Here’s a little bit of the Maritime Museum you’d miss if you blinked. Way out in the far north-eastern corner of the grounds, almost like an afterthought, lies the Anchor Graveyard.* I guess it’s the most sensible place for it – I mean it hardly matters if they get rained on, does it – and who’s going to pinch some old piece of rusting iron that weighs several tons?
Nevertheless, it’s a quaint – and important – part of of maritime history. Being able to sail along merrily is only half the problem – being able to stop is pretty important too. What I like about this quiet little corner is that even on the most crowded day, you’re more than likely going to have this exhibit to yourself A place where you can enter a world of crowns, arms, flukes, shanks, bills, stocks and “flush stowage…”
And it’s not at all bad, either, for a spot of dreaming of life on the High Seas (is there such a thing as low seas, BTW?) These anchors come from ships often long gone – and the little plaques by each one not only tells you which ships they’re from, but where they were found. There’s even one from 1805 – the year of Trafalgar; the year of Nelson’s death. Take a moment, good burghers of Greenwich, to think upon the jolly jack tars who wielded these iron monuments to Britain’s greatness, and, in many cases followed them down to the sea bed and Davey Jones’s Locker.
They’re by no means all the classic Yo-ho-ho, Captain Pugwash, anchor-shaped anchors either (that’s ‘Admiralty-Pattern,’ apparently, according to the label.) The oddest (and one, I confess, that I find it hard to romance about – I get strange, surreal images of some kind of combination of The Terminator, The Matrix and The Poseidon Adventure rather than Master and Commander ) is a strange orange hedgehog of a beast:
and another looks like some kind of hammerhead shark, but it’s all jolly interesting – and, I suspect, something not seen by 99% of visitors. There’s handy gate next to them. Next time you’re passing, nip in and take a peek…
*Not its real name, I’ll wager…