Greenwich - hub of maritime history

Pool of London to London Bridge circa 1710

Pool of London at the Tower circa 1710 - 1/1200 scale model

I love Greenwich. Not only is it a really interesting area with fantastic restaurants, bars and quaint shops, it is a hugely important centre of maritime history. On my second visit I manage to do lots of things I missed on the first like finding the most best galleries in the National Maritime Museum (free admission incidentally) and take the tour around Cutty Sark - Queen of the tea clippers.

Now - That's rigging! Designed and built in Dumbarton, Scotland - Cutty Sark

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich 

The museum is a naval treasure trove and the dedicated galleries house some absolute gems from history.  I have included a very small selection of the dozens of photographs I took and cannot recommend this museum highly enough.

Greenwich and the Deptford yards 

The sheer volume of models, displays, artifacts and artwork is staggering. The scale of the exhibits is truly awe inspiring. 

A Royal Yacht circa 1685

The galleries which I found most interesting were those dedicated to Elizabethan and Jacobean navies, the Nelson era, World War 1 and Colonial trade. There is a particularly excellent ground floor gallery focusing on maritime London with some outstanding displays including a 1/1200 scale model of the pool of London circa 1710. Although the ship models are not hugely detailed the overall perspective is enormously informative.

Mary Rose - Henry VIII's great ship

Seeing exhibits such as original Navy Board ships models from the 17th century, Nelson's coat in which he was shot aboard Victory and some of the stunning models from the World War 1 collection made the trip worthwhile on their own.

Naseby 88 guns built by Cromwell - Renamed Royal Charles - captured in the Medway 1667

Bearing in mind the museum has an enormous archive of artwork, documents, artifacts and ship models which is not on display cements my strongly held view that Britain should always primarily be seen as a naval power and not a military one.

19th century ship built designed and built in India

Most achievements at sea were performed without external assistance whilst the greatest land battles from Marlborough, through the Napoleonic Wars to D-Day and beyond have usually been as a partner member in a coalition. 

Figurehead from 1670s Royal Navy 50 gun ship

The narrative of the exhibits is not too jingoistic and offers a fair representation of history. Cutty Sark is on permanent exhibit in a facility beside the river and from its deck it is possible to view the section of the south bank which was the site of the famous Deptford navy yard in which many of the 17th century's famous vessels were built and launched.

Nelson's coat in which he was shot - bullet hole on left shoulder

With the Royal Observatory and the hospital/institutional buildings now part of the university which date back to Williamite times, the entire area is massive buzz of history.

HMS Victory

The actual stern of the French Napoleonic ship Implacable

Mid 18th century long boat containing marines

HMS Queen Mary - 1916 part of a Jutland exhibit.