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Interpreting HMS Trincomalee’s figurehead


HMS Trincomalee, built in 1817, is the oldest wooden vessel afloat in the world and is moored at the National Museum of the Royal Navy’s Hartlepool site. When the ship was restored in the 1990s, its figurehead was found to be suffering from rot and was replaced by a replica. The original, carved in 1845 in preparation for the ship’s first commission, was ‘rediscovered’ in a storeroom in 2016. It was fully restored during 2020 and is now on display as the new centrepiece of the HMS Trincomalee gallery.

Creative Good was appointed to light and interpret the restored figurehead. We designed and built new displays including graphics, an audio-visual presentation and a simple physical interactive, all of which have been styled to sit comfortably within the existing design language of the gallery. Installation was particularly challenging, with new lighting and decorations having to be installed above a staircase whilst working around the restored (and protected!) figurehead. To address the resulting risks, we developed a bespoke working platform that was manufactured in modules off site, thereby enabling safe and shortened installation and removal operations.

Further details of the project can be found on the National Museum of the Royal Navy’s website:

https://www.nmrn.org.uk/news-events/nmrn-blog/150-years-service-hms-trincomalees-figurehead

https://www.nmrn.org.uk/news-events/nmrn-blog/restoring-hms-trincomalees-1845-figurehead