Museum blog

Coronavirus closure

Visitor notice: All Royal Museums Greenwich sites are currently closed to visitors, but you can still join us for online events and search our digital collectionsFind out more

Read our blog to get the lowdown from our experts and go behind the scenes at Royal Museums Greenwich.

The illustrated London news: 21 December 1889 Stirring the Christmas Pudding (RMG ID: ILN)

11 December 2018

We all have traditions around Christmas time and for many this will include a flaming Christmas pudding triumphantly brought to the dinner table, presented to both family and friends. Not all of us though, like a slice of Christmas pudding to round off our Christmas meal. I have heard it described as ‘the dessert from the depths of hell itself’ and ‘a flaming delight; a feast for the eyes and mouth.’ Both descriptions reminded me of a quote from Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol and made me wonder about the origins of the Christmas pudding.

‘The Mud-lark’ from Henry Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor

3 December 2018

If we were able to return to Victorian London and head down to the banks of the Thames at low tide, we could observe silent human figures aged from childhood upwards, bent over, wading (sometimes waist-high) in the wet mud. 

PY9513

22 November 2018

One of my recent cataloguing projects has been a collection of business records relating to Sir William Fraser, principal managing owner of several vessels in the service of the East India Company at the time of the Napoleonic Wars. The catalogued items all have the prefix FRS in the Archive Catalogue.

Sir George Biddell Airy (1801-92)

7 November 2018

Within the Caird Library’s collection of rare books is the personal library of the seventh Astronomer Royal, Sir George Biddell Airy. It features a plethora of scientific and astronomical research, as well as some of the Library’s most historically significant works such as Copernicus’s influential De revolutionibus orbium coelestium and Flamsteed’s controversial Historiae coelestis, which was published without his consent.

HMS 'Erebus' passing through the chain of bergs, 1842 (BHC3654)

31 October 2018

Ghost ships, sometimes also called phantom ships, are vessels with no living crew aboard. These may be real derelict ships found adrift with their crew missing, such as the 19th century HMS Resolute, or fictional and folkloric ones, like the apocryphal Octavius

Greenwich Observatory

31 October 2018

October’s Item of the Month looks at a practical astronomical work written by the husband and wife team of Walter and Annie Maunder.  The Maunders worked in the Solar Department of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich in the early 1890s.

The Charlotte Dundas

31 October 2018

The Caird Library’s display case has a new display featuring items which tell the story of early steam vessels.

JAE/7 watercolour

28 September 2018

Malta, rich in history, is visited by millions of tourists every year, myself included. Famous for its home of the Knights of Saint John, records of Malta’s history can be found as far back as the Neolithic period. No matter where you turn on the island you run into a historical building. One such building often mentioned in the manuscripts is Fort St Angelo. 

Captain Death, bravely resisting the Vengeance

7 September 2018

When browsing the shelves in the library you occasionally come across a title or name that makes you want to investigate further. One such title that stood out for me was an account of the unusually named Captain William Death and his final voyage as commander of the Terrible privateer operating from London during the Seven Years War.

Great Britain's Coasting Pilot

15 August 2018

At the recent Caird Library Open Day it was great to welcome more than 400 people to look at some of the fascinating items we have in the library and archive collections. Two of the items on display were a volume of Navy Board In Letters and Orders and an edition of Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot by Greenville Collins both from the latter part of the 17th Century. We discovered recently that these two items have a very interesting link. 

Pages