March 06, 2017

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Last fall I did a post about our visit to Greenwich but I didn’t tell you much about the exhibits at the National Maritime Museum, the largest of its kind in the world. Like many of London’s best museums, admission here is free. And the star of the collection is Admiral Horatio Nelson, the man who defeated the French and Spanish fleets in the Battle of Trafalgar and put an end to Napoleon’s plans to invade England.


National Maritime Museum, Greenwich


The museum’s collection includes the uniform Nelson was wearing when he was fatally wounded in the battle, and a cannonball lodged in a piece of timber from the bow of his ship, the HMS Victory. Nelson’s Trafalgar Coat (with a bullet hole in the left shoulder) is currently part of a new exhibition, Emma Hamilton: Seduction and Celebrity (on until April 17).



Nelson's Trafalgar Coat

Cannonball from the Battle of Trafalgar


A replica of the HMS Victory in a bottle was unveiled in Trafalgar Square in 2010 and is now displayed outside the National Maritime Museum.



Nelson's Ship in a Bottle, by Yinka Shonibare MBE



The model of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square that was used in the equestrian show jumping course at the London 2012 Olympics has also found a home at the museum.



Model of Nelson's Column, London 2012

Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square


The National Maritime Museum has many more exhibits unrelated to Admiral Nelson, like a colourful collection of ship figureheads and the gilded Royal Barge built for Frederick, Prince of Wales. The barge was last used to transport Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, to the opening of London’s new Coal Exchange.



Prince Frederick's Barge (1732)





Ship Figureheads

Figureheads from the HMS Ajax and HMS Bulldog

For more information, visit the National Maritime Museum web site.

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