Lewisham Shopping Centre’s pop-up maritime museum

Note it’s CLOSED on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

This was a delightful thing to discover as I was leaving Lewisham Shopping Centre yesterday. Some genius (it turns out to be @museumsailor and colleagues) at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich has come up with the brilliant idea to have a pop-up maritime museum in a vacant shop lot among the regular high street shops. I liked it a lot. It’s near what I think of as the main entrance to the Centre, near the Clock Tower (if you’re looking at the entrance TK Maxx is on the left hand side), apparently it’s been there since February.

There was a glass cabinet with decorated (shark’s teeth, feathers) Tahitian neckwear used to show off one’s higher status, and some stiff fabric made of woven grasses for the less exalted community-members. Also a Polynesian navigational aid with shells representing islands, and sticks representing the layout, directions and prevailing winds etc. Having no sense of direction I’d need a “You are here” shell or bead that would follow me around as I travelled among the Polynesian islands.

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Glass cabinet (picture above) with some wax stuff that I didn’t investigate (on upper shelf) and (on lower shelf) there’s the fancy neck decoration roughly in the middle of the shelf (the thing with the rows of black feathers with white shark teeth) and on the right (with the white parcel label on top) there’s a woven fabric. I think most of the items on display were modern recreations rather than originals as we were encouraged to handle them.

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Close-up (above) of a recreation of a Polynesian nav-aid which sailors would use to navigate the seas around their islands. I’m trying to imagine the smartphone version.

There was also a sextant, I didn’t get a chance to play with it, maybe next time. I don’t know how it works beyond you point it at stuff and use a book of astronomical stuff to work out where you are, in relation to the angle you’re at to various planets or stars. When I went on a cruise a couple of years ago I wanted to take one with me but thought better of it when I saw the book of tables I’d have to understand before I set off.

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Here’s a handy video (below) showing how to use a home-made one. I’ve watched it so now I do know how a sextant works!

I felt the wonderful Tall Ships Festival in Greenwich and Woolwich needed more science talks about navigation (and lots of other topics), and I’d probably enjoy an evening class in that.

Shortly before the festival I wrote this post (on my main blog) about what I might put in an Imaginary Maritime Science Festival that might take place at the same time as the next Tall Ships festival.

The pop-up museum is open until 9 July 2017 and runs from Thur-Sun (Thur-Sat: 10-5, Sun: 11-4pm).


They’re looking for volunteers to help, and are having a recruitment session on 24 May (Wednesday) at 11am. Contact lyates@rmg.co.uk for more info.

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There’s something interesting going on at the Queen’s House in Greenwich, to do with the use of plants. Checking the QH website, or searching the title (‘Unearthing season at Queen’s House’) on Google didn’t bring up anything though. Since found it, but too late.

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Below are messages created from lollipop sticks, I’m not sure what the round things with feathers are.

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Visitors were also invited to suggest what explorers to Lewisham would take back with them. Lewisham has a very big fruit and veg market… this suggestion featured a few times.

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Bunting, boats and bodging – #TallShips festival at Greenwich, September 2014

The Tall Ships Festival at Greenwich, North Greenwich and Woolwich is ending tomorrow but it has kept me entertained for the last few days while sailing home to Greenwich and Woolwich. I spent Sunday afternoon (7 September 2014) with some friends and their kids in Greenwich and we had a lovely day.

See the full gallery at Maritime Merriment on Flickr. They’re creative commons licensed so help yourself but please credit to Jodiepedia.

Skeins of dyed wool and some bunting

Lovely ships, some in sail, some not. Just to the left of the red-hulled ship is one of the Thames Clippers ferries heading towards Greenwich Pier.

Pole lathe turning aka bodging

Greenwich Regatta
Different angle on the lathe

Painted tent-top. Made me think of mediaeval knights and jousting though they didn’t have that at the festival. I’m guessing boats and horses don’t mix, for a variety of reasons.

Childe Roland to the dark tower came… (link isn’t to the Robert Browning poem but the fairy tale I knew from reading Rosemary Manning’s Green Smoke as a child, with a dragon who’d probably have liked the tent top above).

This impressed me. Someone has had the brilliant idea of setting up a walled pool of water and two large fans to give it a bit of wind. It was permanently surrounded by excited kids (we only saw one fall in) launching these little seemingly-unsinkable boats. The walls were flexible so people were pulling and pushing on them to create waves. It was fantastic!

We also popped in to the beautiful Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College. It’s full of tables (it’s a working dining hall) on which sit lots of these lovely candlesticks.