Nelson's Trafalgar Coat

Cutty Sark closure

Visitor notice: Cutty Sark will be closed on Sunday 1 March for the Vitality Big Half Marathon. The Park Row car park will also be closed to the public all weekend. On 29 February and 1 March access to the National Maritime Museum and Queen's House will be via the Romey Road or William Walk gates. Our other museum sites will be open as usual. Plan your visit

Essential information

Opening times: 
10.00–17.00 daily
National Maritime Museum

Get up close to the actual uniform Admiral Nelson was wearing when he was fatally wounded at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Nelson’s Trafalgar coat is currently on display in the National Maritime Museum’s ‘Nelson, Navy, Nation’ gallery.

The Trafalgar coat and the death of Nelson

In a bittersweet moment in history, Admiral Nelson did triumph at the 1805 battle and as a result put a halt to Napoleon's scheme to invade England. But this amazing naval hero paid for his victory with his life, dying aboard HMS Victory.

The bullet hole from the French sharpshooter who hit Nelson is visible in the left shoulder of the coat. There are also blood stains on the tails and left sleeve - thought to be from Nelson's secretary, John Scott, who had been killed earlier in the action.

After he was wounded, Nelson was carried below deck. He lived for long enough to find out that the English navy had been successful in defeating the French and Spanish forces.

The garment is a beautiful vice-admiral's undress coat, made from blue wool cloth with a stand-up collar, button-back lapels, gold trim and four orders of chivalry sewn on the front. Nelson had lost his right arm in a battle in 1797 and there is a small loop on the right sleeve of the coat to secure it to a lapel button.

Who was Nelson?

Find out more about Nelson

Visit the Nelson, Navy, Nation gallery