The Golden Hinde Lands at The Albany

28th February 2024
The Golden Hinde Lands at The Albany

On 28th November 2023, The Golden Hinde took a trip to Deptford. No, we didn’t sail up the Thames (!) but rather we (the Community Engagement team) took the tube to deliver a special version of Drake’s Circumnavigation tour to the wonderful “Meet Me at the Albany” which, alongside Entelechy ArtEntelechy Art, brings together older people who feel isolated or lonely to work with artists to learn or rediscover creative skills and, most importantly, make friends.

The Golden Hinde is a reconstruction of a 16th century vessel which circumnavigated the globe under the captaincy of Sir Francis Drake between 1577-1580 and as an authentic replica (with steep stairs and low ceilings) we are somewhat limited as a fully accessible space. Over the last six months we have been working on adapting our tours so that they can be delivered off-site to groups who would not otherwise be able to visit us so that everyone can learn about The Golden Hinde and its incredible history. 

We were particularly excited to present our inaugural off-site tour in Deptford as this is a location of huge historical significance to our ship because Deptford is where the original Golden Hinde was moored in a dry dock after completing her circumnavigation in 1580. Elizabethans queued for hours and paid money to see the vessel that had sailed around the world, and in April 1581 Queen Elizabeth I visited The Golden Hinde and bade a French ambassador, Monsieur de Marchmont, to knight ‘low-born’ Drake onboard. This was a lovely local connection to discuss with the  “Meet Me at the Albany'' group.

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Our session started with Drake’s Circumnavigation story, using the fabric map which we use for our tours onboard The Golden Hinde. We charted the route that the original ship would have taken between 1577-1580, encouraging the group to sail a model version across the world taking in the crossing of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, searching for the Northwest Passage before reaching the Spice Islands, and finally crossing the Indian Ocean to reach Africa before returning back to England. We discussed some of the key moments during Sir Francis Drake’s journey such as the execution of Thomas Doughty and travelling through the Straits of Magellan, as well as the story of Maria - the only recorded woman aboard The Golden Hinde. 

We then headed into the second part of our session where the group handled replica objects that would have belonged to and been used by different members of the crew - these included gunners’ equipment such as round shot (cannon balls) and a linstock which would have been used for lighting the cannons.

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The group also enjoyed gory tales around the barber surgeon's equipment including a dental pelican for tooth removal and a clyster pipe for helping sailors with constipation - we will leave that one to your imagination!

Some of the most interesting objects to handle were the navigators’ equipment - the group investigated how to use a cross staff for working out latitude and really enjoyed figuring out how the traverse board was used for navigation, marking down speed and direction. 

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We loved being able to bring the history of The Golden Hinde and the day-to-day activities of the sailors to life. Although it was generally agreed that we didn’t fancy being 16th century sailors, we had a hugely informative and fun session - a massive thank you to everyone in the group and to “Meet Me at the Albany” for welcoming us so warmly!

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