It was an Indian Summer’s day, blessed with blue skies and temperatures to match, our visit to Hartlepool’s Maritime Museum was made even more enjoyable as we embraced the historical atmosphere.
Our first point of contact was the reception staff who made us very welcome and provided us with a wealth of information about the daily itinerary of available events and tea & gift shops . As you enter the inner sanctum of the museum, you are confronted by Britain’s oldest floating warship, framed by a variety of ‘olde world’ sea port buildings, providing a sense of wonderment for visitors of all ages. It would be unfair of me to tell you too much as the experience needs to be absorbed by the visitor; and we certainly believe that you will not be disappointed. The maritime theme carries you through fascinating corridors of history in a way that brings the past to life.
Be wary of the low ceilings aboard the ship and the pokey holes where the ‘Powder Monkeys toiled”. However, for folks with mobility issues, when the ship was being restored at Hartlepool, they somehow engineered an unobtrusive internal lift (elevator) allowing access to most of the lower & upper decks. Amazingly, this does not detract from the experience and is really helpful to less able bodied visitors, and families with child buggies.
Throughout the visit, guides and other members of the “ crew” were helpful and readily on hand to advise. We learned of mystic experiences said to exist by paranormal investigators who often arrange group visits in the dead of night? Mmm!
I asked the question why the ship was built at one of Britain’s former colonies? I was informed that due to a shortage of English Oak it was decided to send ship building plans to the Bombay Dockyard in India. There was an abundance of Indian teak considered ideal for ship building due to its imperviousness to wood infestation and salt water. Of course the sheaths of inlaid copper also helped preserve more than sixty percent of its original timber resulting in this unique feat of skilled engineering and craftsmanship that lays boast to the title of being the oldest floating commissioned frigate of the Nelsonian era.
The original plans for building the ship in 1812 were sent to Bombay on HMS Java, but were lost when she was captured by the American frigate Constitution. Replacement plans were sent out on HMS Stirling Castle a year later and in 1916 under the direction of Master Builder Jamsetjee Bomanjee Wadia, who sits proudly on the Busthead, is testament indeed to his skills and those of his workers.
It is fitting that HMS Trincomalee is docked at Hartlepool Maritime Museum where the sense of maritime history is abundantly evident. The care and attention it receives makes you feel that it is has found a soul mate, at Hartlepool dockyard.
Finally, be mindful you are boarding a floating HMS Warship : be warned, miscreant behaviour on board a Regal frigate warrants serious punishment, although I was assured flogging was less common today!
We certainly enjoyed the experience and have no reservations about recommending this wonderful museum to visitors.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.