Article by Brian Thomas
The rain and cold of a wintry Tuesday afternoon was soon forgotten by my buddy and me as we misplaced ourselves in the sheer magnificence of one particular of Britain’s proudest maritime heritage – the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. (Tuesday afternoon since we had tickets to the Portsmouth/Chelsea soccer game in the night).
Getting into the dockyard at Queens Road gate soon after parking in the nicely-marked car park situated beneath the new and gorgeous apartment block 200 yards to the correct just before the gate, we entered the ticket workplace. At £16.50 (seniors) and £18.fifty I thought the price tag pricey but the 7 significant exhibits and the enormous work and investment that has clearly been lavished on them tends to make the price very good value.
We booked our tour of Nelson’s Victory and hurried to join the queue. An extraordinarily properly-versed guidebook (missing a tiny in humour but you can’t have anything) led our group via the thoughts-numbing relic of The 1805 Battle of Trafalgar. The tour lasted 50 minutes but for me it could have gone on for hours – these kinds of is the good quality and focus to detail given to each portion of the ship. I discovered the decrease decks specially interesting with sights of the powder managing and storage regions, ballast arrangements and mast measures plus significantly a lot more. It crossed my brain that not by accident wasthe enormous cache of explosives, missiles and their planning amenities situated as far for’ard and therefore as far away from the Captain’s and his officer’s quarters as achievable.I left with my brain total of wonder at the expertise of our historic ship builders, admiration for the officers and guys who lived and fought in such cramped and awful problems and appreciation for the effort and common our modern day craftsmen have attained in preserving the Worlds Greatest Warship.
Next we entered the Mary Rose Ship Hall and collected a small Ipod machine that played a pre-recorded tour. A balcony opposite the salvaged remains of the ship permitted a see of the inside of of the starboard hull. The timbers are continuously sprayed with a mixture of wax and h2o to protect the 500 year aged framework. The treatment will complete in 2009 when the wax will have permeated the cells of the wood to stabilise the structure for posterity. By 2011 the exhibit will be dry and viewers will be in a position to see considerably of Henry the V111’s 1511 Flagship shut to.
With the superb and insightful narration of the Mary Rose undertaking nevertheless ringing in my ear we moved to the Mary Rose museum to see an massive array of artefacts recovered with the wreck, from the ship’s hefty guns and ammunition to clothing, footwear, bows and arrows (all meticulously laid out and marked) and personal products Tudor sailors carried with them at the time.
The Royal Naval Museum is split into a quantity of buildings, each and every one particular bulging with attractive exhibits, but culture overload began to set in. Fortunately my ticket covers limitless visits to the museums for a year. I have the Dockyard Apprentice, Harbour Tour, Action Stations and the 1860 Steam/Sailing warship HMS Warrior but to do. I will surely re-check out to cover these products. I am sorry we ran out of time to check out the Warrior. She is afloat, but tied up to a quay, and from the manual description, ‘HMS Warrior was the World’s largest, fastest, most heavily armed, most seriously armoured warship of the time.No opponent dared challenge her,’ I am intrigued and can’t wait.
When in contrast to the charge of a seat at a Premiership football game, £16.fifty towards the upkeep of this nationwide jewel looks not so negative soon after all.
This article initial appeared in the Royal Navy Electrical Branch Association newsletter. Written by Brian Thomas, newsletter editor and writer of Royal Navy fiction.
About the Writer
Brian is an writer, painter and travel webmaster. He edits the RNEBA Newsletter and has published his novel, Carlotta’s Daughter, a historical romance set in the Royal Navy.