Nelson & His World

Discussion on the life and times of Admiral Lord Nelson
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 Post subject: Nelson Museum and Other Nelsonian Connections
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:41 pm 
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Since the Nelson Museum, Great Yarmouth, is now a registered forum member, it would be interesting to know more about what we can hope to see there, and also to have notification of forthcoming events such as Martyn Downer's talk. Please make a post.

We can also use this thread to list any other places of Nelsonian interest, and give advance notice of meetings, lectures, exhibitions etc.


Last edited by tycho on Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:02 pm 
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The museum was set up in 2002 as a charity by an independent board of Trustees and was formed on the basis of the Ben Burgess collection. It is housed in a Grade II Georgian merchants' house which Nelson *might* have known; after all, he was in town three times and surely would have walked along a quay which had recently been described by Defoe as 'the finest in England, if not in Europe'.

The museum has six small galleries: the Naval Room, the Merton Room, Georgian Life, Below Decks, the Maritime Courtyard and the Blue Room (Temporary Exhibition Gallery).

The Naval Room concentrates on Nelson's career and his public life, so his Norfolk roots, battles, death and commemoration are shown. The centrepiece is the Death of Nelson, a large oil painting by Samuel Drummond.

The Merton Room is more about Nelson as a person. A stunning wax effigy is seated at the Nile Tables. The Tables were donated to the museum in 2005 by an anonymous benefactor and are the tables at which Nelson sat before the Battle of the Nile to demonstrate his battle tactics - the same tactics which enabled Foley, in the Goliath, to sail behind the French fleet and so ensure victory. Also in this room are the Portsmouth Hangings - beautifully made hand-stitched embroideries which hung around the bed in the room at the George Hotel, Portsmouth, in which Nelson spent his last hours before leaving for Cape Trafalgar. The room also contains many personal belongings of Nelson's.

The Georgian Room is a tiny gallery to illustrate to visitors what was going on in the Nelsonian period with regard to politics, health, hygiene, technology, religion, slavery etc. For instance, a nine year old girl was hanged in Norwich for stealing a petticoat, and it was fashionable for Georgian women to shave off their eyebrows and replace them with mouse skins. Nice.

Below Decks is our little homage to HMS Victory. Nothing can beat the real thing (although several visitors reckoned it did - how, I can't imagine!) but we tried to recreate it. Visitors press the ship's biscuit and sit at the mess tables while they listen to sailors chatting on board HMS Victory as the ship sails toward the enemy off Trafalgar. Find the cat, look out for the rats and get ready for the cannon - it's quite loud...

The Maritime Courtyard is where most of our visitors spend a fair amount of time. We have a hammock, a deck imitator, a Swinging Blocks Nelson game, Nelson Quoits, draughts, Deckhand Dominoes and Sailors' Skittles to play. Visitors can also recreate Nelson's signal with our mini flag set. The most eyecatching things, however, are our four cannon. Two are English, stamped with George II's mark, and two are French...were they firing at us?

The Blue Room has a new display every year. The current exhibition "Man the Guns!" (Life on Board a Naval Warship) is running for two years, partly due to lack of funds and partly because it's really good. Using eyewitness descriptions as the only text in the exhibition, cartoon sailors take visitors through a few general aspects of life on board, such as press-gangs and volunteering, women and children on board ship, discipline, food, prize money and of course battles themselves. Original documents and artefacts are on display and are complemented by loans of weaponry and medical instruments (seeing the amputation saws is quite something). It is a really moving exhibition, because every word comes from men who served on the ships. It will run until November 2008, so visit soon.

If you would like to find out more about the museum or about how you can support the charity, please visit www.nelson-museum.co.uk.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:15 am 
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The Nelson Museum in Monmouth is also worth a visit. It is housed in the old market hall in the centre of Monmouth alongside much other material relating to local history.

The collection was given to the town as a bequest by Lady Llangattock (mother of Sir Charles Rolls of Rolls-Royce fame) who was a great admirer of Nelson. As well as exhibits such as Nelson's fighting sword, personal and commemorative items and an amusing cabinet of fakes and forgeries, including Nelson's 'glass eye' , the museum has a huge collection of personal letters, originals, typewritten transcripts and facsimiles.

There is a small study area and library for serious researchers.

Opening hours:
Monday-Saturday (including Bank Holidays) 10.oo-13.oo hrs and 14.oo -17.oo hrs; Sunday 14.oo - 17.oo hrs.

The staff were stocktaking when I visited yesterday but nevertheless were extremely friendly and helpful.

There are numerous websites which give further information. Simply use nelson museum monmouth as your search term.

Monmouth, the birthplace of King Henry V, victor of Agincourt, who was born in Monmouth Castle, is an attractive small town in lovely countryside and nearby is The Kymin, a naval temple on a hillside with spectacular views, and also Tintern Abbey which inspired Wordsworth's famous poem.


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