The National Maritime Museum Tour is a great intensive on all things British and naval. The Museum itself is all about the past 500 years of British naval power and traditions.
Due to the philanthropy of Sammy Ofer, the Museum has been improved and expanded, in time for the London Olympics of 2012. These improvements include the very smart Museum cafe, where we pause half way through our tour for refreshments. Today the Museum has over 2 million artifacts and is the largest museum of its type in the world.
Our tour includes Turner’s wonderful painting of the Battle of Trafalgar, which he completed in the 1820’s. The king at the time, who had the painting commissioned, was apparently not impressed with Turner’s realism depicting some of the horror of war. We also are able to experience the Nelson, Navy and National gallery with its paintings, weapons and exhibitions – including the jacket Nelson was wearing the day of his death during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. He had been shot by a sniper and died hours later.
In addition, we visit the Atlantic Slave Trade gallery depicting the sad history of the slave trade. For Britain, the slave trade finally ended in 1833 with the compensation of some 42,000 slave owners in Britain. The total paid out came to some £17 Billion pounds in today’s money. We also get to experience the Trade Winds gallery
which tells the story of the rise of the East India Company from its royal charter to its finally becoming immensely powerful, wealthy and corrupt. The gallery includes the infamous Opium Wars and is beautifully displayed.