Leadership and Nelson

nile 5

by Nigel Cushion
Chief Buccaneer, Nelsonspirit

On the night of the 19th September 2017, Norwich Castle hosted a special event. Leaders and Future Leaders from business and the charity sector were taken back to 1798, to hear about Nelson and his leadership legacy.

Guests were greeted with Tea from Nelson and Norfolk Tea Company and home-made cake: English Chocolate Cake, British Victoria Sponge and Caribbean Coconut Cake, and then led into the auditorium for a talk on Nelson’s Leadership.

Following extensive research, and revealed in public for the first time, we explored the meaning of “The Nelson Touch”, and the Nelsonspirit 7 challenges that leaders of today face to bring some of Nelson’s magic into their organisations. Concepts were explored from “knowing the ropes” to developing strategy. Opening to the music “Hearts of Oak”, each modern leader was challenged to see how they measure up to Nelson’s Leadership. We also explored the origins of the Band of Brothers, and the rarely discussed 5 combat protocols (what you do when you come into contact with the enemy). Interestingly I found afterwards from a special forces trained guest, that the SAS are today using something similar. What has also been interesting is how contemporary and modern much of Nelson’s thinking was and how easily it translates into today’s business world.

Nile 3

The French fleet in Aboukir Bay!

As Nelson was a man of action – we thought we would sandwich the listening and learning with a re enactments of the Battle of the Nile. It is believed to be the first time in 219 years the Battle of the Nile has been “re enacted”. During the re enactment modern leaders were asked to use their knowledge of Nelson’s leadership, and predict how and what decisions he would make as the battle simulation unfolded. The story included the geo political situation in the world at that time, and relative military strengths and tactics on the day. We also looked at the role of “colours” in Naval Warfare – and the origin of the terms “showing your true colours” and “nailing your colours to the mast”. 13 of today’s leaders became the French Navy, 13 became captains of the Royal Navy, and the remaining guests took on the role of Nelson. Other historical references were also woven in, such as Dambuster Barnes Wallis’ reference to Nelson at the Nile as being the inventor of the first bouncing bomb; and the origins of the ‘Boy stood on the burning deck’ poem. Leaders had 6 decisions to make – including the critical one made by Capt Foley – to go “around the back”. The re enactment ended with the story of the 2 ships that got away and the chase down of the colours of Le Généreux.

Nile 4

The British fleet splits in two and surrounds the anchored French ships

And then at precisely 18.05 (hrs!), the evening was rounded off by a fabulous tour of the Nelson and Norfolk exhibition by the Norfolk Museums Service, starting with the colours – and many of the objects mentioned in the re enactment could then be seen up close.

Nile 6

The tour of Nelson & Norfolk commenced at (appropriately enough) 18.05 precisely

At Nelsonspirit we are trying to keep Nelson’s Leadership legacy alive. Many of our modern Band of Brothers – a group of MDs and CEOs from Norfolk businesses and charities were present. A retiring collection was taken for the Nelsonspirit Future Leaders Fund – which provides grants to young people who want to grow as leaders while helping others in communities all over the world. By working with young people we hope to develop the spirit of Nelson within them. This, I think, is what he would confide. He might say this is now, what England Expects.

For more details on Nelsonspirit and the work carried out by Nigel and the team, visit their website or follow Nelsonspirit on Twitter

Advertisements

Marie-Antoinette’s Bodice

Profile

by Deborah Phipps, Textile Conservator

The Nelson & Norfolk exhibition contains some amazing textiles from the enormity of the ensign of Le Généreux, brilliantly described in Lisa Little’s previous blog, to a delicate embroidered skirt flounce loaned by Royal Museums Greenwich Maritime Museum.

One of those textiles is a bodice alleged to have been worn by Marie Antoinette, the bodice is of blue and cream striped silk satin, lined with silk taffeta. A beautiful and luxurious item in its prime.

1

Unfortunately, it has had a hard life. According to the accession file, the silk from the sleeves was cut out and given away as mementoes or relics to her admirers and followers after her death. It has also had a long life out on display and consequently has suffered from light damage across the front which is now very discoloured and in places almost in shreds. The bodice has been stored in a box with other items and is creased and squashed.

2One piece of the fastenings has actually deteriorated so much it has become detached from the bodice. Which actually was quite convenient when it came to formulating a treatment plan.

After much discussion with the Curator and the Head of Conservation, I decided to wet clean the bodice. As conservators we often clean objects as part of their treatment, it removes any dust, foreign materials, insect pests and so on, but we do not routinely wet clean historic dress. This is because of the information they contain and the history that the dirt and stains can attest to. Historic dress is also often in a very fragile condition due to the materials it is made from and wet cleaning may put undue strain on already weakened fibres and threads.

In this instance after I examined the bodice thoroughly I was sure that wet cleaning would be beneficial to the bodice in a number of ways; not only would it remove the dust and dirt from extended display period, it should lessen the discolouration across the front of the object by removing the deteriorated and discoloured fibres from the damaged area, but also it would rehydrate the silk fibres that had become brittle and in danger of cracking and hopefully give the satin back its shine.

3

Detached piece ready for wet clean test

4

In process of washing

Because of the good results gained from washing the detached piece, I decided to go ahead and wet clean the bodice.

5This is the water after the first lot of detergent was used on the bodice, the yellow is from the light damaged fibres and the grey tint is the dirt and dust from display and museum life.

67The bodice was dried with blotting paper to remove excess water and then laid out on piles of clean Nylon net. This allows the air to move around and under the object and reduces drying time.

These images show the front right side of the bodice during the stitch repairs and after the stitching is finished. The silk is now soft and pliable and it feels safer to handle the fabric with less chance of damage from splits occurring. A layer of fine Nylon net has been pinned to the inside of the bodice behind the damage, the support stitching was worked through all the layers to hold the damaged pieces securely, and another layer of the net was stitched across the front of the damaged area for more protection. The detached piece was reinstated during the conservation process.

9Due to space constraints in the cases, the bodice is displayed ‘flat’. When we describe an item of historic dress as being ‘flat’ what we mean is; not on a mannequin. The object will still need to be supported and to do this a bespoke internal mount was made, seen here part way through the process. This mount will also be used for supporting the bodice in storage.

10The finished object, in a possible display position, the sleeves had to be folded in due to space constraints in the display case, when stored the sleeves will be laid out flat.

 

Every so often an object comes through the conservation lab that throws up questions and challenges, these objects are often complex, always interesting and very satisfying to work on. This object was one of those and I am pleased to have been able to conserve it for future visitors to see and enjoy.

 

 

 

A Brief History of All Saints Church, Burnham Thorpe

All Saints Church exterior (4) Twitter

by Mike Tapper

When you read about the history of a  church, it is common that the building primarily features; rarely do we read of the people  associated with it.

In case of All Saint’s we shall meet the families, rather than purely the building, who have played such a significant part in our nation’s history.

Herman  Dodifer – whose  parents came  with William I after the Norman Conquest – was born in Calthorpe  in Norfolk. His son Peter de Calthorpe acquired the manor of Burnham Thorpe.

Sir William Calthorpe was knighted by Edward IV at the coronation of his bride Elizabeth Woodville, as Queen in 1465.

Sir William having been a major donor to the Church his magnificent brass effigy, in the chancel, as a knight in armour lies on the floor his feet rest on little dogs indicating he died in bed (as opposed the warlike Knights of the Garter!)

All Saints Church interior (1) Twitter

The interior of All Saints Church

So from that effigy we can say that features of the church its Norman Tower and magnificent columns  dates probably from the 13th century and was isolated from the village and located across the river adjacent to the Manor House.

During the Civil War in in 1642  Norfolk members of the House of Commons raised money for the defence of Parliament. Calthorpe and Walpole feature and indicates that the two families, were   clearly close, showing how the manor estates were sold to the Walpole family.  We know that in 1719  and 1721 Sir Robert Walpole England’s First Prime Minister audited and signed  the parish accounts.

Nelson graves (2) Twitter

The graves of Edmund and Catherine Nelson

Walpole’ grand niece  Catherine Suckling whose husband Rev Edmund Nelson was presented with the living of All  Saints’  Church, from 1791 to 1793 . Then came the first period of restoration of the Church.

All Saints Church interior (5) Twitter

Bust of Horatio Nelson, as seen in the church

In 1758 Catherine and Edmund had a son Horatio whom by the time he was 12 was writing to his brother “Do William, write to my father and tell him that I should like to go to sea with Uncle Maurice”

In  November 1787 the frigate H.M.S Boreas was paid off in Sheerness by Captain Nelson, who now had to face the unwelcoming prospect of 5 years ‘on the beach’ back in Norfolk. In due course he returned home with his new wife to Burnham Thorpe. Fanny Nelson,  following their return from the West Indies, craved permanence whilst Horatio Nelson – albeit with little money – grudgingly took his place among those known as the ‘genteel’ classes. The first winter back in Norfolk was abysmally cold.  Nelson being attacked by rheumatism barely moved beyond the bedchamber  whilst Fanny hardly stirred from her stout moreen bed sheets .

When the weather improved, contact with Lord Walpole of Wolterton (Nelson’s godfather) improved as the Walpoles proved to be gratifyingly down to earth. Lady Walpole introduced Nelson to Thomas William Coke the greatest landowner in the county.

Holkham Hall (3) Twitter

Holkham Hall, former seat of Thomas William Coke

Notwithstanding their political differences – Nelson being a Tory and and unimpressed by wealth alone – the pair clearly had a good relationship with Coke in later years greatly admiring Nelson and sending gifts to his father.

When the French Batteries at Brest fired on a British sloop of war in 1793, Nelson wasted no time and wrote to the Admiralty to ask for a ship. He was appointed to be Captain of H.M.S Agamemnon, a sixty four gun ship of the line fitting out at Chatham.His commission was dated 30th January  1793.

Two days later, France declared war on Britain and on 4th February Nelson left Norfolk  ’in Health and great Spirits.’

Over the years Nelson’s church has been restored and  maintained in remembrance of the greatest fighting Admiral of all time.

H.M.S Nelson crest (Twitter)

The crest of HMS Nelson, on display in the church

 

 

 

A Stitch (Back) in Time: Working on the Ensign of Le Généreux

Ensign conservation work 12.5.17 (34)

by Lisa Little (pictured left), featuring contributions from Norfolk Museums Service Costume & Textile Department volunteers

Working on the ensign of Le Généreux – a vast flag dating back to the 1790s and one of the earliest and most complete tricolours in existence – was a project that the Costume and Textile department had considered over the past decade, and was certainly something that I never thought I would actually get to do. When asked if it was possible, Ruth Battersby Tooke (Senior Curator, Costume and Textiles) and myself looked at each other. We knew the work that would be involved. I knew that I could hand pick volunteers who could assist us with this once-in-a-lifetime project. There was only really one answer to the question: we said yes.

The ensign had been stored folded and rolled on a 6 metre length roller in our store, I had never seen it laid out, and only seen conservation assessment photographs of the different section colours and historic damage. The initial investigation was undertaken at St Andrews Hall in Norwich over 2 days, this was filmed by Louise Turner, our trainee at the time, on a time- lapse camera.

Here we assessed the damage to the sections. We carefully removed the degraded friable lining fabric which was no longer supportive and detrimental to the blue section. Then with help from our teaching museum trainees and conservation staff we museum vacuumed all the dust residue from where the lining was removed as well as the white and red sections. This we documented to inform a plan to calculate the further conservation of it. Only now was it apparent what I had agreed to, not only taking myself on this journey with Lindsay Blackmore and Anna Stone, our two contracted conservators,  but also my volunteers too!

IMG_1238

Gwyneth ‘Gwyn’ Fitzmaurice consulting with the detailed plan of the ensign which she created to help map out the more damaged parts of the flag

We are extremely lucky in our department, we have excellent volunteers who give not only a huge amount of time to us, but bring with them a wealth of expertise in a range of areas. This eases the daily commitments and pressures of a busy department, a few took the plunge and generously agreed to give their time to this new demand, albeit a very large involved project in the form of the ensign. This is the largest textile object that the department cares for, and it came with a host of obstacles, aside from its size, the fragility these included the logistics of working on it which had to be overcome ahead of the conservation stitching. This involved technical challenges from the outset. Where to work on it? How would it be supported so that it could be easily manoeuvred by a minimum of people, after all it couldn’t stay in St Andrew’s Hall. So an alternative venue was secured where it could be worked on width ways, it just fitted!

Using a combination of storage boxes that were previously designed to use with rolled textiles over at our large objects store at Gressenhall, some wheels, blocks, car jacks and a Heath Robinson approach to problem solving, we were underway. All this happened back in February, which now seems a distant memory. Our volunteers – Clare Currie, Gwyneth Fitzmaurice, Danusia Latonsinski and Ken Smith – joined us in March and they worked with us right up until installation in July.

IMG_1241

Ken Smith fitting a cover to one of the 28 backing boards used to support the ensign in the exhibition

At the very beginning Lindsay had given everyone a stitching test, including myself, to do. We all had to pass to the highest standard and as Gwyn recalls, ‘I was intrigued by the detail of attention required to work on an object of this great size’, and at times she found the sewing ‘zen- like’.

We all initially started with enthusiasm, but as it transpired what worked best was a steady approach to the mammoth sized task we had ahead. We had to pace ourselves and ensure the stitching was as consistent and as near identical from the beginning to the end. Every hole had to be ‘read’ before you began sewing. Tiny holes, those under 1cm were darned, larger holes and tears were stitched using conservation couching. Before any of that happened the flag section needed to be tensioned by measuring across the entire width, weighted and in some cases, humidified and left for several days before that portion could be worked on. This all took time and required planning. On average a section 50cm deep across the 8.4m width could be completed every 7 days. Some sections were in better condition than others, some required a lot more work. The rope sleeve section took 2 weeks to net, and was extremely complicated. By the very end we were experts; methodical and accurate.

IMG_1373

Prior to the ensign installation, all of the 28 covered backing boards were fitted to a specially constructed frame and thoroughly cleaned

There always was the aim to re-line the blue section, and conservation stitch to support each and every hole, tear and worn section and re- join the bunting fabric seams. And there was the aspiration that if time allowed – and we stuck to schedule – then the bunting seam splits and repairs in the white and red section could be completed. Our aim and priority, however, was to support the blue section to enable this vast textile to be displayed. Time did allow for this extra work to be undertaken, unbelievably we did it. Everything we aimed to complete and more was achieved on schedule, and as Clare said; ‘It was a surprise how much better it looks after conservation as its huge scale was quite a logistical challenge’.

IMG_1379

Installation involved unrolling the flag gradually and pinning the top edge to the plinth in order to secure it

We worked on the ensign in 10 sections, and it was only when we had completed the final one and looked back over the entirety did we appreciate the improvement. It became more than the sum of its parts, as you can clearly see on the roof- like structure, which Katie Jeffs in the display team designed. Her vision for how the exhibition flows and the scale was visionary. Somehow the architectural model I had seen didn’t prepare me for installation of the ensign and being up some 3 metres high at the top of the slope. The ensign is impressive, even though it is not entirely unrolled, (some 2 metres are visible in the window at the end of the ‘plinth’) the scale stops you in your tracks.

IMG_1391

With insufficient space to display the full height of the flag, around 2 metres of the material had to be rolled and then placed in a trench at the base of the plinth

The forensic display of wood splinters, dust, newspaper and threads I collected together tell the story of the conservation of the object. Everything we have done is reversible, documenting every stage using photography, graphing the entire ensign, cross referencing through to Gwyn’s  mapped sectional drawing. All this work has been done with care and respect, allowing this impressive object to be displayed and appreciated by all, for today and in the future.  As our volunteer Ken said, ‘I am now a tiny part of its history, it’s been a privilege to be part of this’.

I agree, it is a once in a lifetime chance to work on an object like this.

The Costume & Textile Association are running a JustGiving campaign to raise money for the design and construction of a storage box which will allow for easier display and storage of the ensign, and help preserve it for future generations. Click here to lend your support and find out more.

IMG_1411

The dress rehearsal for refolding the flag once it comes off display, carried out at St Andrew’s Hall using a replica of the original ensign

 

Building your brand, Nelson-style

1

Andy Bowen

In the modern world, we have access to countless tools which allow us to market ourselves to potential employers, investors or even potential partners. Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow individuals to build carefully curated life narratives for consumption by the world at large. Sites such as LinkedIn allow for a more business oriented approach, with individuals marketing their key skills and capitalising on the business connections they make in order to promote themselves to future employers. Building your personal brand in pursuit of your ambitions can be achieved with just a few clicks of a mouse or taps on a screen.

Nelson LinkedIn

In the absence of tools such as LinkedIn, Nelson came up with different methods of ensuring his victories would be remembered.

The Royal Navy of Nelson’s day was a hugely competitive environment, with large numbers of officers jostling for command of their first ship or for advancement up the ranks. In order to stand out from the crowd, Nelson adopted various ways of making sure that his victories would be talked about.

The first – and most striking – was to take pride in the various decorations and orders he had earned for his victories. This in itself was not unusual as decorations such as the Order of the Bath were designed to be worn with uniform. Where Nelson differed was in the sheer number of decorations he had achieved, and the more exotic nature of some of the honours he displayed. Chief among these was the chelengk Nelson wore upon his hat. This diamond

Chelengk Detail
The chelengk as seen on the Nile Hat in the 1801 portrait of Nelson by William Beechey 

 plume was awarded to Nelson by Sultan Selim III of the Ottoman Empire following his victory at the Battle of the Nile. The chelengk featured 13 diamond rays emanating upwards from a central flower, which each ray representing a French ship present at the Battle of the Nile, and also contained a clockwork mechanism which made the central flower rotate and glimmer in the light. Nelson was one of the first non-Muslims to receive this honour, and so it made for a distinctive and unique addition to his naval uniform. Unfortunately the chelengk no longer survives, having been stolen from the National Maritime Museum in 1951 and broken up for its diamonds.

Nelson also placed a great deal of importance on gift-giving as a means of ensuring that his stories would continue to be told. Following his decisive action in capturing two Spanish ships at once in the Battle of Cape St Vincent in 1797, Nelson sent the sword surrendered to him by Admiral Don Xavier Winthuysen as a gift to the city of the Norwich. The sword was displayed in the city’s guildhall, and after Nelson’s death a monument detailing his victories was built to display the sword. The sword and monument were previously displayed in Norwich Castle Keep, and currently form part of the Nelson & Norfolk exhibition.

The hat that features in the 1801 portrait of Nelson by William Beechey was given by Nelson to Beechey’s son Charles – Nelson’s godson – as a gift to show Nelson’s gratitude for the work Beechey had done. Nelson gave the gift stating that it was the hat he wore during his victory at the Battle of the Nile in 1798, where Nelson destroyed the French fleet at anchor in Aboukir Bay. The coat Nelson wore from the very same battle was given by Nelson to a sculptor in Naples after he sat for a portrait bust. Nelson presented the coat – still stained with pomatum hair product on the back – declaring that it was

…the [coat] which I wore during the whole of the Battle of the Nile, and which I have never worn, nor even allowed to be brushed, since, in order that my Naval as well as other friends may know, the streaks of perspiration and hair-powder which are still to be seen on it, the exertions which I made and the anxiety which I felt, on that day.

Nelson’s deliberate inaction in leaving the stain on the back of the coat as a tangible reminder of the hard work he undertook on the night of 1-2 August 1798 shows him acting as curator of his own legacy. His intention was for the coat to be accepted as a gift, and the story attached to it to be told again and again.

And so we continue to tell the stories to this day, just as Nelson intended. If you want to see the various objects that he gave as gifts to guarantee his legacy, then make sure to visit Nelson & Norfolk at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery to find out more.

Taking Norfolk’s ‘other’ maritime heroes out from beneath Nelson’s mighty shadow

MarkNicholls

Mark Nicholls

I owe much to Horatio Nelson.

Working as a local journalist, he was to become a figure who would open up a whole new dimension of Norfolk’s maritime history for me.

Most people will have heard of the vice admiral and his exploits; his death at the Battle of Trafalgar, and perhaps even some of his other victories such as at the Battle of the Nile.

They may know he came from Burnham Thorpe, the son of a North Norfolk clergyman and, of course, no story of Nelson is complete without mentioning his controversial relationship with Emma Hamilton.

But as a writer for the Eastern Daily Press a few years ago, it was Lord Nelson who opened many more doors for me, offering an insight into the true depth and breadth of Norfolk’s maritime history.

In the bi-centenary year of the Battle of Trafalgar in 2005, I’d become the EDP’s unofficial “Nelson correspondent” with the brief for that fleeting 12 months to cover ‘all things Nelson.’

A portrait of Sir Cloudsley Shovel.for Centro. edp sunday 22.11.03

Sir Cloudesley Shovell

It was a fascinating opportunity to learn more about Nelson and rub shoulders with – and interview – academics, historians and enthusiasts who were fascinated by the life and times of the vice admiral.

It also presented me with the chance to meet the descendants of Nelson and those associated with him, or those who were researching the life and times of ancestors who fought alongside the Norfolk Hero.

What I didn’t expect was to be led down so many other paths, along the Nelson network and an intriguing trail to stories of people who were his captains and crew, or were later inspired by his feats.

The more I looked, the more I discovered about Norfolk’s maritime characters, many of whom were little known simply because of the sheer scale of Nelson’s legacy and character, which seemed to overshadow all of their feats and contributions at a stroke.

There were those who introduced Nelson to life at sea such as his uncle Maurice Suckling, for example, or the young men Nelson patronised and took to sea with him when he regained command of the Agamemnon in 1793 after five years on the beach without a ship. That included the likes of an impressionable William Hoste. There were those he championed too, notably Edward Berry who famously went on to capture the flag of Le Généreux that we can once again view in Norwich as part of the Nelson & Norfolk exhibition.

GeorgeManby

George Manby

There were those further down the line who were inspired by his acts and collected memorabilia such as the eccentric George Manby, while others had little or no connection to Nelson – such as Sir Cloudesley Shovell and Richard Woodget – yet who made vast contributions to maritime history.

As I came to the end of my tenure as EDP Nelson correspondent – a very informal title issued for convenience for the bi-centenary year – I realised I had accrued volumes of information about Lord Nelson, but within that were also significant tales and facts about several other Norfolk maritime figures, some whom many people in the county may not have even heard of.

Reluctant to let their stories remain untold, and perhaps somewhat subtly inspired by Nelson myself, I set about producing my book “Norfolk Maritime Heroes & Legends” (Poppyland Publishing) in an attempt to bring these Norfolk mariners to life and offer an insight into their contribution to our maritime history.

RichardWoodget

Richard Woodget

It is this story, and their stories, which will form my lecture as part of the Nelson & Norfolk exhibition being staged over the summer months. Entitled “Nelson’s Shadow”, I’ll endeavour to bring them out of his shade and into their own blaze of glory.

There will be some quirky stories, interesting facts and a few bizarre tales too.

And one of my favourites, perhaps the quirkiest of all Norfolk Nelson links, is oddly retrospective – rooted in events some 139 years before the vice-admiral’s own death at Trafalgar.

But to find the answer to that one, you’ll have to join me on August 29 when I explore the lives of several of Norfolk’s renowned mariners and why so many of them were inextricably linked to Horatio Nelson.

Mark Nicholls will be delivering his talk ‘Nelson’s Shadow’ on Tuesday 29th August 2017 at 12.30pm. The talk will be included in the cost of admission to Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery. Click here for further details.

The repair and restoration of the Nelson Monument in Great Yarmouth

2 cropped

Michael Knights

Originally constructed to celebrate our county’s most famous son Lord Horatio Nelson between 1815 and 1819. This most gracious monument stands 144 feet high and was paid for by public subscription. Although several different sites were put forward, including at least two in Norwich, it was finally agreed to erect it on the open ground known as South Denes where it dominated the views for many years.

1
One of the survivors from the battle of Trafalgar named James Sharman (who reputedly had helped carry the dying Nelson to the cockpit on board Victory), became keeper of the monument for many years where he would regale visitors with stories and anecdotes about his life at sea. His name is even inscribed upon the monument although it is hidden from view at the base of the column.

The open space around the monument was used by the military for various purposes including exercising their horses, much as they still do today on the north Norfolk coast. Consequently this land became the town’s first racecourse. Later it became used for storing all the baskets and other things needed for the
expanding herring industry; but by the latter half of the 20th century it gradually
filled up with commercial and industrial units. Gradually the monument became
neglected and as bits of the original Coade Stone figures atop the pillar which
had been repaired with concrete around 1900 began to deteriorate, pieces fell off
and the authorities decided to carry out further repairs during the 1980’s using
fibre glass. Although this had halted the decline of Britannia and her
companions the appearance was not good and also the pillar itself was in poor
condition.
My talk will describe with the help of images taken during the restoration work,
how the Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust took over the legal responsibility and
arranged funding through various bodies that enabled a team of specialists to be
brought together under the watchful eye of the Trust’s Technical Adviser to
begin works only 12 months before the deadline; October 21st 2005, which is
Trafalgar Day and marks two hundred years since the famous battle.

2

That’s me standing next to Britannia on a cold winter day at the beginning of
2005.

The main job that had to be carried out urgently was the replacement of
hundreds of iron clamps inserted into the main structure to bind the stones
together. Over time they had rusted badly and many of the stones had fractured.
3So each piece had to be cut out, the rusting clamps removed and new stone put
back. Also all the narrow mortar joints in between the stones had been blown
out by the wind and rain and had to be replaced with lime mortar. A thankless
task but very important to the future wellbeing of the structure. All this to be
done throughout the winter weather alongside the North Sea!
This maritime climate had also caused a lot of erosion to the monument itself
and some of the details and the inscriptions had almost been lost. Some were
almost illegible so some individual letters were recut and the stone cleaned
using laser technology, so as not to damage the stone any further.
4
The beach sands had gradually, over 200 years, filled up the area around the
monument and rain water was also failing to get away from the plinth of the
monument owing to blocked drains! By removing the build-up of sand, we
uncovered the culprit and were able to get things functioning again
satisfactorily.

Restoring the original ground level was marked with “tide lines” to illustrate the
change in levels.

5

Tide lines showing levels in 1817, 1905, and 2005

Finally new cast iron railings based on earlier photos were erected around the
perimeter.

6

Railings installed in 2005

With new turf laid and flags flying from the top of the monument, we were
ready for the official opening and rededication on 15 August 2005, a few weeks
before another Trafalgar Day arrived.
7
The next day saw rain pouring down upon us, but it didn’t hold up the
celebrations!
8

Michael will be presenting his talk ‘Restoration of the Nelson Monument in Great Yarmouth’ at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery on Tuesday 22nd August 2017 between 12.30pm and 1.00pm. No booking is required, and the talk is included with the cost of admission to the Castle Museum.