History nerds

Kate, a friend from uni, came to visit me this weekend. We had a nice weekend, mainly just chilling and wandering around. We also hung out at the pub and tried a new restaurant called Koop & Kraft. We also decided to go down to Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard and look around HMS Victory.

I did this once when I was about 7 with my family and had just never really been back since. It’s always been known for being super expensive and honestly nothing has changed. I was actually a little bit disappointed by what we got for our money. It was fun to walk around the Victory but I remember a tour or at least guides that would explain things to you about the ship as you walked around. There were also sound effects played to make the story of the Battle of Trafalgar come to life. We walked around the ship on our own, there weren’t any guides and very few volunteers dotted around the ship. We saw people with audio guides but we didn’t see these being advertised or any where to get them from, I didn’t even know they did them until we got on the ship.

The ship itself is obviously extremely interesting, seeing the restoration and imagining how life was. It’s honestly just amazing that something as big as that could be built in the 1700s and still be intact today, especially considering that once it was taken out of active service, that it was left in the sea until 1922! It was also so much fun to be inside the ship, looking out of the back windows of what would have been the Admiral’s cabin or office and seeing HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth docks. Seeing the current pride and joy of the Royal Navy, through the windows of an old favourite, secured in history thanks to the part is played in the Battle of Trafalgar. (To see this photo, head to my personal instagram @cl_elliie!! You can head there from the drop down menu in the corner too. )

Help is needed

I think the dockyard is becoming a little out of date. They’re obviously struggling to get money together to modernise the attractions they have and each attraction is separate so you have to pay for each part unless you buy a full ticket which online is £31 and on the day, £39. It does last all year but realistically, I won’t be going down every weekend for something to do so I can’t justify £40 for one day. I was also really looking forward to going to The Mary Rose Museum that was built a few years ago now, it’s the most modern part of the Historic Dockyard but apparently, it’s not even owned by them so you have to pay another £20 to go inside there!!

The website was really unhelpful as well. I was struggling to find the majority of the information that I needed online, nothing was explained and so we decided it would just be easier to go down to the dockyard and ask them there and then decide on the tickets once we arrived. I just think that somewhere like the Royal Naval Historic Dockyard that should be sort of the crowning jewel of Portsmouth should be better represented through its website and also on your visit. The marketing for the place seems great, you see it advertised every where and they have an offer on that kids between 5-15 go free with every adult ticket purchased and that’s all great but also you’ve got provide something top notch for a £40 adult ticket, right?

I just kind of felt like the whole thing was a rip off and I was a little bit disappointed.


For my dissertation I looked at museum development and how they were working hard to stay relevant. So I always find these kinds of things interesting. I think the dockyard have a lot of work to do, and I understand that funding would obviously be an issue, but I can’t help but feel like it’s the kind of place that SHOULD be thriving and honestly it just seemed a little bit dead. I asked the boy who was selling us our tickets if one of the boat houses still had the creepy mannequins in and he just looked at me with a grimace and said yes, so I knew immediately that wasn’t worth it! Honestly, it needs a lovely, large donations and a bit of TLC.

So, I have decided to volunteer. I have emailed the dockyard and offered to volunteer on a Saturday when Josh is at work because I need to do something on this day rather than just sitting around. Also, it was even hard to find out how I had to let the Dockyard know that I was interested in volunteering, the website wasn’t clear and I just thought it’s a good job I am interested because I’m getting really bored of these website difficulties! If I can volunteer and work there, maybe I can help some how, maybe it would even open up other opportunities to me because I am enjoying marketing but I would honestly love to be able to do something with my History degree! Museum studies and how History is accessed it just so interesting to me and I’d love to be able to at least stay in touch with this through volunteering, even if it isn’t a full time job. I also decided to email The Mary Rose Museum about volunteering out of interest as to what the best option would be.

So now we wait.


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