Breaking up HMS 'Hannibal' and 'Duke of Wellington'

Inscribed lower left 'Breaking up the Hannibal and Duke of Wellington' and signed by artist. HMS 'Hannibal' (91 guns) and 'Duke of Wellington' (115 guns) were built respectively at Deptford in 1854 and at Pembroke Dock in 1852. Both were sold to Castle's, the well-known shipbreakers, on 12 April 1904 and Wyllie represents their demolition in progress soon afterwards on the Thames at Charlton. This was where the firm had their principal London operation at that time, though also had a link with Hughes Bolckow in the north of England and also later at Plymouth. A large stack of old ship-timber which still exists in the Thames foreshore at Charlton is thought to be from these large ships; not sold on at the time (typically for making garden furniture and some building use) it was later abandoned when the facility closed.

This watercolour was reproduced in Wyllies book, 'London to the Nore' (1905), f. p. 86, with a description of both vessels when at a further stage of demolition (pp. 87-88), including a reference to the 'huge timber stack, which is constantly growing on the river-bank.' [PvdM 2/12 amended 2/14]

Object Details

ID: PAF1505
Collection: Fine art
Type: Drawing
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Wyllie, William Lionel
Vessels: Duke of Wellington (1852); Hannibal 1896 [HMS]
Date made: circa 1905
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: 267 mm x 437 mm

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