Maritime London, a major new gallery in the central courtyard of the National Maritime Museum, part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, will open on Wednesday 4 April 2001. The gallery is supported by the Lloyd's of London community.

Maritime London, a major new gallery in the central courtyard of the National Maritime Museum, part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, will open on Wednesday 4 April 2001. The gallery is supported by the Lloyd's of London community.


Visitors will enter the gallery through an original 17th-century shop front, which served as the entrance to Lloyd's Coffee House, an early meeting place for ship insurers, later developing into the global enterprise of today's Lloyd's of London. Inside, the gallery will explore the importance of London's maritime heritage and its impact on world trade in five sections: Shipping & Shipbuilding; Bridges & Buildings; Commerce & Cargoes; Pomp & Pageantry; London Life.


Notable exhibits include wreckage from a Zeppelin shot down over the Thames estuary by anti-aircraft fire in February 1916, architectural features salvaged from the Baltic Exchange after it was bombed in 1992, and a two-metre-long nineteenth-century panorama of London from the river.


The original model for Nelson's Column (complete with design details which were changed in the later plans for the actual column), submitted in the competition for the design of Trafalgar Square in 1839 will be on display for the first time, as will early 19th century plans for the Rotherhithe Tunnel.


The different uses of London's docklands is an important theme of the gallery and a large-format photographic panorama of the Thames below Tower Bridge will enable visitors to compare the river over 60 years since the 1930s. The city's changing relationship with the river will be brought home by a newly commissioned film (produced by Bubble Media), which will combine archive footage (including 1920s film of the Pool of London), historic photographs and other materials from the Museum's collections.


Maritime London will include oil paintings of London's dockyards, the building of Brunel's Great Eastern, Royal openings of London Bridge and Tower Bridge and the spectacle of Nelson's funeral procession on 9 January 1806.


The gallery will also feature such treasures from the Museum's collection as gold and enamel 'freedom of London' boxes - including that presented to the 7th Astronomer Royal, Sir George Airy - and presentation swords awarded to Naval officers by the City and its institutions.


Chairman of the Museum's Trustees, Sir David Hardy, said 'Maritime London will show the city's emergence as a major world port and its transformation into the high-tech commercial trading centre of today. The gallery will explore the enormous historical impact of maritime enterprise on London, and demonstrate how the City is still at the centre of the trading world'.


Visitor informationOpening date: Maritime London is a permanent gallery, opening to the public on 4 April 2001.Press preview: Tuesday 3 April - 6.30-8.30pm.Opening Hours: 10.00am-5.00pm seven days a week.Museum admission: Children & senior citizens free; adults £7.50; concessions £6.00.