.  The biggest disadvantage of the Bf109 was its limited fuel capacity and consequently short range, which permitted only a few minutes of combat time over the United Kingdom before the need to return to base.        
The most versatile Luftwaffe aircraft of the Second World War, the Junkers Ju88 successfully served in a variety of roles, including bombing, night fighting, anti-shipping attack, and long-range reconnaissance.  The Ju88 entered service in September 1939 and first served on anti-shipping operations in the Firth of Forth on 26 September. During the opening phase of the Battle of Britain, Ju88s undertook daylight bombing raids on British radar stations, ports, and airfields.  Despite a lack of armour and insufficient defensive armament on early models, the Ju88 design proved remarkably adaptable and successively improved versions of the aircraft served until the end of the war.     
A Messerschmitt Bf110 twin-engined heavy long-range fighter.  With its heavy armament, the Bf110 acquitted itself well in the German invasion of Poland in September 1939; however, its use as a daylight escort fighter and its lack of manoeuvrability compared to British fighters during the Battle of Britain led to huge losses.  Nevertheless, given the short range of the Bf109 fighter, the Luftwaffe was compelled to continue using Bf110s as daylight bomber escorts.  The Bf110 did, however, make a highly successful night fighter later in the war.  
A view of the Bf110, Ju88, Bf109E, and He111 from the mezzanine viewing gallery in the Battle of Britain Hall.
A Fordson 'Sussex' barrage balloon tender operated by the RAF during the Second World War.  These trucks carried winches used to deploy large, hydrogen gas-filled balloons which held aloft strong steel cables.  These cables were designed to force attacking aircraft to change course or else clip their wings.  In September 1939, over 600 barrage balloon units were in service, each truck usually towing a trailer containing a large gas cylinder which stored the hydrogen used to fill the truck's balloon.  With the introduction of the V-1 flying bomb in mid-1944, the mobility of these Fordson trucks was essential for redeploying the balloon barrages to threatened areas.    
A CASA E3B, a Spanish licence-built version of the German Bucker Jungmann Bu 131 primary trainer aircraft.  First flown in 1934, the Bu 131 was ordered in large numbers by the paramilitary German Air-Sports Association and, in 1936, by the Luftwaffe.  Over 100 Spanish-built Bu 131s were delivered to General Franco's Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War, and the plane was built in a number of other European nations and Japan.  This particular plane was built in Spain in the 1950s and served in the air crew grading unit of the Spanish Air Force in the late 1970s and early 1980s.      
A Fiat CR42 Falco fighter of the Regia Aeronautica, the Italian Air Force.  Although biplanes were obsolete by the outbreak of the Second World War, the CR42 was built in larger numbers than any other Italian fighter aircraft of the war and served until the end of 1943.  Whilst it was very strong and manoeuvrable, the CR42 proved a failure during the Battle of Britain, in which Italian dictator Benito Mussolini insisted on having an Italian role.  From October 1940, CR42s flew from airfields on the Channel coast, though they engaged in little combat with British fighters; this was fortunate for the Italian pilots, as the CR42s' light armament of two machine guns was no match for the Spitfires and Hurricanes of the RAF.     
A Junkers Ju87 Stuka dive bomber, one of the Luftwaffe's most feared aircraft due to its accuracy and the sound of the high-pitched siren mounted under the fuselage (nicknamed the 'Trumpets of Jericho'), which terrorised soldiers and refugees alike fleeing the German invasion of France in May 1940.  The Ju87 displayed here at the RAF Museum Hendon is the only one in Europe. 
The Ju87 was first used during the Spanish Civil War, then performed successfully in the German invasions of Poland (1939) and France (1940), followed by anti-shipping operations in the Channel that sank more ships than by any other aircraft in history. Attacks on British coastal airfields and radar stations in the summer of 1940 revealed the vulnerability of the slow and poorly-armed Ju87 in the face of British fighter defences, and the Stuka was soon withdrawn from operations after heavy losses.  A specialist anti-tank version of the Ju87 was developed, however, and served effectively on the Eastern Front against Soviet forces later in the war.       
The mezzanine level of the Battle of Britain Hall contains a collection of 'Battle of Britain art', various uniforms and displays of personal equipment, a reconstruction of Number 11 Group's Operations Room, and good, top-down views of the historic aircraft on the ground floor below. 
A stained glass window dedicated to Flight Lieutenant Hubert John Wilkinson, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.  Killed in a flying accident when his Spitfire V crashed into the sea off Alnwick on 2 May 1944, this memorial window was installed in St. Mark's Church, North Audley Street, London in May 1949.  When the church was closed by the London Diocese, the window was given to the RAF Museum in Hendon in 1995.   
A Short Sunderland flying boat of the Royal Air Force.  The Sunderland was the last flying boat operated by the RAF, though its successful design saw it remain in operational service for over 20 years.  Developed from the C-Class Empire flying boat of Imperial Airways, the Sunderland entered service in 1938.  A strong defensive armament earned the Sunderland the nickname 'Flying Porcupine' from German pilots.  A total of 749 Sunderlands were built and they served in RAF Coastal Command throughout the Second World War, flying long-range reconnaissance and anti-submarine missions from Britain, Africa, and the Far East.        
'Mooring up' the Sunderland involved two of the crew's air gunners winching back the forward gun turret and standing at the nose of the aircraft as the captain taxied to a floating mooring buoy.  Using a 'grabbit', similar to a boat hook, the men would pick up a line attached to the buoy and proceed to securely fasten the aircraft.  Relatively straightforward in calm weather, at night in rough weather this procedure could be dangerous, cold, and wet.  
The interior of the rear fuselage of the Sunderland flying boat, demonstrating the cramped quarters for the 13-man crew of this long-range anti-submarine patrol aircraft. 
Depth bombs were held inside the fuselage and winched out through retractable hatches on underwing rails, from which they were dropped on German U-boats.  The Sunderland's armament consisted of four 0.303 inch machine guns in the tail turret, two 0.303 inch machine guns in the nose turret, four fixed, remote-controlled 0.303 inch machine guns in the bows, two 0.5 inch free-mounted beam guns, and 2,000 pounds of bombs, depth charges, or mines.  
A mannequin dressed as a mechanic examines the #2 engine on the port wing, standing on a platform that, when retracted, forms part of the leading edge of the wing.  The Sunderland was powered by four Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp radial engines, generating 1,200 horsepower each. 
The enormous size of the Sunderland flying boat is evident in this shot taken from ground level.  The Sunderland saw post-war service in the Berlin Airlift and the Korean War and was finally retired from the RAF in 1959, when the last aircraft was scrapped at RAF Seletar, Singapore. 
A Westland Lysander army cooperation aircraft.  With remarkable short takeoff-and-landing performance, the Lysander gained its reputation as a Special Duties aircraft, ferrying Allied secret agents in and out of occupied Europe during the Second World War.  After the surrender of France in June 1940, Lysanders helped patrol south and east England at dawn and dusk as an anti-invasion measure, and later conducted air/sea rescue missions, spotting downed airmen in the Channel and even dropping dinghies and supplies.       
A Supermarine Seagull V air/sea rescue amphibious aircraft.  While the aircraft was called a Seagull V in Australian service, in Britain it was known as a Walrus, and was launched from warships via catapult.  The prototype Walrus first flew in 1933, and 746 were eventually built, including 461 of the wooden-hulled Mark II variant.       
A German V2 rocket, the world's first ballistic missile.  When fired from fixed positions or mobile launchers, the V2 would climb to an altitude of 60 miles on a pre-set compass course by an auto-pilot operating control tabs on the rocket's fins.  It took only three minutes for a rocket launched from northern France to hit London.  The first V2 hit London on 9 September 1944, though the rocket's accuracy was poor and of 1,104 V2s fired at London, only 514 hit within the city's boundaries.  An additional 1,265 V2s hit Antwep, Belgium.  
A Vosper Thorneycroft 68 foot Rescue and Target Towing Launch (RTTL), a descendant of the RAF's high-speed rescue launches used during the Second World War.  The RTTLs were primarily used to tow targets for RAF strike and anti-submarine aircraft, but they were fully outfitted for search and rescue operations.  The RAF's Marine Craft Section downsized following the removal of flying boats, and by the 1980s had been disbanded entirely.  The few remaining boats were operated under RAF control by private contractors until the service was passed to the Royal Navy in 1991.    


SS Great Britain and City of Bristol, 23 September

Platform 3 in Bristol Temple Meads Station, showing the curved, wrought iron roof of the train shed.  
A First Great Western train at Platform 3, about to depart Bristol Temple Meads Station.
The main entrance to Bristol Temple Meads Station.  The current station building was built between 1871 and 1878, replacing a previous, smaller station designed by legendary British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1840.  The station served as the western terminus of the Great Western Railway from London Paddington Station.  The Great Western Railway was the first railway engineered by Brunel.
Today, Bristol Temple Meads Station is managed by Network Rail and served by First Great Western, CrossCountry, and South West Trains, as well as by municipal bus services, and with easy access to the landing stage for ferries that traverse Bristol Harbour.
A view of part of Bristol's Floating Harbour, as seen from the Temple Quay landing stage used by the small ferries that serve several stops along the length of the harbour.  
The receipt from a one-way Bristol Ferry Boats trip on 23 September, from Temple Quay to the SS Great Britain.
The ferry Emily, a 48-passenger, wooden-hulled enclosed launch built at Bideford in 1927 and acquired by Bristol Ferry Boats in 1992.
Fishing and pleasure craft moored in Bristol's Floating Harbour, which is lined with a mix of modern and heritage commercial and residential buildings.
The 226 tonne, three-masted barque Kaskelot, built in 1948 for the Royal Greenland Trading Company and used to ferry supplies to isolated outposts in eastern Greenland. Later, in the 1960s, Kaskelot served as a support vessel for the Danish fisheries in the Faroe Islands. Today, the Kaskelot conducts charter and commercial work around the United Kingdom.

SS Great Britain

The forerunner of all modern ocean liners, the SS Great Britain was the brainchild of legendary British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, whose vision was of a large liner capable of carrying all the coal it required to steam across the Atlantic to New York.  Having designed the Great Western Railway from London's Paddington Station to Bristol (opened in 1838), Brunel saw an opportunity to extend the railway all the way to America via a steamship service.  Based on Brunel's concept, the Great Western Steamship Company (GWSSC) had been established in 1836 and the company's first vessel, SS Great Western, launched in 1837.  However, Brunel wanted an even bigger ship, and in 1839 began construction of the SS Great Britain at a specially-constructed dry dock in Bristol Harbour.

The SS Great Britain's hull was built from iron plates manufactured in Coalbrookdale in Shropshire, measuring approximately 6 feet long and 2 feet wide, and overlapped on the horizontal edges in clinker fashion.  The plates were thickest (2cm) near the keel, where the greatest strength was required, and thinnest (1cm) higher up on the hull.  The riveted plates were fastened to 167 iron frames inside the hull, rising from the keel to the upper deck.  In total, 1,040 tons of iron and around 370 tons of wood were used in the SS Great Britain's structure.             

Brunel was assisted in the design and construction of the SS Great Britain by GWSSC engineer Thomas Guppy, who provided immediate supervision and management of Great Britain's construction, and also designed the 1,000 horsepower engine and the ship's lifeboats; the GWSSC's Managing Director, Captain Charles Claxton, who advised Brunel on the ship's sailing rig and helped him test various propeller designs; and William Patterson, the lead shipwright who designed the shape of the hull.  The total cost to the Great Western Steamship Company of constructing SS Great Britain was £117,295.

On 19 July 1843, the SS Great Britain was launched by HRH Prince Albert, with thousands of enthusiastic Bristolians looking on.  Whilst the wife of one of the directors of the GWSSC was to have christened the vessel, her bottle of wine missed the ship's bow as it floated out of the dock; thinking quickly, Prince Albert grabbed a nearby bottle of champagne, smashed it against the bow and declared the ship the SS Great Britain.  When launched, SS Great Britain was the world's largest ship and, over the course of its career, she would sail over 1 million miles and call at more than 15 ports around the world.

As designed, SS Great Britain was divided into three classes of accommodation: first, second, and steerage.  On some voyages the first class after-saloons were four times the cost of the passage in steerage.  Accommodations in first or second class were small but comfortable and food was plentiful, including bottles of special Mumm champagne served to first class passengers.  However, in steerage, passengers lived in cramped, densely-packed quarters and subsisted on a diet of salt pork, pease soup, porridge, and ship's biscuit.

After departing Liverpool on her fifth transatlantic voyage to New York on 22 September 1846, SS Great Britain ran aground in Dundrum Bay in Northern Ireland.  The Captain blamed the error on an inaccurate chart, but fortunately nobody was injured and the passengers and crew were taken to shore on peasant carts.  For the next 11 months, Great Britain was battered by the waves until Brunel and Captain Claxton intervened and engineered a solution that led to the ship being refloated on 27 August 1847. 

In 1852, the Great Western Steamship Company sold SS Great Britain to Gibbs, Bright & Company for use in transporting emigrants from Britain to Australia, following the discovery of gold in Victoria state.  A new, more efficient engine and second funnel were installed, as was a retractable propeller and new rudder.  An extra upper deck increased capacity to 700 passengers.  Between 1852 and 1875, SS Great Britain would circumnavigate the earth 32 times via Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope, delivering emigrants to a new life in Australia.  Today, hundreds of thousands of Australians are descended from emigrants who arrived aboard SS Great Britain.   

With the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1853, the British government needed more ships to transport troops to the war zone.  The SS Great Britain was chartered in 1854 and, in 10 months, carried over 44,000 British, French, and Turkish troops, mostly on short voyages from Malta to the Crimean Peninsula. On one trip alone, the ship carried 1,600 French soldiers, 30 officers, and 27 horses.  Later, in 1857, SS Great Britain carried the 17th Lancers and 8th Royal Irish Hussars to Bombay to serve in the Sepoy War.  
   
In 1882, the SS Great Britain was converted to a pure sailing ship, having its engine and funnels removed to provide even more cargo space, and with three tall masts and broad square sails replacing the original six masts.  Using sail power reduced costs, and Great Britain could carry 2,640 tons of coal or wheat. Between 1882 and 1886, the ship carried British coal to San Francisco for use on California's railways, returning to the UK with cargoes of North American wheat and South American seabird guano (for fertiliser).  These pre-Panama Canal voyages required SS Great Britain to traverse the wild and stormy seas around Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America.  After being damaged in a gale near Cape Horn in 1886, SS Great Britain sought shelter in the Falkland Islands.  The ship's owners determined that the cost to repair SS Great Britain was prohibitive and insurers sold her to the Falkland Islands Company for use as a floating wool and coal warehouse in Port Stanley's harbour, a role she served until, in 1937, she was moved to an isolated cove and scuttled. 

In December 1939, the badly-damaged heavy cruiser HMS Exeter limped into the Falklands following the successful battle against the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee at the Battle of the River Plate.  To patch up their ship sufficiently to make the long cruise back to Britain for more extensive repairs, Exeter's crew cut iron plates from the then-derelict SS Great Britain and welded them over the holes in the cruiser's battle damaged hull. 

A salvage effort financed by donations returned the badly-weathered SS Great Britain from the Falklands to Bristol in 1970.  After being installed in the same dry dock in which she was constructed, the ship has been extensively restored to showcase her various roles, from transatlantic liner to emigrant ship to Crimean War transport.  SS Great Britain is now more than 160 years old and is the most popular attraction in Bristol, attracting over 150,000 visitors every year.
The entrance to the Great Western Dockyard, birthplace and current home of the SS Great Britain. After passing under the archway, visitors proceed into the large brown building, formerly the engine factory and today housing the ticket office and gift shop.
The admission ticket, good for unlimited visits for one year from date of purchase, is a copy of the ticket given to passengers who travelled on the SS Great Britain in 1865. The panel at the right side depicts the ship during various stages of its life between 1843 and 1970.




A map of the Great Western Dockyard and a deck plan for the SS Great Britain:


The richly ornamented stern of SS Great Britain.
SS Great Britain today resides in the same dry dock in which she was constructed between 1839 and 1843.
Scenes from the Great Western Dockyard I: The recreated dockyard provides visitors with the feel of entering a working Victorian-era port. 
Scenes from the Great Western Dockyard II: storehouses piled high with crates and barrels of dry goods and produce make it appear that SS Great Britain is preparing to depart on a transatlantic voyage. 
The grey-coloured SS Great Britain Museum building in the background, with the entrance to the dry dock floor in the foreground.

The SS Great Britain Museum takes visitors through time, tracing the history of the ship's construction and service life from 1970 back to 1845.  Here, visitors read about Great Britain's first voyage as an emigrant ship to Australia in 1852.   
SS Great Britain's 'main yard', dating from 1857 and now displayed inside the museum. Built of small, curved wrought iron plates riveted together to form a cylinder, the main yard was slung from the ship's main mast (240 feet high) and carried the largest sail aboard, the 'main course'.  The main yard is 100 feet long, weighs 7.5 tonnes, and was slung from the main mast 80 feet above the ship's deck.   
The SS Great Britain's lifting frame, two-bladed propeller, and large wooden rudder, on display inside the museum.  Installed aboard SS Great Britain in 1857 by new owners Gibbs, Bright & Company, the technologically-advanced lifting frame allowed the crew to raise the propeller inside a shaft within the ship, thereby cutting down on resistance through the water when Great Britain was cruising under sail.  Sailing was cheaper than using costly coal to power the engine, especially important during the ship's tenure transporting emigrants to Australia between 1852 and 1875.  Visitors can turn a large crank wheel to raise the propeller up and down on the lifting frame. 
The brass whistle of SS Great Britain's larger cousin, the SS Great Eastern (1858), also designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.  Compared to the Great Britain, the Great Eastern had a short life as a passenger liner, cable-laying ship, music hall, and floating advertisement before being scrapped in 1889-1890.  Now employing compressed air rather than high pressure steam, visitors to the museum can pull a rope attached to the whistle to hear Great Eastern's 'voice'.
A large glass case containing a scale model of SS Great Britain as she appeared in 1845, with sails deployed from all six masts.  The single funnel for the steam engine is seen amidships.
Descending to the floor of the dry dock, visitors can inspect the SS Great Britain's iron hull up close and walk completely around the 322-foot long ship.  Wooden cladding fixed to the upper hull plates in 1882 when SS Great Britain was converted to a sailing cargo vessel protected these plates from damage from the elements and small boats, which is why these plates are in better condition than those lower down.  
Close-up of the some of SS Great Britain's badly corroded iron hull plates. Notwithstanding the ship's current dry environment, more than 100 years of being immersed in salt water means that the iron hull plates still contain salts.  These salts attract moisture in the air and so corrosion continues to this day.  Additionally, when salt and iron atoms bond, certain chemical compounds form which accelerate corrosion even further. 
To slow the corrosion of the SS Great Britain's iron hull, the dry dock features an innovative, high-tech conservation measure.  Here, the large dehumidifier removes moisture from the air in the dry dock by forcing it through a super-absorbent powder. The dried air is then blown over the hull via nozzles spaced along a large aluminium duct that runs around the hull.  By drying the air in the dry dock to a relative humidity of 20% (the same as the Arizona desert), the dehumidifier is able to almost completely halt further corrosion of the hull plates.   
A view of the giant 'balanced rudder' and six-bladed propeller installed aboard SS Great Britain. These are replicas of the original rudder and propeller designed for the ship by her designer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.  Brunel's brilliant balanced rudder design made turning the rudder much easier for the crew, as the vertical post connecting the rudder to the steering mechanism on deck was mounted in such a way that the pressure of water was balanced on either side of the rudder.  (Traditional rudders had been mounted at their forward end; modern day rudders use Brunel's concept.)      
The immensity of the propeller is seen here next to the standing visitor.  This 15-foot 6-inch diameter propeller is a replica of the one used by SS Great Britain on her first transatlantic voyage in 1845.  Weighing 3.9 tonnes, the propeller was capable of driving the ship at speeds up to 12 knots (22.2 kph; 13.8 mph).  Brunel was so inspired by the experimental screw propeller employed by a small vessel that visited Bristol in 1840, that he scrapped his original plan to use paddle wheels to power SS Great Britain and convinced the Great Western Steamship Company to approve the use of a propeller instead. While the original six-bladed propeller was very efficient and is similar in design to modern propellers, it could not withstand the amount of energy being pushed through the blades, and the ship's owners subsequently replaced the six-bladed version with one that was less efficient but structurally stronger.       
A head-on view of SS Great Britain's bow.  The dehumidified air duct and nozzles running the length of the hull can clearly be seen on the dock floor.  The glass roof that protects the hull from the elements is also evident.  Using a rubber seal along the hull, the top of the strong roof is flooded with a few inches of water to cleverly give the ship the appearance of floating. 
A view down the port side of SS Great Britain, as seen from the gangway leading from the museum building onto the ship's Weather Deck.
Colourful terrace homes sit atop a ridge overlooking the Floating Harbour, as seen from the bow of SS Great Britain.
The white line on the deck kept steerage passengers from mixing with wealthy first class passengers who enjoyed exclusive use of the after portion of the Weather Deck, reflecting the rigid class hierarchy of Victorian Britain.  These two deckhouses contain staircases down to the the first class accommodations and common areas.
The ship's wheel at the stern.  Despite the innovative design and novel size of the SS Great Britain, her exposed steering position on the Weather Deck reflects a traditional layout.
A view toward the bow from the ship's bridge, literally an elevated platform spanning the Weather Deck, from which lookouts could assist with navigating SS Great Britain on her lengthy oceanic voyages.
Looking forward on the Weather Deck.  Note the skylights which allow natural light into the first class saloon on the Promenade Deck below.  A long deckhouse with extra accommodation space was built over the Weather Deck during the ship's conversion to an emigrant vessel in 1852, however. 
The stairs leading down from the Weather Deck to the Promenade Deck immediately below.
Luggage piled high in the amidships passageway on the Promenade Deck.
The forward Promenade Deck is recreated as it appeared when SS Great Britain served as an emigrant ship to Australia between 1852 and 1875.  Row upon row of cramped, poorly-ventilated bunks show how uncomfortable was the 60-day passage to Australia for the working class emigrants who sought a new life Down Under.
The steerage class passengers' pantry, where rations and utensils were stored.  Steerage passengers were divided into messes of eight people each, and one person from each mess served on a rotational basis as mess leader.  The mess leader was responsible for fetching food from the pantry, taking it to the galley to be cooked, collecting and distributing the meal to his fellow messmates, and cleaning up afterward.  Meals for steerage class passengers were a bland, meagre diet of pease soup, porridge, salt pork, and rock hard ship's biscuit.  
A typical emigrant 'cabin' comprised four bunks, with an aisle a mere two feet across, such that only one person could dress at a time. 
A typical emigrant mess table, at which meals were taken.
Looking up the port passageway on the forward Promenade Deck's emigrant accommodations.  On a typical emigrant voyage to Australia, SS Great Britain required a crew of 120 to 140 men, comprising trained sailors and officers, blacksmiths, butchers, stewards, surgeons, sail-makers, engineers, stokers, cooks, bakers, and lamp-trimmers, working in 4-hour watches. On most voyages at least one crewman was seriously injured or lost overboard.
One of the ship's storerooms for the large quantity of food carried aboard for the voyages from Liverpool to Melbourne, Australia.  As the ship did not stop to replenish along the way, she carried all the supplies needed to make the 60 day voyage to the South Pacific.  Different storerooms were dedicated to dry and tinned goods, vegetables, meat, and cheese, with an icehouse used to keep slaughtered meat fresh for the first few days out of port.
The SS Great Britain's galley, where all meals were cooked.  On a typical voyage, galley staff comprised ten cooks, two bakers, two butchers, and a storekeeper.
The ship's bakery, featuring a large brick-lined iron oven, a work table for kneading dough, and racks for the freshly-baked loaves to cool on. 
The ship's butcher cuts into a porpoise caught en route to Australia.  Hundreds of sheep, poultry, and pigs carried in pens on the Weather Deck provided fresh meat during the voyage, while first class passengers could enjoy milk with their tea from cows also kept on deck. 
SS Great Britain's engine room.  A large skylight allows natural light to illuminate this space.  The four-cylinder engine produced 1,000 horsepower and was the world's largest marine powerplant in 1843.  As steam engine technology advanced through the 1840s, SS Great Britain's owners replaced this engine in 1852 with a smaller, more efficient engine which served the ship until 1876, when Great Britain was converted to use sail power exclusively. 
The large central wheel on the engine's crankshaft transmitted power to a smaller wheel on the propeller shaft via a set of chains.  
Down in the stokehold, two stokers swelter in the stifling heat while shovelling coal into the boilers.  Stokers had the most uncomfortable job on the ship, working four-hour shifts to keep the fires burning at the constant, intense heat required to produce sufficient steam to power the engine.  Often, a stoker could shovel a ton of coal in one shift in the boiler room.       
The Captain's berth, located amidships on the Promenade Deck.
The Captain's cabin contained all the charts and instruments required to navigate the ship.  It was located next to his berth so that he could respond quickly to any emergencies.  Here, Captain Matthews argues with his First Mate.
A Royal Marine officer takes passage on SS Great Britain for the voyage to the Black Sea during the Crimean War in 1854.
A private room for women only, located just off the forward end of the Promenade Saloon. 
The Promenade Saloon, where first class passengers could walk, dance, and socialise. Skylights on the Weather Deck above allowed natural light to flood the Promenade Saloon, while further skylights on the edge of the Promenade Saloon's deck allowed much of this light to reach the Dining Saloon below.  At the aft end of the Promenade Saloon is a large curved window that traverses the ship's stern, allowing passengers to watch the ship's wake while keeping dry and warm.  The doors on either side of the Promenade Saloon lead to first class cabins.  
A typical first class cabin, containing two bunks, a washbasin, and a candle lamp. Given the danger of fire at sea, the ship's officers enforced a strict curfew of lights out by 10pm. 
The ship's surgeon had an office off the Promenade Saloon to treat passengers and crew who were injured or fell ill.
A family in a larger, four-berth first class cabin on the port side enjoys the light and ventilation provided by a port hole. 
A cabin on the starboard side, containing four berths crammed with luggage and a washbasin.
The Dining Saloon on the Saloon Deck.  This lavishly-appointed room was used by first class passengers for meals, socialising, and entertainment.  Given the lengthy voyages, passengers aboard SS Great Britain spent much time eating and drinking.  And as the ship carried no professional entertainers, passengers were responsible for their own amusement, which could include amateur theatrical performances, concerts, charades, magic shows, mock trials, and raffles.  Bible readings, Sunday school lessons, volunteer militia drill, and language lessons were also held in the Dining Saloon.  The portraits of famous navigators in history are displayed over each of the cabin doors lining both sides of the Dining Saloon.
The forward hold is recreated to look as it appeared during the Crimean War service that SS Great Britain undertook in 1854.  Here, a British cavalryman cares for horses being transported to the war zone.
SS Great Britain's bow towers over the dock and the 'glass sea' enclosing the dry dock.
The SS Great Britain at home in her dry dock.

Bristol Harbour and environs

Bristol's harbour is often called the Floating Harbour, as lock gates installed on a tidal stretch of the River Avon in the early 19th century mean that the water level always remains constant and is not subject to the state of the tide on the Avon.  This allows ships in the harbour to remain floating when the Avon is at low tide, reduces currents and silting, and prevents flooding.  The Floating Harbour covers an area of 70 acres and the series of locks at its western end permit the Floating Habour and the River Avon to merge once again before flowing through the Avon Gorge out to the Bristol Channel and the Irish Sea.  As ships increased in size, the Floating Harbour declined as an operational port and cargo operations moved seven miles downstream to new docks at Avonmouth and Portbury.  The Floating Harbour is today a tourist attraction, with museums, art galleries, pubs, and restaurants, as well as modern residential and commercial buildings.  Various parts of the Floating Harbour are served by Bristol Ferry Boats and Number Seven Boat Trips, while Bristol Packet boats run regular harbour tours and river cruises downstream to Avonmouth.  The Bristol Harbour Festival held every year in late July attracts a large number of boats, tall ships, Royal Navy vessels, and lifeboats.   

A signpost shows the distances to a few of the notable destinations at which the SS Great Britain called during her career: New York, Melbourne, Bombay, and the Falkland Islands. 
Two of the four 1951-vintage electrically-powered cargo cranes outside the M Shed museum in Bristol's Floating Harbour.  The M Shed occupies a former dockside transit shed on Prince's Wharf and showcases 3,000 artefacts pertaining to Bristol's role in the slave trade, transport, people, and the arts.  The tracks along the wharf belong to the Bristol Harbour Railway, which still operates historic locomotives and rolling stock on holiday weekends.
The MV Balmoral, a 688 tonne historic excursion ship owned by the preservation charity MV Balmoral Fund and part of the UK's National Historic Fleet.  The Balmoral was built as a ferry by John I. Thornycroft & Co. in Woolston near Southampton and launched on 27 June 1949. The ship measures 203 feet 6 inches long, with a beam of 32 feet, and conducts excursion trips mostly in the Bristol Channel.      
The MV Balmoral originally operated as a passenger and car ferry between the mainland port of Southampton and Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, as well as conducting occasional excursion trips.  As dedicated car ferries began to enter service, the Balmoral focused increasingly on excursion trips by the Red Funnel Line and, later, P&A Campbell until 1980, after which she was sold as a floating restaurant in Dundee, Scotland. Returning to the Bristol Channel in 1986, Balmoral has been making excursion trips since then, both in the Bristol area and elsewhere in the UK.
The V Shed in Bristol's Floating Harbour was formerly a dockside transit shed, built around 1900.  Amongst other restaurants and pubs now housed in it, the V Shed has been home to a Wetherspoons pub since 28 July 2002.
The Bristol Marriott Royal, a luxury hotel on College Green in the city centre, built in 1863 and completely restored in 1991.  Located next to Bristol Cathedral, the Victorian-era hotel features polished marble, mahogany and brass accents.  Afternoon tea is in the Club Bar and Walter's Bar and Grill offers meals using locally-sourced regional ingredients from Gloucestershire, Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall.
The Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, better known as Bristol Cathedral, is the city's Anglican cathedral and a Grade I listed building.  Built between 1220 and 1888, Bristol Cathedral was consecrated on 11 April 1148.  Although there are elements in the building dating back to the 12th century, much of the cathedral was rebuilt in the 14th century in the English Decorated Gothic style, and the twin towers at the western end of the building, seen in the photo, were completed in 1888.  The  vast majority of the cathedral's original stained glass was lost due to Victoria-era replacements and German bombing attacks in 1940-1941.      
Looking north on central Bristol's Park Street, one of the city's main commercial thoroughfares.  The Neo-Gothic Wills Memorial Building, built between 1915 and 1925, was named after the first Chancellor of the University of Bristol.  The building, which at 215 feet high is Bristol's third tallest structure, today houses the university's School of Law, the Department of Earth Sciences, and the law and earth sciences libraries. 
Looking east along Bristol's Floating Harbour from the Prince Street Bridge.  Multi-coloured terrace homes on Redcliffe Parade stand on a ridge overlooking the harbour, while the 292-foot tall spire of St. Mary Redcliffe parish church towers beyond the trees.
A view of the terrace homes that line the southern perimeter of Queen Square in Bristol. Planned in 1699 and completed in 1727, Queen Square was the most prestigious residential district in 18th century Bristol.  Whilst originally home to notable Bristolians, the terrace buildings are today mainly occupied by commercial offices.  Of note, on the far left of the photo is the former Sailors Refuge, built between 1709 and 1711, an example of the more architecturally-lavish homes demanded by wealthy Queen Square residents.        
At the centre of Queen Square is an idealised equestrian statue of William III, King of England, Ireland, and Scotland from 1689 to his death in 1702.  The brass statue, cast by John Michael Rysbrack, was created in 1733 and erected in Queen Square in 1736 to demonstrate Bristol's loyalty to the Crown.         
On 29 October 1831, 500-600 disgruntled Bristolians rioted following the defeat of the Second Reform Bill by the House of Lords, which would have reformed and expanded the electoral franchise.   Bristol's representative in Parliament, Sir Charles Weatherell, had voted against the Bill despite many Bristolians' support for the proposed reforms.  The enraged rioters controlled the city for three days and, in addition to attacking prisons and destroying and looting the palace of the Bishop of Bristol and the mansion of the city's Lord Mayor, the mob demolished nearly all of the buildings on the north and west sides of Queen Square. Interestingly, the famous engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who had arrived in Bristol to work on his now-iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge, was deputised as a special constable and saved the Lord Mayor's silverware and pictures from the mob, carrying them safety over the rooftops.  Brunel later testified at a number of enquiries into the riots.    
The building in the foreground is Queen Square House, on the eastern perimeter of the square.  Built in 1889 as the Port of Bristol Authority Docks Office, the building was designed in the Classical style, with a roof in the French Empire style. 


British Museum and Imperial War Museum, 24 September

British Museum

Dedicated to human history, art, and culture, the British Museum is one of the world's largest museums, covering 990,000 square feet and attracting over 6.7 million visitors in 2014 alone.  Despite having almost 100 publicly-accessible galleries, the 50,000 artefacts on display represent less than 1% of the British Museum's entire collection of 8 million items from all corners of the world.


The British Museum was established in 1753 with the collection of curiosities assembled by physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane and, for the sum of £20,000, bequeathed to King George II for the British nation after Sloane's death.  Belonging to neither the monarch or the church and freely open to the public, the British Museum was the first such institution of its kind.  Opened to the public on 15 January 1759 in an earlier building on the present site, the museum subsequently expanded with the growth of the British Empire.  Until 1997, the building also housed the British Library.  In December 2000, the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court opened, featuring a massive glass canopy over the museum's central quadrangle and assuming the record of the largest covered square in Europe.  

Today, the British Museum is sponsored by the UK Government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport and, as with all national museums in the UK, charges no admission fee.    

The main entrance to the British Museum off Great Russell Street, designed by Sir Robert Smirke in the Greek Revival style and utilising 44 Ionic columns, each measuring 45 feet high.  The pediment over the columns features a sculpture of 15 allegorical figures by Sir Richard Westmacott, entitled The Progress of Civilisation, installed in 1852.
The British Museum was built in stages, with the various wings being constructed between 1823 and 1938.  During the Second World War, German bombs damaged several sections of the museum; an attack on 10-11 May 1941 hit the southwest corner of the building, destroying 150,000 books and the galleries around the top of the Great Staircase, damage that was not fully repaired until the early 1960s. 
Looking down into the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court from an upper floor window.  The West Wing housing artefacts from ancient Egypt is accessed via doors under the columned facade in the centre of the photo.  An information desk helps visitors orient themselves to the massive facility and sells tickets for special exhibitions.
Another view of the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court, as seen from the curved staircase wrapping around the Round Reading Room at the centre of the court.  Cafes and the museum's book and gift shops are arrayed around the court.
A cedar totem pole carved by the Haida people of the northwest coast of Canada, acquired by the British Museum in 1903 and on permanent display in the northeast corner of the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court.

British Museum guide map:





The famous Rosetta Stone, discovered by French soldier Pierre-François Bouchard in 1799 while participating in Napoleon's expedition to Egypt.  Following the British defeat of French forces in Egypt in 1801, the stone was taken to the UK and has been on continuous display in the British Museum since 1802.  This surviving fragment of a larger slab is carved with the text of a decree issued at Memphis, Egypt in 196 BC on behalf of King Ptolemy V.  The edict is written in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic (everyday Egyptian) script, and Ancient Greek.  As the same text is presented in three different languages, the Rosetta Stone represented a breakthrough for those seeking to decipher Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and provided the key to understanding the lost language. The Rosetta Stone is the most visited item in the British Museum's collection, and has a prominent place inside the entrance to the Ancient Egypt galleries. 
A view of the sculptures housed in Room 4 of the Ancient Egypt gallery.
A fragment of a granite statue of pharoh Ramesses II from the Ancient Egyptian mortuary temple (the Ramesseum) at Thebes.  This statue, carved around 1270 BC, was one of a pair that originally flanked the doorway to the Ramesseum.    
Two Assyrian sculptures, dating from 865-860 BC and taken from a palace at Nimrud. The figure on the left is a winged human-headed bull, while the sculpture on the right is a winged human-headed lion, both representing protective spirits.  The bull sculpture guarded the entrance to what is believed to have been the king's private apartments in the palace, while the lion sculpture guarded the entrance to what is believed to have been the banquet hall.  These sculptures each have twins which are on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA.      
An Assyrian colossal guardian lion from the entrance to the Temple of Ishtar Sharrat-niphi in Nimrud, dating from 865-860 BC.  The 15-ton lion sculpture symbolises Ishtar, the Assyrian goddess of war, and is one of a pair excavated in 1850.  A second pair of guardian lions were unearthed in Iraq in 2001.  
A 1967-1969 reconstruction of the eastern side of the Nereid Monument, the largest and finest of the Lykian tombs found at Xanthos in southwest Turkey, and dating from 390-380 BC. The name derives from the sculptures of Nereids, daughters of the sea-god Nereus, found in between the columns.  The Lykians adopted elements of Greek and Persian culture, such as the Persians' use of tombs raised on high podiums but in the form of a Greek temple.  The Nereid Monument was probably built for Xanthian dynast Arbinas and his family.
The Duveen Gallery, named after art dealer Sir Joseph Duveen, who funded the construction of this gallery to house the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon.  Completed in 1938, the Duveen Gallery was badly damaged by German bombs in 1940; fortunately, the Elgin Marbles had already been dispersed to secure storage sites in Britain due to fears of German air raids.  The Duveen Gallery was finally restored in 1962 and the Elgin Marbles returned for public display.

The Elgin Marbles


The Elgin Marbles, also known as the Parthenon Marbles, comprise a collection of Classical Greek sculptures, inscriptions, and architectural elements originally part of the temple of the Parthenon (built 447-438 BC) and other buildings on the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.  Many of the Parthenon Marbles were defaced after the temple became a church around AD 500, and the temple itself was reduced to ruins in 1687 when gunpowder stored within by the Turkish garrison exploded.

The Marbles displayed in the British Museum today were acquired by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin (British Ambassador to Ottoman Turkey), between 1801 and 1812 after he received a permit from Selim III, Sultan of Turkey, who then ruled Greece as part of the Ottoman Empire.  About half of the surviving sculptures from the Parthenon were removed by Elgin's agents and transported to Britain.  Elgin always intended that the Marbles would be displayed in the British Museum, and in 1816 the British government purchased them for the museum at less than the cost Elgin had paid to transport them to Britain. 

Controversy has dogged the Marbles since their acquisition by Elgin, with the legitimacy of the 1801 permit questioned and the ownership disputed by the Greek government, which has demanded the Marbles' return to Greece.  
    
The Elgin Marbles comprise more than half of the Parthenon's surviving sculptural elements, including 21 statuary figures from the east and west pediments, 15 of the 92 original 'metope' panels depicting battles between Lapiths and the Centaurs, and 247 feet of the original 524 feet of the Parthenon Frieze, which adorned the horizontal section high above the exterior walls of the temple.  
Cavalry figures from the Parthenon's west frieze.  The Parthenon Frieze depicts a Panathenaic Festival, a procession to celebrate the birth of Athena, the patron goddess of the city of Athens.  Every fourth year, the festival was more elaborately celebrated and called the Great Panathenaia.  The frieze began on the western side of the Parthenon, divided to run around both the north and south sides of the temple, and merged again on the eastern end, where the procession's leaders converge toward the gods seated in two groups.  Figures represented in the frieze included horsemen; charioteers; elders; musicians; religious officials; pitcher-bearers; attendants leading sacrificial animals; magistrates or tribal heroes; women carrying jugs, wine jars, and incense burners; gods; and the Priestess Athena at the centre of the eastern frieze.   
Panel XXXI from the Parthenon's south metope, depicting a centaur and a lapith fighting. While the Parthenon Frieze was carved in low relief, the metopes were carved in high relief.
The Elgin Marbles degraded as a result of 2,000 years of weathering on the Acropolis, and those taken to London suffered further damage from airborne pollutants from the 19th century to the mid-20th century.  Additionally, various efforts by museum staff to clean the Marbles caused further damage, including the 1937-1938 effort in which cleaners used scrapers and a chisel to restore what was believed to be the original white colour of the marble.  Unfortunately, their efforts removed surface detail on many of the sculptures.  Unknown to the museum experts at the time, the Pentelic marble from which the sculptures were carved naturally takes on a honey colour when exposed to air. 
A section of the Parthenon's east frieze, showing the Priestess Athena (seated, centre-right) next to Hēphaistos, the Greek god of blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire, and volcanoes.  In the centre of the photo, celebrants participate in the culminating aspect of the Panathenaic procession, the presentation of Athena's peplos, a common body-length garment worn by Ancient Greek women.  
The Molossian Hound, believed to be one of six Roman marble copies of an original  2nd century BC Greek bronze sculpture in the realist style.  The Molossian hound was related to the modern-day mastiff and was famously fierce, being used by the people of Epirus (modern-day northwest Greece and Albania) as guard dogs.  This particular sculpture of the Molossian Hound was purchased by Henry Constantine Jennings in Rome in the 1750s.     
Roman marble copies of the busts of Greek philosophers, from left to right: Socrates; Antisthenes, founder of the Cynic school of philosophy; Chrysippos, developer of the Stoic school of philosophy; and Epikouros, founder of the Epicurian school. 
A marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Aphrodite (known to Romans as Venus), surprised whilst bathing.  This sculpture, carved in the 1st or 2nd century AD, is a Roman copy of an earlier Greek original made of marble or bronze and possibly dating from the 2nd century BC.  The painter Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680) acquired this sculpture from the collection of King Charles I, following Charles's execution in 1649, and the sculpture is known as Lely's Venus.  Following Lely's death, Lely's Venus was returned to the Royal Collection.      
A gallery devoted to Athenian pottery between 1050 and 520 BC.
A display case containing numerous examples of Athenian black-figured vases dating from 600 to 530 BC. The black-figure technique used silhouette and incisions to render figures in black against the natural colour of the clay, with details incised through the black surface and white and red pigment added as necessary.
A display of Mycenaean burial pottery and weapons. Mycenaeans were buried in tombs, several bodies to a tomb, with burial items entombed with them. Burial items includes those implements that the deceased would have used or possessed during his or her lifetime, such as sets of knives, weapons (for warriors), gold jewelry and precious stones, and fish hooks.
Fourth century AD mosaic pavements from a Roman villa at Halikarnassos, discovered by archeologist C.T. Newton in 1856-1857 whilst searching for the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos. These mosaics are mounted on the walls of a staircase leading to the upper floor exhibits of the Ancient Greece and Rome galleries.
Room 72, a gallery devoted to Ancient Cyprus.

A cabinet of late Apulian red-figured vases, dating from 340-310 BC. 


Room 70, featuring items from the Roman Empire, including marble busts and display cases full of pottery and statuary.
A marble portrait bust of the Roman emperor Trajan (ruled AD 98 to his death in AD 117), carved to celebrate the tenth anniversary of his accession.  The nude depiction echoes Classical Greek representations of the human body.  Trajan was a successful soldier-emperor who directed the greatest territorial expansion in Roman history.  He is also remembered for his philanthropic pursuits, including the construction of many public buildings and the implementation of social welfare policies.  Trajan came to be known as the second of the Five Good Emperors (Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius) who ruled during an era of peace and prosperity in the Mediterranean world.
The Portland Vase, likely produced in Rome between 15 BC and AD 25. One of the finest surviving examples of Roman glassware, the vase is named after the Dukes of Portland, who owned this vase between 1785 and 1945. The cameo glass of the vase is made using a technique in which vessels and plaques, either free-blown or cast, are created with two layers of glass. The outer layer of white glass is then carved away from the underlying blue glass to create decorative scenes and patterns.  The Portland Vase originally had a base tapered to a point, which contained another band of decoration (likely of animals in a rural landscape).  The vase was deliberately smashed by a visitor in 1845, though the 125 fragments were repaired by a British Museum conservator within five months.  The Portland Vase is notable for being the Roman inspiration for Britain's famous Wedgwood jasperware pottery, designed in the 1770s.  
Stone portraits of Roman Syrians who lived between AD 50 and 270.  These sculptures once adorned tombs outside the city of Palmyra.  The tombs, built for wealthy citizens, contained rows of compartments set into the walls to hold the remains of the dead. Each compartment was sealed with a stone portrait of the deceased, like those displayed here, as well as a brief inscription.    
Marble busts of Roman emperor Hadrian (left) and Hadrian's lover, Antinous.  Emperor Hadrian (ruled AD 117-138) is depicted nude, in Classical Greek style, to demonstrate his heroic and almost god-like stature.  Antinous's mysterious death in the Nile River in AD 130 led a grieving Hadrian to erect a series of shrines and statues in tribute to him, depicting Antinous as a youth, man, and god.  
A marble bust of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (ruled AD 161-180), one of a series of imperial busts originally displayed in the residence of Jason Magnus, a prominent citizen of Cyrene in North Africa.
The Roman Empire gallery (Room 70), displaying artefacts from 300 BC to 330 AD, when the Roman emperor Constantine declared a 'New Rome' at Constantinople (modern Istanbul).
A display of Roman and Greek amphorae, sealable pottery vessels used to transport oil, wine, grain, and many other commodities throughout the Roman Empire.  Different commodities meant differently shaped amphorae: fat jars for oil, slender jars for wine. Whilst unglazed on the outside, often a coating of pitch or resin was applied inside the vessel to prevent seepage of the contents.  The long spikes on the bottom of some amphorae were used to grip the vessel when pouring.     
A Roman bronze helmet of Montefortino type, dating from the 3rd century BC and discovered in Apulia in southern Italy.
A display of implements used in after-dinner drinking parties, which were a staple of Greek social life.  Known as a symposium (literally meaning 'drinking together' in Greek), such a party could be held in a sanctuary during a religious festival, in an official city dining room during a civic celebration, or in private houses.  Greek houses often contained an andron (room for men), containing couches for guests to recline on and featuring musical entertainment provided by the guests or by hired entertainers. Women were only present to entertain and serve the male guests.  Various vessels were used to serve the wine which freely flowed during these loud and raucous symposia, including mixing bowls to dilute the wine with water before drinking, as was Greek custom. 
An overhead view of the various cabinets containing artefacts on specific aspects of Greek and Roman culture, including the Roman army, trade and transport, farming, domestic life, gladiators, spinning and weaving, medicine, music, furniture and fittings, and the arts. 
A 2nd century AD marble statue of the Roman Muse of Comedy, Thalia.  In ancient mythology, Thalia was one of nine female muses who served as companions to the god Apollo and who represented the arts and sciences.  The ivy wreath and shepherd's crook symbolise Thalia's connection to the countryside, the origin of comic performances. Discovered by the British painter and excavator Gavin Hamilton in 1776, this statue of Thalia and other statues were found in an ancient bath building in the port city of Ostia, near Rome.  It was restored and then purchased by British collector Charles Townley for his house museum.     
A display of European decorative arts dating from 1800-1900.  Many of the pieces on display take their inspiration from Classical artefacts discovered as a result of archaeological discoveries, trade, tourism, and colonial expansion.  
A pair of hard-paste porcelain ice cream coolers gifted by Napoleon Bonaparte to his father-in-law, the Emperor of Austria in 1811.  The paintings on the coolers, by J.F. Robert, depict various chateaux with Napoleonic connections: the Tuileries, Ecouen, Saint-Cyr, and Saint-Cloud.  
A Wedgwood jasperware copy of the Portland Vase, manufactured at the company's Etruria pottery works in Staffordshire, England sometime between 1785 and 1795, and acquired by the British Museum in 1802.  
A display of cut glass vases and vessels, reflecting the European fascination with Chinese and Egyptian motifs in the early 19th century, as well as other items manufactured for export to Turkey and reflecting Turkish aesthetic preferences.
Descending the South Stairs to the main entrance lobby. 
The Enlightenment Gallery in the east wing of the British Museum, featuring a wide range of artefacts from the Age of Enlightenment (late 1600s to late 1700s).  The gallery measures 300 feet in length and was constructed between 1823 and 1827 to house the King's Library of 65,000 volumes collected by King George III and donated to the British nation by George IV.  A German bomb hit in September 1940 damaged the gallery and destroyed or damaged beyond repair a number of books in the collection.  Repairs to the gallery were completed by 1950-1951, and further restoration work was carried out in 2000-2003 in advance of the British Museum's 250th anniversary in 2003.
A bust of famous botanist Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), most famous for accompanying Captain James Cook on his first great voyage of discovery, 1768-1771, during which he collected specimens from Brazil, Tahiti, New Zealand, and Australia.  Banks later went on to become President of the Royal Society and a trustee of the British Museum for over 40 years. 
A Greek wine bowl (Volute-Krater), dating from 320-310 BC and manufactured in Apulia. One side is decorated with scenes from the Trojan War, while the other features images of Greeks fighting Amazons and a pre-chariot race sacrifice.  This bowl was once possessed by Prince Napoleon Bonaparte.   
A view of the 300-foot long Enlightenment Gallery.
The Piranesi Vase, an 18th century Italian vessel incorporating fragments of a 2nd century Roman vase and other monuments.  The Piranesi Vase was designed by Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778), who allegedly found the Roman fragments at the villa of the Emperor Hadrian at Tivoli in 1769 and restored them in his workshop.  



Imperial War Museum London

The London branch of the Imperial War Museum has been housed since 1936 in the former Bethlem Royal Hospital on Lambeth Road in Southwark, originally completed in October 1814. Galleries were originally themed by service (navy, army, air force) and separated military and civilian war work. In the 1960s, the museum's exhibits underwent a radical overhaul and, by the 1980s, renovations had created exhibit space over five floors. A further redevelopment in 2013-14 was timed to mark the centenary of the First World War, and introduced new gallery spaces dedicated to the First World War, a new central hall, and improved access and navigation for visitors. Selected galleries were closed beginning September 2012 and from 2 January 2013 the museum was entirely closed to visitors. Following a partial re-open on 29 July 2013, the renovated Imperial War Museum formally welcomed visitors back on 17 July 2014.

The exterior of the Imperial War Museum London, featuring the copper cupola added in 1844-1846. Mounted in front of the museum building are two 15-inch naval guns, one from the battleship HMS Ramillies and the other from the monitor HMS Roberts and, later, the battleship HMS Resolution. These guns were used during the Second World War, and went on display in front of the museum in May 1968.

The Imperial War Museum London guide map:







The redeveloped atrium of the Imperial War Museum London displays large items from the museum's collection, including a German V-1 flying bomb and V-2 rocket, a Spitfire fighter, and a Harrier jet.  
Visitors entering the Imperial War Museum first proceed through the brick archway and descend the stairs into the atrium.
Looking down into the atrium from three stories up.
A Harrier GR.9, built in 1989 and delivered to the Royal Air Force on 21 February 1992. Originally built as a GR.5 model, this aircraft (registration ZD461) was subsequently upgraded to GR.7 and then GR.9 standards.  ZD461 took part in operations in Kosovo in June 2000 (Operation Deliberate Force), flew at least 40 combat missions over Afghanistan in 2006, and conducted a second deployment to Afghanistan in late 2008. On 15 December 2010, the Joint Harrier Force was withdrawn from service following budget cuts announced by the UK Government, and ZD461 was declared surplus and offered for sale to the Imperial War Museum.  The Harrier made its first flight on 28 December 1967 and entered service in 1969, serving with the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, United States Marine Corps, Indian Navy, Thai Navy, Spanish Navy, and Italian Navy.  Harriers were built until 2003.
The new First World War gallery, opened in July 2014 and part of the major redevelopment of the museum in 2013-14 to mark the centenary of the First World War. The new gallery uses low lighting, audio-visual effects, and many interactive displays to take visitors on a chronological and thematic journey through the war.  
A display of signs created by First World War soldiers and posted in trenches and on routes used for the movement of troops.
An exhibit on gas warfare includes a variety of hoods and masks , as well as photos and information on the various types of gas and chemical warfare agents used during the First World War.
Large illuminated photos of the stark conditions in the trenches and the men who lived in them provide a backdrop to displays of personal letters and artefacts.
A British Sopwith Camel single-seat fighter.  This aircraft (N6812) was flown by Lieutenant S.D. Culley, RAF, on a sweep by the Harwich Force in the southern North Sea on 11 August 1918.  Taking off from a barge towed by a destroyer, Culley shot down the German Zeppelin L.53 before landing in the water alongside the barge; the Camel was recovered without any major damage.  L.53 was the last Zeppelin destroyed during the war.
A display of models used to test various dazzle paint schemes developed by British artist Norman Wilkinson.  In the words of Wilkinson, the concept behind dazzle was to 'paint a ship with large patches of strong colour...which will so distort the form of the vessel that the chances of successful aim by attacking submarines will be greatly decreased.'  
A glass case holds the uniforms of soldiers of three of the Allied powers: from left to right the khaki uniform of a Private in the United States Army's Chemical Branch; the khaki uniform of a Warrant Officer in the Canadian Army's 22nd Infantry Battalion; and the distinctive horizon blue uniform of a French Army soldier in the 113th Infantry Regiment.  
The late war uniform of a German infantry soldier of the elite Hanoverian Fusilier-Regiment 73 [“General-Feldmarschall Prinz Albrecht von Preußen” (Hannoversches)], clutching a rifle in the right hand and cylindrical stick grenade in the left hand.
A view of one section of the gallery called Turning Points, 1934-1945 and covering the events leading up to, and during, the Second World War.  A selection of artefacts representing major aspects of the war are presented.


The clinker-built, 15-foot wooden fishing boat Tamzine.  Built at Margate, Kent in 1937, Tamzine was requisitioned for use in the evacuation of British Expeditionary Force personnel from the beaches of Dunkirk, France (Operation Dynamo) between 27 May and 4 June 1940. Tamzine was the smallest vessel known to have taken part in Operation Dynamo.
The nose section of an Avro 683 Lancaster Mk I bomber. This aircraft was built in 1943 and delivered to 467 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force at Bottesford, Lincolnshire. After making 49 sorties over German-occupied Europe in 1943-1944, the aircraft was transferred to 1651 Heavy Conversion Unit at Woolfox Lodge and used for aircrew training.  On 4 October 1945, the aircraft was retired from service. 
A German 88mm Flak 36 heavy anti-aircraft gun.  These deadly guns were used in Germany's air defence system to combat the waves of Allied bombers attacking military, industrial, and population centres late in the war.  In 1944-45, there were between 10,000 and 15,000 88mm guns defending Germany.  The 88mm gun also proved to be a formidable anti-tank weapon when fired horizontally.  The gun fired 15-20 rounds per minute, with an effective range of 14,860 metres against ground targets and 7,620 metres against air targets.  
An Italian SSB Maiale ('Pig') manned torpedo, built in 1939.  More than 80 Pigs were built for the Royal Italian Navy in Italy between 1940 and 1943.  The SSB was a later model, featuring a partly-enclosed cockpit, a more powerful electric motor, and a larger 660 lb high explosive warhead.  Carried atop a 'mother' submarine until in proximity to the intended target, the two-man crew would don protective rubber suits and breathing apparatus and board their Pig.  Able to dive to 30 metres to get around harbour defences, the Pig's crew would detach their warhead and clamp it to a target's hull.  The Pigs had their greatest successes in 1941 with successful attacks in Gibraltar and Alexandria.  In the latter case,  Pig attacks immobilised the British battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth and Valiant in Alexandria harbour on 19 December.  The operational deployment of the SSB model was preempted by the surrender of Italy in 1943.     
A display of surrendered Japanese officers' swords.  Japanese officers considered the surrender of their swords to be a deeply humiliating act and for this reason Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten (Commander-in-Chief South East Asia) ordered that all Japanese swords be surrendered.  The swords displayed here were surrendered in Singapore, Penang, Java, and Borneo to both high-ranking and ordinary Allied officers.  The 450-year old sword in the middle, however, was gifted to a British admiral by a Japanese counterpart in 1946 in gratitude of the former's treatment of the Imperial Japanese Navy. 
The wreckage of an Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi A6M fighter, better known as a 'Zero'.  The Zero was well-armed, fast, and light (the consequence of employing aluminium alloy), operating from aircraft carriers in the Pacific.  This aircraft, built in 1943, was badly damaged in combat whilst operating from an air base on Taroa in the Marshall Islands.  Lacking resources to repair it, Japanese ground crews pushed the aircraft off the runway and into the jungle, where it was found 50 years after the end of the war. 
A Sherman M4A4 medium tank which served with the British Army's Guards Armoured Division and which took part in the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944.  This tank, nicknamed Willie Pusher II, was built at the Detroit Arsenal in the United States.  The M4A4 was the most common version of the famous Sherman tank used by the British.  
A German Army BMW R75 750cc motorcycle with sidecar, weighing 355 kilograms. Although this motorcycle is a late war production R75, it is painted incorrectly in 1940 blitzkrieg markings. 
A battle-damaged bronze Nazi eagle sculpture designed by Albert Speer that once hung in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin and was seized after the fall of the city in May 1945. The sculpture weighs 550 pounds, is 75 inches tall, and has a wingspan of 113 inches. 
A Humber staff car used by British General Bernard Montgomery for visiting his troops in the field.  These morale-boosting visits helped earn Montgomery the respect of the thousands of men who served under him in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War.
A 25-pounder field gun that saw service with the British Army's 11th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.  In July 1942, this gun participated in the defence of British positions at El Alamein in Egypt during German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's attempt to break through British lines.
A Chevrolet 30cwt WB truck of the British Army's Long Range Desert Group (LRDG). These two-wheel drive trucks served with the LRDG until March 1941 and featured a large radiator, a condenser system, low-pressure tires, sand mats, and rugged suspension for operations in the North African desert.  The LRDG was established in June 1940 to gather intelligence and conduct raids behind Italian lines, following Italy's declaration of war against Britain.  The all-volunteer LRDG were experts in desert operations and navigation, yet never numbered more than 350 men.
A Rolls-Royce Merlin aircraft engine, one of 150,000 produced between 1933 and 1950. The famous Merlin engine powered the Spitfire and Hurricane fighters, as well the Lancaster bomber and some Halifax bombers.
One of five casings constructed for the 'Little Boy' atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on 6 August 1945, resulting in 70,000 deaths and destruction of 90% of the city. While 'Little Boy' made use of enriched uranium, the bomb ('Fat Man') dropped on Nagasaki on 9 August 1945 used plutonium and killed an additional 39,000 people.
An example of North Korean propaganda banners meant to demoralise UN troops during the Korean War, 1950-1953.  This banner was draped across barbed wire along British front line trenches on Christmas Eve 1952 and retrieved by 2nd Lieutenant John Keatley of the 1st Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment. 
A tile mosaic of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, originally located in the port of Umm Qsar. Local citizens asked British troops to remove this mosaic after the fall of Saddam in 2003. Many other statues and monuments to the deposed leader were destroyed by Iraqis who had suffered at the hands of the brutal Hussein regime.   
A four-wheel drive Ferret Scout Car built by Daimler and used by the British Army in Cyprus.  This vehicle was sent to the British Western Sovereign Base Area in Cyprus in May 1980, was transferred to the United Nations in 1981, and used by UN forces to patrol the Green Line demilitarised zone between Greek and Turkish Cypriot territory until March 1984. 
A lightly-armoured Humber truck, known colloquially as a 'Pig', capable of a top speed of 64 kph and an operational range of 400 km.  These trucks were a regular sight patrolling the streets of Northern Ireland during The Troubles.  Approximately 1,700 Humber Pigs were built, with the vehicles used by the Royal Ulster Constabulary between 1958 and 1970.  Although withdrawn from police service in 1970, the deterioration of the security situation in Northern Ireland that year saw the Pigs return in British Army service for urban patrol duties.  The last Pigs were finally withdrawn from service for good in the early 1990s.       
A German-manufactured Rheinmetall 20mm Mk 20 RH202 anti-aircraft gun operated by Argentine forces on the Falkland Islands during their 1982 occupation.  This gun was captured by British forces during the military campaign to retake the islands and restore British sovereignty.
The wire-and-latex puppet of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher used in the 1980s British satirical show Spitting Image.  The show's producers characterised Thatcher as a domineering, hawkish Prime Minister, dressed in a man's suit, who would berate her emasculated, childish, and/or intellectually inferior Cabinet colleagues during raucous meetings. 

Heathrow and the flight home, 25 September

A view from the upper level of Heathrow's Terminal 2 (The Queen's Terminal), which opened on 4 June 2014.  The bright, airy terminal was designed in two parts by Luis Vidal + Architects (Terminal 2A) and Grimshaw Architects (Terminal 2B).  The building features a number of energy efficiency enhancements.  
A view of some of the shops and restaurants in Terminal 2.
The centre of Terminal 2 offers plenty of seating.
Riding the escalator down from the upper level to the ground level of Terminal 2.
An empty departure lounge in the A Gates section of Terminal 2.
The Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar in the centre of Terminal 2 offers Prunier caviar and Balik smoked salmon, as well as a 15-minute menu for travellers in a rush.
The World Duty Free store in Terminal 2 sells a wide range of alcohol, chocolate, souvenirs, watches, and fragrances.
A look into the high-end shopping concourse in Terminal 2, featuring shops such as Harrod's Watch Shop, Bulgari, Burberry, Kurt Geiger, Hugo Boss, and Smythson.
La Salle restaurant and bar combines classic French cooking with cosmopolitan influences, including a wide range of beer, wine, and cocktails served at the restaurant's circular bar. 
An art installation in the shape of a London taxi, fashioned out of bright orange metal wire and located in the middle of the ground level of Terminal 2.
YO! Sushi is a colourful restaurant featuring a conveyor belt from which diners select colour-coded plates of food as they cycle through the restaurant.
London's Pride Pub & Kitchen serves classic British pub fare, including a special Terminal 2 lager, named Wingman, brewed at the Griffin Brewery in nearby Chiswick.
Leon restaurant, which bills itself as 'Naturally Fast Food', features fresh food options.
A departures screen in Terminal 2 shows the great variety of flights to a range of international destinations.
A travelator in the B Gates section of Heathrow Terminal 2.
Seating area at Gate B48.
Aer Lingus A320-200 (EI-DVE) preparing for departure to Dublin, Ireland.
A TAP Air Portugal Airbus A319 (CS-TTV), named after Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Portugal's consul in Bordeaux, France during the Second World War, who issued visas to thousands of refugees, including Jews fleeing the Nazi invasion.
A Brussels Airlines Airbus A319 (OO-SSD) taxis away from Terminal 2, whilst a Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300 (TC-JJF) sits at a gate in the background. 
A Boeing 747-400 (G-BYGC) delivered to British Airways on 19 January 1999.  This aircraft makes regular flights between London Heathrow and King Khalid Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
A United Airlines Boeing 777-200 (N778UA) at the gate, preparing for a flight to Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.
Air Canada flight AC889 to Ottawa, Ontario.  The Boeing 767-300 seats 191 and departs on the London-Ottawa flight daily at 11:35am, complementing flight AC888 from Ottawa, which arrives at 10:20am daily. This aircraft first flew on 9 January 1992 and was delivered to Asiana Airlines before being sold to Canadian Airlines in September 1998 and then being integrated into the Air Canada fleet in March 2001 following Canadian Airlines' purchase by Air Canada.   
Boarding pass for Air Canada flight AC888 from Ottawa to London on Sunday, 13 September, boarding at 22:00 for a departure at 22:40.

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to have seen more of that Nando's napkin.

    ReplyDelete