Cheryl’s great-great-grandmother Mary Anne Gordon was born in November 1837.

This summer we’re sharing “wow” moments so imagine Portsmouth woman Cheryl Jewitt’s surprise when she made the intriguing discovery that her great-great-grandmother Mary Anne Gordon was the first recorded live birth on HMS Victory!


A cutlass drill performed by our Dockyard Alive team wowed the crowds

Supporters and visitors gathered on the deck of HMS Warrior at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard this morning to celebrate the culmination of a multi-million pound conservation project.

Say hello to 'Tattoo Jack at the National Museum

In what is believed to be a first for the museum sector, local community groups in Portsmouth are set to benefit from a stunning, colourful legacy to a highly successful tattoo exhibition held last year.

A full-sized handcrafted, painted tattooed torso nicknamed “Tattoo Jack” and featuring up to 35 designs has been created by artist Gary Coole and is now being toured around Portsmouth and beyond as part of an outreach programme including sessions with Alzheimer’s and Dementia Veterans group.

Some of the tattoos featured on the 95cm-high torso were submitted by the public, some by serving or veteran personnel following a public appeal by the museum to learn more about the tradition of tattoos. Others were based on research collected during the run, last year, of Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed. The exhibition, curated by The National Maritime Museum, Cornwall, is currently touring the UK.

Jo Valentine, Community Producer for The National Museum of the Royal Navy explains:

“Gary Coole is a local mixed media artist and barber who specialises in the tattoo style of painting.

“From early childhood he watched and assisted his father, Brian Coole, working in tattoo studios. Brian designed tattoo flash for well-known artists Bill and Les Skuse, and worked with Portsmouth-based tattooist Ron Ackers at the Arches tattoo studio during the 1970s and 80s. He also painted interiors and exteriors of tattoo studios.

“When Brian retired, Gary followed in his father’s footsteps designing flash and sign work for tattoo artists. Some of his work was displayed as part of the tattoo exhibition held at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard last year.

“We wanted something as a legacy that embodied the results of our tattoo research with the navy and public that could still inspire a reaction when we are working with community groups. Tattoos are an excellent prompt for conversations started with military and non-military audiences.

“We wanted something striking, that was personal to us and would stop you in your tracks. We had the idea of a painted torso which could come on tour around the area.

“Every tattoo has a tale to tell on the torso so we gave Gary examples of the tattoos the public had submitted and also ones that reflected our Royal Navy tattoo research. This includes the submariners’ badges, the remembrance tattoos, the blood groups and Royal Marines Globe and Laurels tattoos.

“Also included on the torso are two very special tattoos from our own collection – a George Burchett flash and a rare Tom Riley flash. We have also commissioned two tattooed feet featuring a pig and a rooster.”

To find out more, or to book a session please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Step back in time to the Age of Steam onboard HMS Warrior

You might have heard about the exciting changes we’ve made to Warrior. If not, we’re now ready to lift the lid on what you can expect when you visit Queen Victoria’s favourite ship.