RogerBW's Blog

National Maritime Museum, 30 December 2014 01 January 2015

On a chilly December day, I drove to Greenwich (do not do this, by the way; if you don't have twenty-odd quid in coins or a disposable credit card, just park in Lewisham, it's less hassle) and visited the National Maritime Museum. (Many photos follow; cc-by-sa on everything.)

First stop was the Painted Hall of the old Greenwich Hospital, originally intended as a refectory for the residents but deemed too grand and never used as such.

I find it particularly interesting that much of what would normally be carved decoration is painted here. For ease of cleaning?

Then on into the museum proper, and this rather splendid builders' model of the battleship King George V, as originally fitted out in 1940. (The twin-over-quad turret is distinctive even to me, and I don't know a lot of ship shapes.)

Note seaplane rails and cranes.

Launchers for Unrotated Projectiles (aerial mines) on the aft turret.

Prince Frederick's Barge, used for over a hundred years; lent to the Museum in 1951.

Miss Britain III, first single-engined boat to exceed 100mph and first boat to do so on salt water.

Last of the non-aquaplaning hulls? That's a front rudder there for greater control. and the engine's in the bow section too, with shaft leading leftwards to the propeller.

Powered by a modified Napier Lion. Because when you really want precision engineering, you go to Napier.

Suitcase with steamship line baggage labels.

Early automobile torpedo (Fiume 12-inch baby torpedo circa 1880): propelled by a compressed-air engine to cover 200 yards at six knots.

Propeller for a Type 23 frigate.

A variety of sextants and other tools.

Baltic Exchange memorial window (removed and restored after the bombing in 1992, before the rest of the building was vandalised by English Heritage and John Prescott).

I'd frankly expected more ship models, but we did find these from the Great War.

SMS Dresden), armoured cruiser.

HMS Jackal), Acheron-class destroyer.

SMS Scharnhorst, cruiser.

HMS Doris), Eclipse-class protected cruiser.

HMS Iron Duke), lead dreadnought battleship of her class.

HMS Tarantula, Insect-class gunboat. Yes, I know.

Coastal motor boat. Note the single torpedo, carried aft: no room for a tube, it was ejected backwards off the rack by a cordite charge, and a trip-wire would start the motor while the boat turned sharply aside. There is no record of a boat's having been hit by its own torpedo. One suspects they didn't often hit the enemy either.

SMS G37, Großes Torpedoboot.

HMS P34, patrol boat. (Note single torpedo mounts. Only one of this terrifying weapon need be fired at a time!)

HMS Ludlow, auxiliary minesweeper.

HMS Snapdragon, Arabis-class sloop (another minesweeper).

SS Springwell, cargo ship.

K-class submarine. Built with steam turbines so as to be able to keep up with the fleet, but this made them big; the maximum diving depth was less than their own length. Of the eighteen built, six were lost to accidents; none to enemy action.

Decorative lanterns.

We moved on to the Queen's House, where one is requested not to photograph the paintings. I did however get these shots of the ceiling and floor of the Great Hall, being blatant about its classical proportions.

Several paintings by Stephen Bone impressed me, including Strike Down Aircraft after Refuelling: On Board an Aircraft Carrier, On Board an S-Class Submarine: Up the Conning Tower (which I'm sure I've seen somewhere before), and S-Class Submarine:The Wardroom and Forward Mess Deck Seen through the Davis Escape Chamber. The one that really begged me to take it home, though, was Montague Dawson's HMS 'Implacable' in the Dardanelles, 25 April 1915 - of which, naturally, I can't find an image on-line. Bother it. (The ones you'll find on an image search are not the right one.) But the Museum's description may give some impression.

And we emerged to a rather splendid sunset.

On the way home, Cutty Sark against the sky-glowed clouds.


  1. Posted by Ashley R Pollard at 01:15pm on 01 January 2015

    Nice day out, and a nice collection of images. Happy New Year.

  2. Posted by Owen Smith at 12:49am on 02 January 2015

    I was at the same museum with my parents for the Turner and the Sea exhibition. Basically to see the "Fighting Temeraire" original, and it didn't disappoint.

    When I looked under the hull of Miss Britain III I assumed it was an aqua planing hull. There are clear steps in the hull which help it break free up to the point of the hull. Also I now recall I saw a TV documentary about it's contest with Miss Amercia X which stated Miss Britain III was both aqua planing and prop riding so had minimal water surface contact.

  3. Posted by Owen Smith at 12:51am on 02 January 2015

    See this page from the museum which refers to the stepped hydroplane hull:

    http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/11429.html

  4. Posted by RogerBW at 10:23am on 02 January 2015

    Yes, all right, it's sort of planing and probably lifts the central hull section, but it's not the later and more effective style where ⅔ or more of the hull will be out of the water. With the engine and rudder at the front, it's carefully designed not to be.

  5. Posted by Owen Smith at 11:49am on 02 January 2015

    New blog system doesn't say how many comments there are on each article on the main page. So I can't tell if someone has replied just by scanning the main page, I have to keep checking each article. Could this b added? Doesn't seem too difficult.

  6. Posted by RogerBW at 11:53am on 02 January 2015

    Yes it does, just next to the article's date.

    (And there are comment RSS feeds, per article or for the whole blog.)

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

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