On Monday the History Department took Year 8 to Portsmouth to visit the Historic Naval Dockyard. This is a fascinating historical site full of interesting ships, exhibitions and events. Our group was focused on two in particular; the Mary Rose Museum and Admiral Lord Nelson’s famous flagship HMS Victory.
The first part of the day involved a visit to the Museum’s education department and a workshop on primary sources looking at, handling and identifying varied historic objects that had been discovered on the wreck of the Mary Rose. These included a nit comb, a cannon ball, a bowl for bleeding and other varied objects. The boys also did some translation of a Latin inscription found on a cannon. The boys were brilliant and afterwards the Museum's Head of History and Learning said they were working at an A level standard and that their confidence and keenness in answering questions was most impressive.
Then we were taken around the Museum being guided through by a costumed staff member who pointed out the different parts of the ship such as the galley/kitchen, the cannons and weapons. We learnt that historians from Hampton Court used the Mary Rose's galley as part of their research into Tudor kitchens as part of their restoration work.We also saw the parts of the ship that were first spotted by divers in 1971 when the ship was discovered on the sea bed. It was really a fascinating visit and a unique insight in to Tudor life.
After lunch we were guided around HMS Victory by a volunteer guide, who gave many fascinating insights in to life on board Nelson’s warship. Nelson was apparently quite influenced by Shakespeare, often calling his Captains and Officers, his “band of brothers.” We learned why toilets are called “Heads” on ships (because the basic toilet for sailors was at the Head of the ship) and about the gruesome punishments used on board with the 'cat o nine tails'. During the Second World War, Philip Anns a Shrewsbury House Old Boy served in the Royal Navy. He got in touch recently and mentioned how he had briefly served on HMS Victory in Portsmouth during his wartime naval career. So in a way we were also looking at a part of SHS History too.
Soon it was time to head back to SHS after a quick visit to the Museum shop, where admirably many boys were buying gifts for their Year 3 buddies.
Overall a very interesting, busy and successful day. I would like to thank all my colleagues who supported this trip but especially Messrs Macallister, Cottrell, Francis and Fletcher for accompanying the boys.
Mr S. Smart
Head of History