In the delicate context we all live in now, let’s imagine we were pirates proceeding to sea, braving the danger and dreaming about a better world and new unknown territories… There is one place in London, where I recently brought my family to learn about Sir Francis Drake’s tumultuous life as a captain on his famous galleon. And we embarked on a marvelous journey…
Today, DOYOUSPEAKLONDON invits you to discover The Golden Hinde in Bankside, London.
The Golden Hinde’s story
The full-size reconstruction of the first English ship to sail around the world, The Golden Hinde, has been moored in Bankside in London since 1996, where she is now open to the public.
At the start, The Golden Hind was an English galleon best known for her privateering circumnavigation of the globe between 1577 and 1580, captained by Sir Francis Drake.
She was originally known as Pelican, but was renamed by Drake mid-voyage in 1578, to honour his patron, Sir Christopher Hatton, whose symbol was a golden ‘hind’ (a female red deer).
Captain Sir Francis Drake
Known as an illustrious privateer, Sir Francis Drake was partly sponsored by Queen Elizabeth I “as the leader of an expedition intended to pass around South America through the Strait of Magellan and to explore the coast that lay beyond”.
On 26 September 1580, Francis Drake sailed his ship into Plymouth Harbour with 56 of the original crew of 80 left aboard.
The ship was unloaded at Saltash Castle nearby, and the treasure offloading was supervised by the Queen’s guards.
The whole treasure included six tons of cloves from the Spice Islands, at the time worth their weight in gold.
Over half of the benefits went to the Queen and country and were used to reimburse the annual debt. Queen Elizabeth I herself went aboard Golden Hind, which was then permanently at Deptford on the Thames Estuary, where she wanted it to be placed on permanent display as the first “museum ship”.
The ship remained in Deptford from 1580 to around 1650 (45 years after Queen Elizabeth had died), before it eventually rotted away and was broken up.
In 1668, the keeper of the stores at Deptford had the best remaining timber of Golden Hind made into a chair, which was presented to the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, where it still remains.
The London replica of The Golden Hinde was built by traditional methods in Appledore, Devon and launched in 1973. Since then, and until 1996, she has travelled more than 140,000 miles (225,000 km). It is now a lively and very interesting museum to visit …
The Golden Hinde Tours
Several tours are organized all day long, without the need to book in advance.
The young dressed-up staff are all very involved and know the history of The Golden Hinde inside out.
You will explore each part of the ship and learn a lot about life conditions onboard.
Especially the bad part: when you need to ask a surgeon to deal with rotten teeth or even limbs to amputate with rudimentary tools…!
The visit was absolutely fantastic and we (3 generations gathered for the occasion) had a great time at The Golden Hinde!
With low entrance fees and its close proximity to London Bridge tube station, there is no excuse for not exploring this famous ship. Both kids and adults will be delighted!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found inspiration here. If you are planning to visit The Golden Hinde (as soon as the contingency measures are not required anymore and life has gone back to normal), please share your experience and opinion on DOYOUSPEAKLONDON’s blog!
To go further:
The Golden Hinde: St Mary Overie Dock, Cathedral Street, London, SE1 9DE