Not strictly museums. Ships actually, but displayed as museum pieces. Both incredibly interesting. And I am not including Nelson’s “Victory”. I had seen it 40 years ago, and after 5 hours of walking, my knees told me that enough was enough.
My main targets today were “Warrior” and the “Mary Rose”.
Warrior was built in 1860. The age of steam was well underway. But to date, warships were still sailing ships. However the French were rebuilding their navy after their humiliating defeat at Trafalgar, and they had built the first propeller driven, steam powered, iron clad (wooden ship with steel plate cladding). The Brits were not going to stand for that, so they built “Warrior”. The most powerful, fastest battleship afloat, and more than a match for anything else in the world. By the time it was built, the French and the Brits were allies, for a while. Warrior was destined to never fire a shot in anger.
Today it sits moored at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, and is a fascinating mixture of steam and sail, muzzle loaders and breech loading guns, Steel and wood. It is a big ship, 127.5m (418′) long, and 9210 tons. It looks a little odd to our eyes because it has no superstructure, except 2 funnels, and the foremast and mainmast are widely separated.
This ship could make 14.4 knots (27.7kph) under steam, 13 knots (24kph) under sail, and 17.2 knots (31.9 kph) with sail plus steam. Not as fast as a clipper, but much faster than any other warship.
But the main armament was of course the big guns.
I have many more photos of Warrior, but I am down to my last few megs of storage, and I want to show some pics of the Mary Rose, which is probably the most stunning museum display I have ever seen. I know that I keep saying that, but this really is…..
Mary Rose was a 35 year old warship which sank in 1545 during the battle of the Solent, against a huge French invasion fleet, while Henry 8 was watching. No-one really knows why it sank, but the most popular theory is that bigger cannons had been installed, requiring low gun-ports to be cut into the the hull, and that after firing a broadside the ship had turned and the open gun-ports shipped a lot of water, which sank the ship. Whatever, the ship was unable to be raised. Most of the hull gradually rotted and broke away. But the parts which were under silt did not rot, and were still there when discovered over 3 centuries later. In 1985 the remains were raised, and painstakingly preserved. A museum to house the remains was specially built. And it is stunning! No other word for it. Here are a few pics from today.
A most remarkable museum. Add it to your bucket list. Allow at least 2 hours.