Read our blog to get the lowdown from our experts and go behind the scenes at Royal Museums Greenwich.
View of 19th century merchant vessel (BHC3594)
Death was never far away for crew members on a merchant vessel in the 1860s. In 1865 one in twelve vessels reported the death of at least one member of its complement. More surprising perhaps is that births also occurred, but less often with only 1% of vessels reporting them. This study examines just over 4,000 merchant vessels’ records of births and deaths in 1865.
The pursuit of the 'Graf Spee' by HMS 'Ajax' and 'Achilles' [at the Battle of the River Plate, 13 December 1939]
This month we take a look into Archive and Library item MSS/75/130/2 concerning Captain Frederick Secker Bell (1897-1973). Bell was educated at the Royal Naval Colleges at Dartmouth, Osborne, Isle of Wight and the Royal Navy Staff College at Greenwich. He served on board the battleship HMS Canada at the battle of Jutland in 1916, received his Captaincy in December 1938 and took command of HMS Exeter a month prior to the declaration of war on September 3 1939.
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Diaries written by English prisoners of war captured during the Napoleonic Wars frequently mention their clothing. Whilst the importance of appropriate clothing to the comfort and care of prisoners is obvious, prisoners frequently used clothing for their benefit in other, more creative, ways.
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Every month, Documentations Officer Claire Denham takes us behind the scenes at Cutty Sark, to give us an insight into the important daily research, documentation and maintenance work that keeps Cutty Sark preserved for many future generations to come.
Night sky highlights - January 2019
The illustrated London news: 21 December 1889 Stirring the Christmas Pudding (RMG ID: ILN)
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
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. Their ragged clothes and limbs would be coated in the foul-smelling mud which included all manner of detritus, but it was within the mud and sewers that they searched for the modest riches which had been thrown away, dropped or lost overboard from the vessels moored on the Thames. These bent, bedraggled figures of humanity were the mudlarks, scavengers in London’s river and sewers who scratched a living by selling the articles they found.
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Discover the Tudor origins of some of today's well known Christmas traditions including tales of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I at Greenwich.
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Researchers working under the explorer William Parry in the far North sought to uncover the mysteries of the Arctic, but extreme cold and bizarre magnetic effects interfered in their research more than they had anticipated.
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In what is often considered one of the most extreme environments on Earth, harsh conditions made work difficult not only for the scientists, but also for their instruments.