08 November 2019
The melodic sound of steel pan music played alongside the historic ships and museums of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard recently as visitors were welcomed to a special family fun day event to mark Black History Month.
23 October 2019
On 15 October 2019, we welcomed HRH The Princess Royal, Patron of The National Museum of the Royal Navy to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to inspect some of the latest developments on the site and to learn more about future projects including the planned Royal Marines Museum.
21 October 2019
Just in time for the 214th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar on Monday, The National Museum of the Royal Navy has unveiled its latest exhibit - a plan of the battle, hand-drawn by Admiral Lord Nelson himself, that has been tucked inside the pages of a scrapbook for the last 200 years.
Thirty million people have visited HMS Victory at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard but not even Nelson himself would have seen the remarkable views that are set to welcome visitors next year.
22 July 2019
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!
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.
07 June 2019
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.”
There’s a new face in town as a 2.5metre figurehead from 19th century 3rd Rate ship HMS Centurion has been craned into place at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard after a day-long operation. It joins over 20 other figureheads in the Victory Gallery.
As one of the National Museum's historic fleet, HMS Caroline, the World War One light cruiser docked in Belfast since 1924 and which reopened as a museum following an £18m restoration has been selected as one of five finalists for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2019, regarded as the most prestigious museum prize in the world.
14 March 2019
A new exhibition that sheds light on the little-known cultural history of the Jolly Roger flag will open at The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on 6 April 2019.
27 February 2019
Be the envy of friends and colleagues (or bring them along too) as we invite you to exclusive dinners, one-off experiences and returning favourites you'll just love. The events team have been busy preparing Royal Navy inspired events onboard historic ships and inside museum galleries.
01 February 2019
Get ready for swashes to be buckled and timbers shivered as Portsmouth Historic Dockyard prepares for a pirate takeover, unveiling a new UK-first blockbuster family exhibition in time for the Easter holidays.
24 January 2019
If you arrived to see our big guns like HMS Victory and Action Stations you might have missed things which are equally as historical and epic. Our ‘8 things you might have missed’ guide gives you some great hints on what you could see next time you visit. From spectacular statues with stories to tell to must-see museums packed full of heritage - you’ll be surprised with what there is to discover.
21 December 2018
In the final weeks of an exhibition exploring the long history of tattoos, curators at The National Museum of the Royal Navy have uncovered their own incredibly rare piece of tattoo history within its collection and put it on display.
18 December 2018
In 1843, public spirit for the Christmas holiday was dwindling. Viewed by many still as a lively pagan festival, the rise of the puritans had a lasting effect on the now sombre celebration which was often seen below Easter and even Boxing Day.
29 November 2018
Shipwrights from The National Museum of the Royal Navy have been assessing wood from trees on an Aberdeenshire estate for use in HMS Victory’s ongoing restoration.
28 November 2018
As the festive season dawns, we often forget the simpler joys of life when visiting. From a gorgeous meal inside Boathouse 4 to experiencing the dockyard at dusk – there’s plenty of things to do to warm the soul this winter. Take time to read our ‘top 10 winter wonders’ guide and be inspired to explore this season.
16 November 2018
We’re pleased to announce the return of the HMS Warrior camera after a short sabbatical, the camera has now been installed up the Mizzen Mast. The new camera now streams in full HD – so sunsets over the camber have never looked so good.
19 October 2018
This Sunday (21st October) will mark the 213th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, one of the most significant dates in British Naval history and an occasion which will be marked with ceremony and opportunities to step back in history at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
17 September 2018
The Panorama of the Battle of Trafalgar was opened in Portsmouth Dockyard, close to HMS Victory, on 29th July 1930 by King George V. At 42 feet by 12 feet (13 metres x 4 metres), perhaps the largest representation of the battle in existence, it can still be seen today, in its original position, but now as part of the displays in our museum.
Since her discovery ten years ago, the wreck of HMS Victory 1744, the predecessor to Nelson’s famous flagship, has captured the imagination of naval enthusiasts and maritime archaeologists.
A summer of must-sees and unforgettable moments at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard continue with a special visit of the Italian tall ship, Amerigo Vespucci.
On August 5 1914 the first shot at sea of the First World War was fired and exactly 104 years later a Lamplight of Peace commemorating the work of the Great War tunnellers and the millions of soldiers, sailors and merchant seamen that lost their lives will embark on its own 100-day journey ending on Remembrance Sunday on 11 November. Its first call is at The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
19 July 2018
All hands on deck! Portsmouth is home to the Royal Navy and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is the world’s leading destination for naval history, so from today, we’ve changed the name of our 11 attraction ticket to Full Navy Ticket. We want to keep it simple and make the most of what makes us special – and that is the Royal Navy. Our historic ships, museums, artefacts, exhibitions – they all have one thing in common – and that’s the Royal Navy.
It has lain unseen for the last six years but now HMS Victory’s Trafalgar Sail, the only surviving foretopsail from the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, is set to be on public display until 31 December 2018.
National Museum of the Royal Navy launches an appeal to serving personnel and veterans for stories behind their tattoos
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will be hosting a free Armed Forces Day event on 30 June 2018, and there will be a special appearance from a full-size replica Spitfire MK26 from Ace Squadron as a special tribute to the past.
A brand new permanant exhibition will open at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport on 15 June to mark the anniversary of the first operational patrol of HMS Resolution.
09 May 2018
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard provides the best activities this half term for big and little adventurers. From stepping onboard historic warships to taking part in our Fighting Fit Royal Navy challenges – there’s plenty to see and do. What’s more, kids go free this half term and all activities are included as part of their ticket.
Details of how The National Museum of the Royal Navy is to invest almost £33million in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the wider city over the next two years were unveiled today.
14 February 2018
Seven years of chronicling the construction of the Royal Navy’s newest destroyers and monolithic aircraft carriers are the inspiration for Shipyard, a remarkable exhibition by renowned Scottish artist Lachlan Goudie which opens at The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on 17 March.
Theirs was a love affair that scandalised society and continues to grip the imagination and this Valentine’s Day, 14 February, visitors to The National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard have a rare chance to get up close and personal to the betrothal ring Vice Admiral Lord Nelson gave to his mistress Emma Hamilton on the eve of his final departure from British soil.
29 January 2018
February half term is about adventuring together and loving the great outdoors and the good indoors. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard provides the best activities this half term for big and little adventurers. From building Lego ships to meeting historic characters – there’s plenty to see and do this half term.
11 January 2018
Best-ever visitor numbers for Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
The National Museum of the Royal Navy is celebrating its best-ever performance across the country and at its managed destination brand, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
04 January 2018
Join astrophysicists and cosmologists from the University of Portsmouth's Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, navigation experts from Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, amateur astronomers from Hampshire Astronomical Group, and more at this free event, exploring navigation through space and time.
The best vantage point of the newly-commissioned aircraft carrier
Best views of Britain’s largest aircraft carrier ever built from Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
Relive the excitement of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth visiting Portsmouth on Thursday 7 December, when she officially commissioned the HMS Queen Elizabeth. Visitors to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard can take advantage of the very best views of Britain’s largest aircraft carrier ever built.
20 October 2017
- Trademark diamond ornament rediscovered and remade for the first time –
To celebrate Trafalgar Day on 21 October 2017, The National Museum of the Royal Navy has revealed the first authentically recreated replica in diamonds of Vice Admiral Lord Nelson’s fabled lost jewelled chelengk.
An 18-month programme to re-support the world’s most famous warship HMS Victory sagging under her own weight is now underway.
23 June 2017
Cold War submarine HMS Alliance got a dusting of Hollywood magic when it was used as a location for Paramount Picture's Transformers V: The Last Knight. The film is on general release from Friday 23rd June and eagle-eyed fans will see HMS Alliance making an appearance.
22 June 2017
A question we are often asked at the museum is how many men were on board, and who were they? The muster roll for HMS Victory is held in the archives at the library here at the National Museum of the Royal Navy. It names all the crew of the ship at the Battle of Trafalgar, each man on the list being awarded prize money for the enemy ships destroyed or captured during the battle. Besides Lord Nelson and Captain Hardy, there are 820 crew on this list.
21 June 2017
“Reservists give up their spare time to serve in the Reserve Forces, balancing their civilian life with a military career to ensure that should their country require them, they would be ready to serve as part of the military.
The Reserve Forces make up approximately one sixth of our Armed Forces personnel and as such are integral to protecting the nation’s security at home and overseas, particularly providing capability in specialist areas such as medical and cyber.
However, the contribution they make to our Armed Forces often goes unrecognised. As such an annual Reserves Day was created to highlight and recognise the valuable contribution Reservists make to our Armed Forces.
In 2017, Reserves Day is being celebrated on Wednesday 21 June.”
12 June 2017
There will be plenty of flash, bang and wallop at Gosport’s Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower’s Bright Sparks Science Weekend on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th August. The event runs from 10.00am to 5.00pm on both days.
‘We are remarkably fortunate in having such generous and constant support in our task of ensuring the survival of this famous ship.” These are the words of our Director General Professor Dominic Tweddle as he witnessed the handover of a cheque for £100,000 from the Society of Nautical Research this week towards the ongoing restoration of HMS Victory.
The National Museum of the Royal Navy’s first-ever three day conference got underway on the 101st anniversary of the Battle of Jutland, Wednesday 31st May and runs until Friday 2nd June.
Over 150 people have supported a crowdfunding campaign to save a sole surviving coastal motor boat from the Second World War.
Over 100 staff and volunteers from Portsmouth Historic Dockyard took part in a Dementia Friends training session run by The National Museum of the Royal Navy’s Rachel Goodall this week to mark national Dementia Awareness Week. Dementia Friends is an Alzheimer's Society initiative.
This May half term, families need look no further than Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for an amazing day out. With 11 attractions waiting to be explored, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard promises all ages a day of heroic encounters, experiencing the ins and outs of Britain’s 800 years of ground-breaking naval heritage. It’s the place #WhereAdventuresBegin.
16 May 2017
For the first time in 500 years, scientists are using microbiology to examine some of the human remains from Henry VIII’s flagship Mary Rose to determine if any come from the same person.
Research by Dr Garry Scarlett, a DNA expert at the University of Portsmouth, should enable museum staff to recreate the skeletons of some of the crew.
Thirty years after HMS Warrior 1860 returned to Portsmouth, it has been announced that her owners, the Warrior Preservation Trust, merged with The National Museum of the Royal Navy as of 1st April 2017.
As Britain’s first iron-clad battleship, Warrior is one of the most influential warships ever built and a key attraction at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, welcoming 330,000 visitors a year. She was built as Queen Victoria’s deterrent against rumoured French invasion, and was so advanced and powerfully armed that she completed her job without ever firing a shot in anger during ten years of front line service.
The esteemed and visionary philanthropist, the late Sir John Smith, funded her restoration in Hartlepool, which at the time was the world’s most ambitious heritage ship repair ever. The community of Portsmouth generously funded and built the jetty on which the ship is berthed, and continues to provide extraordinary support to the Trust’s work in recognition of her gateway position in the harbour.
The Warrior Preservation Trust is an independent charity with the purpose of preserving the ship and maintaining her on display for the benefit and education of the public. It employs 40 staff and is supported by 70 volunteers. There will be no immediate change for staff and volunteers and the Chief Executive of the Warrior Preservation Trust and Captain of the ship, Commander Tim Ash will remain in post.
All hospitality bookings and other committed work will be honoured, and the ship’s business will continue as usual. Her £4.2m upper deck conservation work – made possible thanks to National Lottery players - is unaffected with completion due at Easter 2018.
Established in 2009, the National Museum of the Royal Navy already owns a number of key historic ships and collections in Portsmouth, Gosport and nationally. These include HMS Victory, First World War monitor HMS M.33, the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower. It will open the new Royal Marines Museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in 2020 alongside an innovative Centre for Discovery which will transform naval heritage at its headquarters at The National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth.
The National Museum has raised over £100 million for major capital and conservation projects and its visitor numbers have grown from 325,000 each year to over one million nationally. It is now the third most visited attraction in the UK outside of London and manages the destination brand Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on behalf of partners the Mary Rose Trust and the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust which owns Action Stations and Boathouse 4.
Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of the National Museum said: “Warrior is a fantastic ship which tells an incredibly important part of our naval story and we are very excited to welcome her into our fleet.
“We congratulate the Warrior Preservation Trust for the brilliant job it has done in saving her and in caring for her thus far, but both our Boards of Trustees now feel that being part of a National Museum which cares for the national collection of historic naval vessels is the right way to go in view of Warrior’s national significance.
“We will now work with the Warrior’s ship’s company to ensure a smooth transition and ensure that the ship remains afloat and dominating the city’s seascape for a further 30 years at least.”
Chief Executive of the Warrior Preservation Trust, and Captain of the Ship, Commander Tim Ash said: “We have worked closely with the National Museum as partners for many years, and feel that the time is right for us to align our shared expertise more closely. Our new relationship will allow us to tell Warrior’s story more effectively, and merge our efforts in meeting better the needs of our great historic fleet of ships”.
• Commemorative visit by HRH The Princess Royal comes nearly a year after successful opening of Boathouse 4.
• The team has reintroduced traditional wooden boatbuilding and training, restoring, repairing and maintaining a fleet of historic small boats and telling the story of these “Forgotten Craft”.
HRH The Princess Royal will make a commemorative visit to Boathouse 4 in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on the afternoon of Monday 20th March.
The original Second World War boathouse, which dominates the entrance to the Historic Dockyard, has been transformed by Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust (PNBPT). The Trust has funded the £5.7M project with the help of grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund (£3.75M), the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (£479K) and several charitable foundations.
Opened last year, the Boathouse has a rich heritage based around small craft in the Royal Navy. It was the workshop for building and repairing a large fleet of small boats including many landing craft which took part in D-Day. Small craft were vital for the effective operations of the Royal Navy, which needed thousands of small boats in all manner of deployments, both in war and peace time.
Peter Goodship, Consultant Chief Executive of Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust said: “Visitors are fascinated by the history of the small boats and how we are revitalising much-needed traditional skills. We are delighted to welcome HRH The Princess Royal to Boathouse 4 and for her to meet the team who have worked so hard to transform this very important building.”
The Princess Royal will view “The Forgotten Craft” exhibition which tells the story of these key vessels and then meet descendants from Coastal Forces, a branch of the Royal Navy, commonly known as “The Spitfires of the Sea” which celebrated its centenary last year.
Boathouse 4 is now home to the International Boatbuilding Training College and Highbury College’s Solent Marine Academy and The Princess Royal will see students restoring, repairing and maintaining a number of historic boats. These include the F8 landing craft from the Falklands War and Lively Lady, the yacht sailed by Sir Alec Rose around the world in 1968.
The visit will conclude with The Princess Royal unveiling a plaque in Midships, the newest restaurant to be opened on the site. Weather permitting HRH will finish the visit with a round trip of the harbour on the Second World War HSL 102, the only surviving example of the 100 class high speed launch stationed at RAF Calshot during the Battle of Britain which retrieved shot down airmen from the sea.
07 February 2017
The National Museum of the Royal Navy has announced that the closure of the main galleries of the Royal Marines Museum will take place on April 1st.
As a result, the public galleries of the museum at Eastney will close. The museum will remain open for its corporate (conferences and weddings) and curatorial functions and its associated organisations * will continue to operate from the museum. The sea front car park and the Royal Marines Memorial Gardens will remain open to the public. A consultation about the Yomper statue on the seafront closes at the end of February. All existing bookings for corporate events and weddings will be fulfilled up to and including November 2018.
The decision to close is part of the development plan following the awarding, in 2016, of £13.85m from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards the SeaMore project which will allow for the much-needed move of the Royal Marines Museum to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. This has the potential of increasing visitor numbers to the museum twenty-fold.
Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of The National Museum of the Royal Navy said: “Of course, change is always challenging, but by 2020 we are committed to delivering a world class Royal Marines Museum which appropriately recognises the heroism and sacrifice of this elite service. The closure of the Eastney galleries is one of the necessary steps to achieve that goal.”
The new Royal Marines Museum will open in 2020 and be a state of the art museum containing the very latest in technology and hands-on activity. It will occupy the present Action Stations building, one of the original Victorian Boathouses, close to the Victory Gate visitor entrance. The main part of the building, including the historic Mast Pond in front, will be completely refurbished to provide a new museum.
The SeaMore project is now starting development work on the new galleries which will show the Royal Marines story in a new and different way, displaying around 30% more than the present museum. Current exhibits need to be dismantled, key artefacts need to be conserved and refurbished and new displays need to be worked out and planned.
The funding will also create the country’s newest national museum collection in an innovative Centre for Discovery at the National Museum’s base in Portsmouth. The project was boosted by a very welcome £2million contribution from the LIBOR fund for military-related charities.
As part of the Centre for Discovery, over two million artefacts, currently kept in 30 separate stores within 14 buildings across nine sites, will be relocated and made accessible to visitors in a bold move to revolutionise the way the epic story of the Royal Navy is told.
*Note: Associated organisations based at the Eastney Museum are the Friends of the RM Museum, the RM Historical Society, The RM Association Concert Band, and the Fort Cumberland Guard.
04 January 2017
• New date released for panel discussion
• “Question Time” panel debate on Battle of Jutland chaired by popular TV historian and broadcaster Dan Snow
• International panel confirmed
Following the centenary year commemorations for the Battle of Jutland last year, a clash considered the defining naval battle of the First World War, a “Question Time” debate chaired by popular TV historian and broadcaster Dan Snow has been rescheduled and will now take place on Thursday 2nd February.
The big debate, run by The National Museum of the Royal Navy, promises to get to the heart of a battle that has divided opinion for 100 years and takes place on Thursday 2nd February at 7pm in Action Stations, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
The battle was often considered a German victory due to the number of British lives lost, 6,094 to the Germans 2,551 however the British maintained numerical supremacy on the day.
Although the battle had a huge human cost, most British losses were tactically insignificant, with the exception of HMS Queen Mary, and the Grand Fleet was ready for action again the next day. One month after the battle the Grand Fleet was stronger than it had been before sailing to Jutland. By contrast, so shaken were the Germans by the weight of the British response that they never again seriously challenged British control of the North Sea.
The international panel will be chaired by British historian and broadcaster Dan Snow. He said: “Jutland was the climax of centuries of naval warfare, the last time two fleets of big gunned battleships contested control of the seas.”
Joining the panel is Stephan Huck, the Director of the German Naval Museum where he has curated several exhibitions including „Skagerrak. Seeschlacht ohne Sieger – Jutland. The unfinished Battle.“ Also on the panel is Naval historian Dr Andrew Gordon, author of The Rules of the Game, for many, the definitive book on the battle and Dr Laura Rowe, lecturer at the University of Exeter whose primary research interest focuses on the social and cultural history of the First World War and on the Royal Navy in particular.
The final panel member is Nick Hewitt, author, broadcaster and naval historian and the National Museum’s project leader for the blockbuster exhibition that opened in May at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard 36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War.
Director of the German Naval Museum, Stephan Huck said: “In the aftermath of the Skagerrakschlacht (The Battle of Jutland) it occupied an important place of remembrance for German society and particularly the German Navy. However it became largely forgotten in the second half of the 20th century. The centenary of the First World War led to a national recovery of the First World War in Germany and offered the chance to bring the history of the Battle of Jutland back to light.
“It gave the opportunity to describe the battle as an important turning point in the history of the First World War: despite the declared victory it prompted the decision to restart unrestricted U-boat warfare with the fatal consequence of the entry of the United States into the war.
“Now with the distance of a hundred years it is possible to objectively compare the British and the German view on the battle and the circumstances that led to it. This illuminates unexpected similarities in the navies on both sides of the English Channel at the beginning of First World War. Both exhibitions and events like this debate enable us to present both perspectives and to pay tribute to those involved.”
Nick Hewitt, curator of the National Museum’s exhibition 36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War said: “The Battle of Jutland is the Royal Navy’s defining moment in The Great War, and perhaps the largest sea battle in history. It’s the only event in the national First World War centenary programme which is wholly naval in character. As a naval historian, it’s a great privilege to be involved in a debate like this and I’m absolutely sure our visitors will be as engaged by this epic, tragic story as we are.”
Ticket buyers are being urged to submit their questions online for consideration before January 27th. The type of questions that may be posed include did the battle win the war? What of the social impact on Britain and Germany? Are blockades ever morally justified and why does Jutland matter today?
Tickets cost £10 (no concessions) are available online at www.historicdockyard.co.uk/jutland-debate or at the Visitor Centre at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard between 10am – 4pm daily.
06 December 2016
The story of a Royal Marine bandsman who fought at the Battle of Jutland a century ago is to be told at a blockbuster exhibition from The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN).
The fragment of a trombone played by Bandsman Frederick Charles Palfreman, his medals, a photograph and newspaper clipping are now on display at 36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War, the immersive new exhibition at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
Bandsman Palfreman, born on April 1 1899 in Pimlico, London, fought on HMS Warspite at Jutland, the greatest naval battle ever fought which claimed the lives of nearly 9,000 sailors from Britain and Germany.
He played trombone in the Royal Marines Band having studied, it is believed, at the RM School of Music at Eastney, Portsmouth.
Bandsman Palfreman, second from left, back row
His son David Palfreman sent in the artefacts. He said: “My father never spoke in any detail about his experience at Jutland except to say the noise and fires were indescribable, although the ‘going round in circles’ episode with all guns blazing and the Warspite rolling alarmingly as a result had clearly been, subsequently, a source of wry amusement.
“He died in 1987, aged 88, and since then, as I’ve got older, I have so regretted not talking to him about his experience in the Royal Marines - he was so young. I remember him marching rather than walking, in the way marine bandsmen do, and beating in time to any music that might be playing. He rarely became excited but the Royal Navy Field Gun competition was an annual exception.
“I’ve had the artefacts for many years but the 100th anniversary of Jutland made we wonder if they would be of interest to an audience outside the family. I’m surprised and very pleased by the interest but my overwhelming feeling is one of pride in my dad with thoughts of how I would have behaved aged 17 in the battle - I had just started my A Levels!”
Head of Heritage and Development at The NMRN, Nick Hewitt, said: “We were delighted and very grateful to be able to borrow this extraordinary set of objects, which together make up a very unusual Jutland tale.
“I think they really make two important points so well; that everyone on a warship was exposed to the same risk, even the band, and also that there were many participants on both sides who would today be considered children.”
Visitors wishing to visit 36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War can purchase a Jutland All Attraction Package. This allows the recipient to access the exhibition and ten other attractions at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, including The Mary Rose, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior 1860, and also the Harbour Tours, HMS Alliance at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower, both in Gosport. It also gets the ticket holder entry to the Royal Marines Museum in Eastney, Portsmouth.
28 November 2016
18th February 2017, The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
‘Pioneers to Professionals: Women and the Royal Navy’ will open to the public 18th February 2017 and focus on the history of women working in the Naval Service. The exhibition will reveal some of the lesser-known stories of women dating right back to the Age of Sail more than 250 years ago when women’s contribution was disguised or unofficial.
The exhibition will open in the centenary year of the Woman’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) formation. Furthermore, the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will host an official launch of the exhibition on International Women’s Day 8 March 2017, a day which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
Women working in an official capacity for the Royal Navy were disguised prior to the establishment of the first female uniformed service the Naval Nursing Service in 1884, later renamed the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service in 1903. The WRNS formed in 1917. A uniformed women’s involvement in the Royal Navy directly confronted gender equality issues that still profoundly affect us today. As such, this exhibition aims to highlight women’s involvement and impact in both world wars, the Cold War, integration of the WRNS with the Royal Navy and the continued efforts of female personnel today.
The objects in the exhibition will illustrate the role of women in the navy in the widest spectrum, ranging from a rare First World War Ratings uniform (only 5,500 women served during the 20 months the service operated in the First World War) to an oboe owned by a member of the Royal Marine Band Service. Key issues for women in the Navy are also addressed, objects such as a Naval Officer’s maternity dress indicate the key differences and concerns that women face whilst in service.
Earlier this year a time capsule was discovered, buried at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in 1974 by the then head of the WRNS, Commandant Mary Talbot. It contained everyday items that defined the life of a WRN including badges, descriptions of their trades, clothing and official documents. This discovery prompted a call for artefacts for the exhibition.
Curator Victoria Ingles said “Historically the work of naval women was rarely recorded and often overlooked, yet thousands have actively contributed to worldwide naval operations over centuries. During this time women have undertaken a huge range of jobs and have often confounded expectations about what they could do and this exhibition seeks to bring some of these inspirational stories to attention. We are also keen to highlight the everyday experience of naval women past and present and are encouraging visitors to contribute their own stories helping us to fully reflect the scale and significance of women’s work within the navy.”
25 November 2016
Statement from Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of The National Museum of the Royal Navy. November 25 2016
We are delighted to announce that The National Museum of the Royal Navy has been able to secure the medals and log books of Captain Eric “Winkle” Brown following the intervention of an incredibly generous donor. It is fair to say that Captain Brown was by many measures the Fleet Air Arm’s most significant pilot of the post-war period and we are thrilled and honoured to be able to class this collection as one of our own.
16 November 2016
Today’s evacuation of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard following the discovery of a 500lb Luftwaffe bomb is an inconvenience, but we should perhaps reflect on the extraordinary ferocity of the wartime attacks on Portsmouth whose lethal legacy initiated it.
28 October 2016
Wellbeing survey reveals that new experiences are the most important factor for Brits when choosing a Great British day out.
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has canvassed the opinions of nearly 2,000 people from the UK, revealing the ingredients for a “Great British Day Out” and how days out affect our overall wellbeing and work/life balance.
27 September 2016
• Nelson enthusiast Kate Jamieson taking modern HMS Victory flag to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro
• She is raising money for Guillain-Barré and Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies (GAIN), a charity which supports those affected by Guillain-Barré Syndrome and other associated inflammatory neuropathies
A self-confessed ‘Nelson Nut’ has been handed a modern HMS Victory flag by The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) to wave when she reaches the top of a Mount Kilimanjaro climb.
Kate Jamieson, 26, who appeared on Mastermind in 2013 on the subject of Lord Nelson, visited Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to be given the flag on board Victory.
“I was told to take something personal with me to the summit. A lot of people take football flags, shirts but I think given my background and love of naval history, and where Victory is where it all began, this is probably one of the few objects that would sum me up as a person!”
Kate visited Victory when she was a child, picking up a museum book on Nelson. She said she found him fascinating.
She added: “For one man, he managed to leave a huge mark in history and he led a very interesting life.”
The NMRN’s Head of Heritage Development, Nick Hewitt, said: “We love to inspire people, like Kate, and for them to take something special away from visiting any of the museum’s attractions.
“It’s fantastic she has chosen to take on this climb for charity and we wish her all the best. We look forward to seeing her with our Victory flag at the summit!”
Kate, who’s living in Eastleigh, will be climbing Mt Kilimanjaro’s summit on October 10. The climb is expected to last around six days from start to finish. She is doing it for charity, in memory of a relative who passed away recently.
She has been doing 10 mile walks and intensive gym sessions to get in shape for the big climb.
She returns in time for Trafalgar Day on October 21.
Kate wants to raise more than £500 for a charity called the Guillain-Barré & Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies (GAIN), which supports those affected by Guillain-Barré Syndrome and other associated inflammatory neuropathies.
14 September 2016
• Discovery of time capsule prompts nationwide appeal for artefacts
• Everyday items of Wren life sought
25 August 2016
• 73% of Brits value new experiences as the most important factor for a perfect day out
• 80% seek a mixture of outdoor and indoor attractions on a day out
• 24% of adults opt for cultural destinations
08 August 2016
The final group of MA students studying fine art are to put on an exciting exhibition at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard from August 19 to September 2.
This year marks the very last fine art exhibition at the University of Portsmouth. The last six MA students wanted to hold the Exodus MA Fine Art Exhibition at Action Stations as a celebration of fine art at the university and the city.
HMS Hood bell unveiled on 75th anniversary of sinking
HRH The Princess Royal strikes eight bells at midday
Official opening of Battle of Jutland exhibition gives first sight of conserved bell from “The Mighty Hood”
19 May 2016
• A Major Heritage Lottery Fund grant will create the country’s newest national collection at The National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
• Access to naval heritage will be transformed as key artefacts from five museums across the National Museum will be relocated to one Centre for Discovery
• The grant allows for the much-needed move of The Royal Marines Museum, broadening the massive appeal of the Royal Marines story to visitors at the heart of naval heritage
21 March 2016
• New Battle of Trafalgar colours and greatly improved visitor route around Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship are a revelation
• Visitors can now access never-before-seen areas of the ship, including the Poop Deck and Nelson’s Great Cabin – increasing the space visitors can walk around by a massive 80%
National Museum of the Royal Navy launches an innovative digital project to map stories of the people at the Battle of Jutland
Timber has long been a vital backbone for shipbuilding and famously HMS Victory was built from over 5,500 oak trees, 250 years ago. It even inspired the Royal Navy’s anthem Hearts of Oak. That strong tradition will now continue with a generous donation of timber from three estates in Aberdeenshire that will ensure that the ship survives for the foreseeable future.
Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower in Gosport is asking residents to raid their attics and dig out old photographs and items as part of an exciting new project.
The new project – Priddy’s People – aims to bring to life the stories of local men and women who worked at the 18th century Royal Navy Armament Depot, Priddy’s Hard, which is now Explosion Museum.
The collection of handling artefacts will feature as part of a free street party event held in the museum grounds on Bank Holiday Monday, 2nd May.
Community Outreach Officer at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Jo Valentine, said: “We use handling artefacts in a number of ways with community and school groups at our museum. They could be a starting point for a discussion, inspiration for an artwork and simply help tell the story of the workers at Priddy’s Hard.
“An artefact isn’t just something that you would put monetary value on – they aren’t always made of gold or the finest china. Often they are quirky and not always over 100 years old. They could simply be a worker’s manual, a clocking in card or a Priddy’s Hard football trophy made of scrap tin won by someone’s Grandad.
“Artefacts are a snapshot in time and reflect the people and the social change at a certain period. Artefacts can be used to unlock memories of a time gone by, an emotion, be it joy or even anger and help someone connect with the past. They are incredibly valuable in telling the human story of an historical site such as Priddy’s Hard.”
Drop-in sessions for people to bring in items and photographs of Priddy’s Hard have been organised for the following dates at Explosion:
Tuesday, 16th Feb, 11am – 1pm
Thursday, 7th April, 2.15pm- 4.15pm
25 January 2016
‘36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War’ Blockbuster Exhibition to open at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, 19th May 2016.
26 November 2015
Guns that saw action at Jutland are travelling from Orkney to be shown as part of the main UK exhibition on the key naval battle of the First World War.
24 November 2015
This November the Mary Rose will embark upon the next stage in her long and remarkable history.
This exciting chapter of the Mary Rose Museum will see an extraordinary transformation in visitor experience. The walls that currently separate visitors from the ship will be replaced with glazing to provide unrestricted views of the hull from bow to stern in all nine galleries and on all three levels. For the first time since she was raised from the Solent in 1982 visitors will also be able to share the same space as the Mary Rose, entering the upper deck through an air lock, allowing visitors to experience the full splendour and magnitude of the Mary Rose.
05 November 2015
• Descendant of Admiral Lord Nelson visits his famous ship HMS Victory at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
• Fourth great granddaughter of Nelson moved to tears after experiencing story of Nelson at Battle of Trafalgar first hand
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has been crowned the best tourist attraction in the UK in a prestigious poll.
We triumphed at the Group Leisure Awards after being voted Best UK Attraction by readers of the travel title.
16 October 2015
The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) is excited to announce its major contributions to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Jutland for 2016, highlighting the pivotal role played by the Royal Navy.
02 September 2015
The Mary Rose Trust is delighted to announce the appointment of a new Chief Executive, Helen Bonser-Wilton. Helen will take over the post from Rear Admiral John Lippiett who retires this September after twelve and a half years in the position.
On 6th August The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) will open HMS M.33 to the public for the first time in her history, following a distinctive and extensive conservation project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
On behalf of all stakeholders operating within the Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust is pleased to announce Latz & Partner as the winner of its Architectural Competition for the Hard Landscaping of this internationally renowned historic site.
The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN), Portsmouth has announced a historically accurate re-painting of HMS Victory, the most celebrated ship in naval history, in collaboration with expert conservators Crick Smith, University of Lincoln.
The historic ships and museums of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard are celebrating winning this year’s Excellence Award from global internet media company Travelzoo.
Princess Alexandra yesterday visited HMS Warrior 1860 to formally open the Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) Project awarded to undertake vital repair works that will secure the future of HMS Warrior 1860, one of the most influential warships ever built. This formal visit also marks the recent retirement of Chairman Rear Admiral Bawtree CB & Trustee Lord Wakeham. HRH Princess Alexandra visited the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on 23 June 2015.
This summer, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will host the world premiere of an ambitious new dance theatre production.
The Seafarers is by internationally acclaimed Stopgap Dance Company, which has toured around the world. It has been commissioned by Portsmouth Festivities with funding from Arts Council England and The Portsmouth Grammar School, to celebrate an important part of the city’s heritage.
02 April 2015
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust (PNBPT) in partnership with the International Boatbuilding Training College Portsmouth (IBTCP), Highbury College and Ampersand Catering are seeking sponsors to help change the lives of unemployed young people in Portsmouth.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded £2.6million to the HMS Warrior Preservation Trust to undertake vital repair works that will secure the future of HMS Warrior 1860, one of the most influential warships ever built and one of the principle attractions at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
05 March 2015
A new exhibition focusing on the role of the Royal Navy’s submarines during the First World War opens on Thursday 2nd April at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum.
A new exhibition promising to challenge the historical perceptions of a major First World War campaign is to open at the National Museum of the Royal Navy this March.
17 February 2015
The Mary Rose Trust has been shortlisted for two awards by The News Business Excellence Awards in the categories of Community Contribution of the Year and Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism.
15 December 2014
The Mary Rose Museum has been nominated for the European Museum of the Year Award 2015. This prestigious award was founded in 1977 and recognises excellence in European museums.
20 November 2014
The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded £1.75million to the National Museum of the Royal Navy to restore and open to visitors for the first time in its history, HMS M.33.
02 September 2014
The cannon has been chosen as one of the objects included in the British Museum’s Teaching History with 100 Objects online resource, a project made through collaboration with museums across the UK.
HRH The Princess Royal, Patron of The National Museum of the Royal Navy, officially opened the Museum’s new Babcock Galleries, home to the newly opened ‘HMS Hear My Story’ exhibition.
The Mary Rose Museum, is one of six finalists selected for the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2014. This prestigious award celebrates the achievements of the best UK museums and galleries.
The man who rediscovered the sunken Tudor warship, Mary Rose, is being commemorated with a bronze bust twenty two years after his death. The bust will go on permanent display at the Mary Rose.
Warrior Preservation Trust Limited has received initial support of £89,000 from The Heritage Lottery Fund for its £3.6m project 'Revealing the Secrets of Shipwrights and Sailors' it was announced today.