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.
|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 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.|
|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.|
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
|A stern view of HMS Iron Duke, showing the Westland Lynx helicopter parked on the flight deck.|
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.|
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.
|The main entrance to Firepower: The Royal Artillery Museum in Woolwich.|
|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.|
|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 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 25 pounder gun (centre), with a smaller 6 pounder gun in the background on the right.|
|The interior of the FV610A Saracen, showing the various equipment used to command Royal Artillery batteries.|
|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.|
A field artillery piece from the Napoleonic Wars.
|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.|
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.
|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.|
|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 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 officers' head (toilet), located just off the wardroom.|
|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.|
|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 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.|
|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.|
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 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.|
|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 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.|
|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 pair of Imperial German Navy binoculars, circa 1914. Germany was a world leader in high-quality optical instruments.|
|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 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.|
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.
|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.
|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.|
|A close-up view of the entrance to the Admiral's Offices.|
|HMS Ocelot's six forward torpedo tubes. Britain's Oberon-class subs carried Mark 24 homing torpedoes.|
|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 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 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.|
|One of the four Nordenfelt multiple barrel organ gun mountings on HMS Gannet.|
|The steering position aboard HMS Gannet.|
|One of the giant shipyard cranes in the Chatham Historic Dockyard.|
|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.|
|Looking forward on the port side.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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 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.|
|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 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.|
|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 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.|
|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 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 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 view of the Bf110, Ju88, Bf109E, and He111 from the mezzanine viewing gallery in the Battle of Britain Hall.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
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.
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.|
|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.|
|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 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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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 large central wheel on the engine's crankshaft transmitted power to a smaller wheel on the propeller shaft via a set of chains.|
|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.|
|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 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.|
|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 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.|
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 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.|
|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:
|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.|
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.
|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.|
|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 gallery devoted to Athenian pottery between 1050 and 520 BC.|
|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 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 Roman bronze helmet of Montefortino type, dating from the 3rd century BC and discovered in Apulia in southern Italy.
|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 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.|
|A view of the 300-foot long Enlightenment Gallery.|
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 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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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 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.|
|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.|