50th Anniversary - celebrating The Golden Hinde’s modern history

30th March 2023
50th Anniversary - celebrating The Golden Hinde’s modern history

A ship of two histories. The Golden Hinde is better known for its 16th century history and the 50th Anniversary of the ship’s launch gives us an opportunity to celebrate its modern history.

In 1974 The Golden Hinde set off on her maiden voyage to San Francisco to commemorate Francis Drake’s landing in the area, later the ship completed a circumnavigation of the world returning to the UK in 1980. 

 Although the ship was open to the public in San Francisco for 6 - 9 months, it was Director Roddy Coleman and Jilly Francis, who turned the ship into the museum it is today. 

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The Golden Hinde docked in Troon, Ayreshire

Jilly Francis recalls the moment The Golden Hinde became a part of her family’s life. 

The Golden Hinde has been part of our family for thirty-nine years. In early 1984 in the sitting room of some friends, Roddy asked me if I would be interested in relocating from Cambridge to Scotland to manage an educational sailing museum. Always on the look out for adventure and opportunity I disentangled myself from my academic marketing job, hired a van, piled all my belongings into it and headed up to Troon, Ayrshire. Roddy had seen the ship languishing in his marina and thought it a waste that a historically important wooden ship - even if a reconstruction - was not being enjoyed by anyone. The ship was hired from the American owners for the summer months and we started to plan the port visits. Including ports in Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Liverpool and even up the Manchester Ship Canal to landlocked Manchester. Libraries and tourist information centres were the main source of information. It was a time of landlines, public phone boxes and hand delivered letters. We learnt how to run the operation as we went.


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Roddy, Jilly and their two children - St. Augustine, Florida

That was just the beginning as by the end of the year the ship was British owned and sailing clockwise round Britain. So many tales to tell of how the ship has shaped all four of our lives. Six months pregnant with our first child sailing into San Francisco Bay under The Golden Gate Bridge dressed as Queen Elizabeth I, working in the ticket booth in Beaufort, South Carolina so pregnant with my second child that I could hardly fit. Visual memories of all four of us dressed in costume; one a small baby and another a toddler in St. Augustine, Florida, another time in Salford Quays, Manchester on Christmas Day a year later and looking the part sailing into Southampton Boat Show in 2003. Our lives have been intertwined with the ship for such a long time and continue to be so.

The ship was launched on 5th April 1973, come join our 50th celebration on Wednesday 5th April 2023 including sword fighting demonstrations and sea shanty singing. 

We have launched a fundraising campaign to raise funds for much needed extensive refit work, your donation and support helps to ensure that this historic ship will continue to educate and entertain visitors from London, the UK and across the world for decades to come.


*Photography and filming will be taking place aboard The Golden Hinde today as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations. By entering the ship, you consent to such media  being used in perpetuity by The Golden Hinde for educational, promotional and archival purposes.*

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