musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Greenwich and the National Maritime Museum

My exif data puts this series of images as having been taken on 13 March 2013, and it was quite a story and half to get to where I wanted to be. I was in Lewisham at the time when I saw the Dockland Light Rail station. Naturally my curiosity got the better of me and I discovered that it does go into the Greenwich area where the Cutty Sark is preserved. I had a reason to go after all!

This was my first time on the DLR so it was all new to me, and frankly I expect it could be very full at peak hour because this was not a very spacious train.

The ride was interesting because it was above ground and it gave me a glimpse of areas of London that I knew nothing about and which I will never pass through again. 

How much history has that bridge seen? and where is it anyway? I had no real clue where I was. 

Eventually we arrived at what seemed to be the appropriate station to the Greenwich and Cutty Sark and I bailed out, suitably impressed what my short jaunt. My first port of call was the Cutty Sark, everything else is a bonus. I have covered my visit to the ship in another blogpost so won’t really expound on it here. She is a wonderful old lady that thankfully still survives, although her future at one point was very clouded. 

Having visited this famous clipper I decided to head off to the National Maritime Museum which was not too far away. I had heard many good things about the museum, and it was about my favourite topic, so how could I go wrong? 

The building above is the Old Royal Naval College, and I did not investigate it closer. I had my eye on that museum instead. Looking back on my images I have to admit that I do not really remember the area too well, there were plenty of extremely impressive buildings around and trying to find the right one could prove somewhat difficult. I am going to gloss what I saw between the College and the Museum suffice to say that I found a graveyard in the grounds of one of the buildings!  

Our destination is right ahead. Let us not tarry or our ship will sail without us.

The very impressive building has two anchors on either side of the entrance, one of which was a spare for the Union-Castle Line. 

I do not recall much about the museum though, and I took very few photographs. There were quite a few models of interest but trying to get images of them inside their cabinets was almost impossible because of the reflections. 

And of course almost anything to do with ships is large and you can never get faraway enough to get the complete object in the frame. The gilded state barge above was built for Frederick, Prince of Wales  in 1732. 

Miss Britain III was a powerboat built in the 1930’s to compete for the Harmsworth Trophy. It is also the first single-engined boat to travel at over 160 km/h, and this record remained for 50 years.

One of the larger exhibits is a full sized marine propeller that turns languidly in the air. It is a very good indicator of how big ships can be.

The models were excellent but I have no real decent photographs of them, 

SS Rawalpindi  of the P&O Line, that was converted into an armed merchant cruiser, and was sunk in a surface action against the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau during the first months of the Second World War. This is her peacetime livery. 

HMS Grimsby  was the lead ship of her class. She was in the 1930s, entering service in 1934. She was deployed as an escort along the East coast of the Britain and in the Mediterranean Sea during the Second World War, and was sunk by dive bombers off Tobruk on 25 May 1941. 

The stern gallery below bears the name Implacable, but I don’t think that it is a full size gallery. This was officer country and woe betide any Jack Tarr that went into that area unless it was to clean up!  

HMS Victory in Portsmouth has a similar gallery. 

To me though, the best of the Maritime Museum was outside the building.

The museum did not leave much of an impression on me. My interests are geared towards merchant ships and warships to a lesser extent, and this museum did not really meet my expectations. But, I have seen it so can scratch one more off my bucket list.

Exiting the museum my next port of call was the Royal Observatory in Greenwich

Unfortunately during my visit there was a school group at the observatory, all were busily texting each other and very few were actually interested in the history all around them. The Greenwich Meridian passes through this area. Did I stand astride of the Meridian? I think I did but don’t have any pics. I do know that the one area you had to pay to get in and I decided against it. 

The view from the hill is fantastic though, remember I said there were many impressive buildings? 

The ugly skyscrapers do not fall in with my impressive building category. They are part of the Isle Of Dogs developments and that is yuppie and banker clone territory. Wind back towards the 30’s and 40’s that was dockland, and ships abounded. The pano below shows a broader view of the skyline. The spikey round thing on the right hand side is the Millenium Dome. 


At some point I had had enough and headed for home. Using the DLR to take me to Bank Station. Had I known about it at the time I would have crossed under the Thames using the tunnel, but I really planned to return here at some point because I wanted to do the trip to the Thames barrier. However that never happened so I do have this area in the back of my mind if/when I am in London again.

Random Images.


And that more or less concludes Greenwich.

The cemetery? It ties into the Royal Hospital Greenwich. 

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