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This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!



Saturday, 24 November 2012

Figureheads

By the late 18thcent a ship's name was usually written across the back or stern of the ship. But it was also represented by a figurehead on the bow. The Royal Navy figureheads were designed and made by official ship carvers and were made from soft wood, usually pine and as a consequence they didn't last very long. Very few of the thousands that were made have survived.

There is a wonderful collection in the Maritime Museum in Greenwich of some that remain in tact:

If you are interested which ships they are from, here is the information guide which accompanied the exhibit.


These are the figureheads from HMS Ajax and HMS Bulldog. I was very interested in the name HMS Ajax as I knew my brother had served on a ship with that name but it obviously wasn't this one. This one had been launched in 1809 and had seen action in both the Napoleonic and Crimean wars. The ship was broken up in 1864 after being used as a coastguard vessel. My brother's ship was a frigate which was removed from service in 1988. I hadn't realised that the names of ships are used many times.

Whilst in Melbourne last month I came across other figureheads on display by the river Yarra. I do not think that these are original figureheads but a representation of the ships that use to travel along the river. Maybe someone can enlighten me.


3 comments:

  1. Some of those look a bit funny to the modern eye, but I'll bet they were very impressive up on their ships a century or more ago!

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  2. I love that HMS Ajax one, he's a hunk! :-)

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  3. Interesting photos and post...

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