We spent a very long day at the Docks in Portsmouth this week. The area calls itself the Historic Dockyard and it is indeed steeped in history. We started the day on the HMS Victory the naval vessel that Nelson took into the battle of Trafalgar, the battle which took his life. The ship is the original not a copy and is a wonderful insight into the world of the Georgian Navy it was in service for over thirty years. It is hard to imagine the huge numbers of crew in such a small space, over 800. The noise of the 100 guns would have been deafening no ear defenders in those days. The crew had to be highly organised and there were the most ingenious ways of storing and organising all the kit necessary to function on such a ship.
After a picnic sheltering from the rain we headed in for our timed slot to the newly opened Mary Rose Museum. This amazing museum contains the remains of the flagship of Henry VIII's fleet which was sunk by the French in Portsmouth Harbour in 1545. It lay in the harbour for over 300 hundred years before being raised in 1982 since then it has undergone a thirty year of work to preserve the fragile remains. Whilst this was being dug from the mud and silt in the harbour the archaeologist and divers found hundreds of artefacts including, personal chests, musical instruments, clothing, shoes, cutlery, food preparation items, bows, arrows and many many more. All these items have been wonderfully displayed in a really interesting way in this museum. We spent two hours walking round before the children declared they were wanting to leave.
The last ship we visited was the HMS Warrior, an ironclad armoured warship built in 1860 and powered by steam and sail. She had a crew of around 300 who mostly ate, slept and worked on the one deck around a mess table and a cannon. Amazingly this ship had early washing machines, mangles and baths to make sure the crew and their uniform, which had just been introduced by the navy, were always clean. It is the only surviving example of an iron clad warship and spent seven years in Hartlepool being extensively restored. It was a wonderful end to a busy day.
We only visited a fraction of the museums in the dockyard, you could spend days there and you can take a boat around the harbour. It is really expensive for a family ticket (Mum paid for ours!) but it was worth it especially as it is valid for a year, we will be visiting again soon for sure!
There are no photos with this post as the ones we took were awful, it was a grey overcast day which made taking pictures outside hard and in the ships and the museums it was too dark to get a good picture as flash photography is not allowed.