Waterbodies & Maritime => Chatham Dockyard => Topic started by: kyn on February 04, 2014, 17:48:15

Title: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: kyn on February 04, 2014, 17:48:15
Action with C.-in-C., Nore, and C.S., Sheerness, in regard to the Figureheads held in establishments under their jurisdiction was taken in A.L. D.23287/57, dated 4th December, 1957, as a result of an enquiry from Civil Lord.

2.   Reply received from C.-in-C., Nore, has been inserted in D.23287/57 attached, but no reply has yet been received from C.S., Sheerness.

3.   Sheerness has been hastened verbally, and it is, therefore, proposed that the action referred to in M. Branch’s remarks, dated 18th March, 1958, should be deferred pending receipt of Yard reply.

4.   C.E.-in-C. has been added to the marking.

5.   IT is requested that D.23287/57 may be returned to this department at an early date for insertion of further replies from Yards and Administrative Authorities.

Director General, Dockyards and Maintenance
24 March, 1958.



Concur generally in the proposals contained in C. in C. Nore’s letter No. 659/701/9/1, dated 7th June, 1958, enclosed.

2.   D.7460 which contains the application from the Sheerness Urban District Council referred to in para. 2(a)(i) of C. in C’s letter, has been attached.

3.   A further letter from C. in C. Nore, No. 807/701/9/1, dated 8th July, 1958, forwarding a request received from the Naval Ordnance Inspecting Officer, Royal Ordnance Factory, Chorley, Lancs, for the allocation of a figurehead to the R.N. Proof Yard, Chorley, has been inserted.  It is suggested that this application could be satisfied by the re-allocation of the figurehead “Resistance”, ex Humber Division R.N.V.R., referred to in M.111/39/58, to Chorley.

4.   Details of the figureheads available at R.N. Barracks, Chatham are enclosed in D.23287/57 attached.

5.   Requests for sale of surplus figureheads to private individuals are contained in M.11/111/44/58 and D.14253/58, which have also been attached temporarily.  In view of the remarks contained in Deputy Controller’s note dated 12th March, 1958 enclosed, it would appear necessary to obtain a policy decision in regard to such sales.

Dockyard Division
For Director General, Dockyards & Maintenance
23 September, 1958



C. in C. Plymouth’s letter sated 27th October, 1958 has been inserted.

2.   Before a decision can be reached, it is requested that C. E. in C. will make arrangements for a survey of the figurehead CHESAPEAKE to be undertaken and to furnish an opinion as to whether it could be sufficiently refurbished to warrant further consideration being given to C. in C.’s proposal.

R. Petril
For Head of Military Branch,
3rd November, 1958.



The overall question of disposal of figureheads which will eventually become available in the Chatham area will be considered nearer the time when the establishments concerned close down in 1960/61.

2.   Consequent on the closing down last year of H.M. Gun Wharf, Chatham, however, the figureheads Basilisk and Unite are available for disposal now.  The Flag Officer, Admiralty Interview Boards, in the enclosed letter (Tab “A”) has put in a bid for Unite to be transferred to H.M.S. Sultan in order that it may be mounted outside the unimpressive entrance used by candidates attending the Admiralty Interview Boards.  This figurehead is at present in store at Chatham, no other bids have been received for it, and M. Branch would have no objection to Unite being transferred for the purpose proposed.

3.   It is accordingly proposed to inform the F.O.A.I.B. that his application is approved, and to instruct Chatham to arrange for the transportation of Unite to H.M.S. Sultan.

4.   Submitted for approval.  (DAS has no objection to the application for a figurehead from RNAD B**** being limited to DUNCAN only)

for Head of Military Branch II,
16th February, 1959.



With reference to paragraph 2 of Head of M.’s minute dated 3rd November, 1958, the Superintending Civil Engineer, Chatham has reported that the condition of the figurehead “Chesepeake” is as recorded in C. in C. Nore’s No. 659/701/9/1 dated 7th June, 1958 (hereon) and that whether it can be restored to a suitable condition for removal cannot be properly ascertained, nor can a reliable estimate be proposed, until work has been put in hand.

2.   A rough order of cost for the work which is expected to be required is Ł100 exclusive of P.I. or similar percentage charges.  This sun includes for cutting the figurehead off the plinth base, repairs and re-painting.

18th March, 1959.
Title: Re: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: kyn on February 05, 2014, 10:44:03
Following the decision to close down the Nore Command and to dispose of Sheerness Dockyard and various naval establishments within the Command, the question of the removal and redistribution of the figureheads which will thus become available has been examined.  (In this connection the First Sea Lord (Admiral Mountbatten) asked to be kept informed of any action proposed.)

2.   Although C. in C. Nore has undertaken to supply a complete list of figureheads which will eventually become available for disposal, it is understood that 44 figureheads are held in his command.  The enclosed Statement A shows the number at each establishment, the future of the establishments, and the resulting number of figureheads likely to be available for disposal between 1960 and 1963.  Statement B gives detailed particulars of the figureheads, etc.

3.   C. in C. Nore has suggested that the figureheads should remain where they are – but he agrees that this may not be practicable if the establishments are to be disposed of to commercial interests.  The Deputy Secretary (P) has also indicated that, in his opinion, some of the figureheads should go to the National Maritime Museum in indefinite loan.

4.   The move of these relics will, in all probability, attract interest and criticism from the local areas, mainly on sentimental grounds.  However, since there can be no guarantee that the new owners of the properties will either keep or maintain the figureheads appropriately, MII would suggest that it would be more sensible and less open to long-term criticism to offer some to the National Maritime Museum and to allocate the remainder to other naval establishments with a more permanent future and also, possibly, to some outside bodies with a strong interest or attachment to the Royal Navy.  This would ensure that the figureheads would be suitably preserved.

5.   The Dockyard at Chatham is now being retained by the Admiralty, so that the question of moving the 18 figureheads located there no longer arises.  A small portion of the R.N. Barracks is likely to be retained for accommodation purposes, and it has therefore been assumed that it may be considered desirable to leave for erection outside the block retained by the Navy, two of the 12 figureheads at present held at the barracks.

6.   Against the 18 – 19 figureheads which will actually be available for disposal as the various establishments close down, numerous requests have already been received from both naval and civilian sources.  These are shown in Statement C enclosed, and are placed in the order of priority which M.II considers appropriate.

7.   There are, however, the questions of (A) payment for the cost of removing, transporting and reinstalling these figureheads and (B) repayment by any outside bodies to whom figureheads are allocated.  The docket is therefore referred to G.F.II in the first place to advise on these questions.

For head of Military Branch II
12 August, 1959.
Title: Re: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: kyn on February 05, 2014, 17:59:48
The delay in dealing with this paper is regretted.

2.   Looking at this from a (naturally) biased financial viewpoint, G.F.II would expect the genuine offers to purchase to have precedence over all other applicants with the exception of Naval Establishments (not Admiralty Establishments such as R.N.A.D’s, etc.) and the National Maritime Museum whose requirements, if approved, should be satisfied first.  These figureheads which are in good or reasonable condition could fetch a fairly high sum and no reason is seen why we should not seek to obtain the best possible prices if there are people ready to pay them.  It would be safe to assume that we have cornered the market in these old wooden curios, and enquiries from private applicants indicate that there is a demand for them; some well-placed publicity might, therefore, be profitable.  (G.F.II would imagine that Mr. Hawley Lester Smith II of Brazil, who has offered to buy two, might be prepared to pay a good sum.)

3.   If it is proposed to give figureheads to the National Maritime Museum, and local Councils, this would be within Board discretion.  Gifts to other bodies including the Dover Harbour Board, and private individuals would require Treasury approval.  Any packing or transport costs would normally be recoverable (except in the case of museums when providing these services were effected by Government personnel and by Government vehicles no charge need be made).  All outside applicants would, of course, be responsible for installing the figureheads on their ultimate sites.

4.   Expenditure from Navy Votes on renovation, removal from site, transport, etc., of figureheads for Naval Establishments, would be subject to the provisions of O.M. 82/59, if unprogrammed.

J.G. Somerville
For head of General Finance Branch II.
28 September, 1959.
Title: Re: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: kyn on February 10, 2014, 17:06:02
I agree that we should not seek to sell any of these figureheads.  Nor would I disagree with the proposal to include the Dover Harbour Board and the Society of Merchant Venturers among the legatees.

2.   The biggest question, I think, is how we treat the museums.  The case for gifts to museums presumably rests on the antiquarian and historical value of the figureheads.  From that point of view I should have thought the right course was to concentrate them in the museum providing the most appropriate setting – i.e. the N.M.M.  I cannot see that figureheads are relevant to the functional purpose of the Science Museum, though they would doubtless form an embellishment of its galleries or grounds.  I would accordingly suggest that we offer the N.M.M. virtually first choice of six in good condition, plus any of the shaky ones that it would like to have.  (I have verified that the N.M.M. would like the opportunity to consider those in poor shape).

3.   The Board may wish to note the proposal that Chesapeake’s reputed figurehead should be restored and returned to America as a graceful gesture.  Personally I doubt whether this is a worth while idea.  The authenticity is apparently not established and in general, people (with the possible exception of the British) do not like to be reminded of their defeats.

4.   I am by no means convinced of the wisdom of handing over any figureheads to the local authorities in Sheppey.  It is, however, gratifying that they should wish in this way to commemorate the Island’s naval connection and to frustrate that wish would probably lose us much goodwill.

5.   My only other question is to wonder whether it would be quite fair to D.A.S. not to allocate even one of these figureheads to his Department, seeing that some will have come from the Gunwharf.

6.   In short, my proposals are as follows:-

(1)   Sheppey Local Authorities - 3 from Sheerness as proposed by C. in C.

(2)   N.M.M. – choice if any other 6 in good condition, plus any of those in bad condition which the Trustees were prepared to repair at their expense.

(3)   Otherwise as in M.II’s paragraph 8, except for the following amendments –

D.A.S.   1 – for allocation to an A.S. establishment at his discretion, and in consequence
F.O.S.T.   1 – for base.

7.   It would, I think, be as well to point out tactfully to all the recipients other than the museum the importance of careful maintenance.

8.   The gifts to the Dover Harbour Board and the Society of Merchant Venturers will be subject to Treasury sanction and I draw attention to X/ of paragraph 3 of G.F. II’s report of 28.9.1959.

9th February, 1960.



I have discussed this further with Dep. Sec.(G) and we are agreed that for the present the figureheads within Chatham Barracks should not be re-allocated.

2.   It is approved:-

(i)   To offer the three good Sheerness Dockyard figureheads to the local civic authorities, subject to the condition that if at any time they are no longer required their further disposal should first be agreed with the Admiralty.

(ii)   That D.A.S. be given the choice of selecting two figureheads out of the four from his establishments, namely one at Gunwharf, one at Lodge Hill and two at Grain, for re-allocation to other A.S. establishments.

(iii)   That the N.M.M. be offered the choice of any three figureheads from the two remaining ex A.S. establishments, the four from R.N.H. and the two at Admiralty House (Forester and Rinaldo).  Also the three in poor condition remaining in Sheerness; these would have to be move d before the Dockyard is handed over p.m. on 31st March.

3.   The five figureheads then remaining will be re-allocated by me to other naval establishments.

18th February, 1960.
Title: Re: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: kyn on February 11, 2014, 10:31:35
Disposal of Figureheads

25th November, 1958

Be pleased to inform Their Lordships that an application has been received from the Dover Harbour Board to view the figureheads at Sheerness with a view to offering to purchase one of them.

2.   Before granting this request, it is requested that Their Lordships’ policy on civil applications of this kind may be made known as, if granted, it may be expected that others will follow.  Two other civil applications have already been received, one from a retired Surgeon Rear Admiral for one figurehead from the R.N. Hospital, Chatham, and the other being that given in reference (b) to the above reference.

3.   It is considered here that the number of figureheads in Naval possession is not so great that any reduction, except perhaps to museums, should be envisaged.  Furthermore it is certain that several Naval applications will in due course be received from the figureheads becoming available from Sheerness and from Chatham Barracks.

4.   Their Lordships’ views are requested.

Vice Admiral.



Letter from The Pinto Collection of Wooden Bygones.

15th April, 1959.

Sir,

We thank you for your letter of April 14th, and note that the disposal of figureheads is being held over until 1960/61.  We are grateful to you for saying that you will keep our enquiry in mind.

Undoubtedly, this would be a very fitting resting-place for some of the figureheads, because this collection is recognised by the Ministry of Education as having considerable value, and during each session, it is visited by many thousands of schoolchildren in organised parties.

Yours faithfully,
Edward and Eva Pinto.



Admiral Superintendents Office
H.M. Dockyard
Chatham

1st October, 1959

Dear Mr. Scott Freeman,

I was very interested to get your letter of the 29th September and to be in touch with someone who has been interested for so long in a club of such standing as the Upper Thames Sailing Club.

You will appreciate my feelings if I start this letter with a flat contradiction.  Chatham Dockyard has served the Crown for 412 years and is not, and may I repeat the word “not”, going to close down; in fact, I have every hopes that the Dockyard will continue in the service of the Crown for another 412 years, or maybe longer.

From this it follows that you will get no figureheads from Chatham Dockyard.

I think you are confusing the Dockyard with the Royal Naval Barracks at Chatham which are to close down in March 1961, a date when, regrettably, the Commander-in-Chief will also haul down his flag after some 270 years.  These combined will probably make available for disposal some figureheads, but the Admiralty have made it clear that no figureheads are to be disposed of without their authority.

I suggest therefore that you write to the Secretary of the Admiralty and get in your application now, so that it may be considered with all the applications.

I agree with you that it would be very nice to have these figureheads preserved in places where they are appreciated and I am sure the Admiralty will be interested in your application.

With kindest regards, and may I seek your held in dispelling the idea that chatham Dockyard is going to close?  Far too many people make that mistake and I am at pains to get their ideas straight.

Yours sincerely,
J. Y. Thompson.



17 March, 1960

Sir,

Disposal of Figureheads

Further to Admiralty Letter MII/111/35/58 dated 14th April, 1959, I am commanded by Mt Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to inform you that, in the event, only a very small number of figureheads ex-establishments in the Chatham area become available for disposal.  These have been re-allocated to other Royal Navy establishments and Museums, and My Lords regret that there are now none available for sale to the general public.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,

W. N. Hanna



18th March, 1960

Dear Sir,

re: Disposal of Figureheads

Thank you for your courtesy in writing to us regarding the above.

The only point that we would make is that this Collection is, in fact, a museum open to the public (we are members of the Museums Association), and it is a museum which is recognised by the Ministry of Education as having considerable educational value.  It is much visited by schools, and out of the nearly 11,000 visitors who came last year, approximately half were children.  If, therefore, you have a figurehead available for a museum, we hope you will offer it to us as we are not making the application as members of the general public.

Yours Truly,
Edward and Eva Pinto



17 March, 1960

Sir,

Disposal of Figureheads

Further to Sir Maurice Adams’ letter to you dated 25th March, 1959, I am commanded by My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to inform you that, in the event, only a very small number of figureheads ex-establishments in the Chatham area become available for disposal.  These have been re-allocated to other Royal Naval establishments and museums, and My Lords regret that They are unable to offer one to the Dover Harbour Board for erection on the Prince of Wales Pier.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,

W. N. Hanna.



The letter above was also sent to the Royal Yacht Club in Tasmania, Hobart.


Title: Re: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: kyn on February 11, 2014, 10:43:57
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_1687.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_1687.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: kyn on March 14, 2014, 19:19:07
The secretary of The Admiralty,
Whitehall,
London,
S.W.1.

Sir,

I enclose a copy of a letter which I wrote to Admiral Thompson which is self-explanatory, together with a copy of his reply.

May I now formally ask that my name on behalf of the Upper Thames Sailing Club may be placed on the waiting list of applicants.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,

H. Scott Freeman



21 October

Sir,

Figureheads ex R.N. Barracks, Chatham.

With reference to your letter dated 7th October, 1959, I am commanded by My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to inform you that from the enquiries already received, it would appear that the demand is likely to exceed the supply, but your request will be borne in mind when finally deciding the re-allocation of the figureheads.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,

W.N. Hanna



26.10.59.

Sir,

Figureheads ex R.N. Barracks, Chatham.

I thank you for your letter of the 21st instant, and hope that I may hear further in due course that, apart from the Club, the Thames Conservancy would be a deserving case.

Some years ago, the Admiralty were good enough to sell to me a Ships Bell which has ever since been in daily use here.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,

H. Scott Freeman



The Beck,
Wateringbury,
Kent.

6th November, 1959.

My Dear Lang,

The first:   It has been suggested to me that sometime next year, when I have finished my job as High Sheriff, and have more free time, I should take up my pen, and write a memoir of Sir Dudley Pound.  This rather appeals to me, as I feel there has been a spate of memoirs etc. recently written by people who all seem to have been solely responsible for winning the war!, and very few people, I am afraid, ever give a thought to the man who held the fort, as far as the Navy was concerned, through the most critical period of the war, when we so nearly came to grief.

Before I can consider doing this, can you tell me whether I would be able to get permission to have access to the secret papers dealing with the activities up to the time of Dudley Pound’s death?  I suppose I saw most of them during my time as V.C.N.S.  I think it would be essential for me to be able to see these if I was to undertake the job at all.  I would of course, ask George Pound’s permission before I finally decide to go ahead.

Secondly:   Can you tell me whether by any chance, it would be possible for me, as a former Commander-in-Chief of the Nore, to acquire one of the smaller figureheads which I suppose, will be scattered around when Chatham finally closes down?  The one I particularly would like, would be the Lady who used to look across at the front door of Admiralty House when I was there, but who seems to have been moved to new pastures green since then, as I found an unfamiliar figure head there the other day, when I dined with the Commander-in-Chief.

All good wishes,

Yours ever,

Harry Moore.
Title: Re: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: kyn on April 30, 2014, 20:19:17
12th November, 1959

Dear Sir,

I understand that various naval establishments, e.g. Sheerness Dockyard and the R.N. Barracks, Chatham, will be closing in the next year or so.  I have a very dreary little back yard which faces north, and would very much like to get hold of a figurehead or two to cheer it up, and I am wondering whether there are any steps I should take to help me acquire them, if there are to be any for disposal as the establishments close.  If so, would you be kind enough to tell me what I should do.  Is there some waiting list or some way of making a formal application?

Yours sincerely,

Mrs Gertrude Hardie
Secretary of the Admiralty,
Military Branch II,
Admiralty,
S.W.1.

P.S.  Perhaps there are some for disposal now?



Madam,

Disposal of Figureheads

I am commanded by My Lords Commissioners of the admiralty to refer to your letter dated 12th November, 1959, and to inform you that the question of the disposal of figureheads which might become available in the Chatham area has been under consideration recently.  From enquiries already received, however, it is apparent that the demand will be far in excess of the supply, but your application will be borne in mind when the final allocation of figureheads is decided.

I am, Madam,
Your obedient Servant,

W.N. Hanna



Statement ‘C’

Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads.
List of Naval Applicants.

Flag Officer Sea Training (1 for official residence, and 1 for base).

H.M.S. Excellent
R.N.A.S. Yeovilton
R.N.B. Devonport
R.N.A.S. Arbroath
H.M.S. Thunderer, R.N. Engineering College, Manadon
H.M.S. Cambridge
H.M.S. Fisgard
R.N. Spare Parts distribution centre (U.K.)
R.N.P.F. Caerwent
R.N.A.D. Bull Point
S.N.O. Northern Ireland
R.N. Store Depot, Almondbank
R.N.A.D. Broughton Moor

Requests also received from:-

R.N.A.D. Ernesettle
R.N.A.D. Dean Hill
R.N.A.D. Marchwood
R.N.A.D. Corradino (Malta)
R.N.A.D. Benghaisa (Malta)
R.N.T.D. Kalagrama (Malta)
R.N.A.D. Beith
R.N.A.D. Ditton Priors
R.N.M.D. Wrabness
R.N. Proof Yard, R.O. Factory, Chorley



List of Civilian Applicants

National Maritime Museum (2)
Dover Harbour Board
Sheerness Urban District Council
Society of Merchant Venturers

Requests also received from:-

Queenborough Rural District Council
Sheppey Rural District Council
Wellesley Nautical School
Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania
Surgeon Rear Admiral Mussen
Pinto Collection of Wooden Bygones
DG Kno*** Land, L*tin Chambers
Hawley Lester Smith II, Brazil
Upper Thames Sailing Club
Adm. Sir Henry Moore
Mrs. G. Hardie
Science Museum, S. Kensington
Title: Re: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: kyn on May 01, 2014, 10:13:37
29 February, 1960

Commander-in-Chief, The Nore
Copy to:  Captain-in-Charge, H.M. Dockyard, Sheerness

Disposal of Figureheads

Further to Admiralty letter MIII/35/58 dated 31st December, 1959, I am to acquaint you that Their Lordships have approved the re-allocation of figureheads ex establishments in the Sheerness and Chatham areas as follows:-

(i)   To offer the three good Sheerness Dockyard figureheads (Scylla, Forte and Ocean) to the local civic authorities, subject to the condition that if at any time they are no longer required further disposal should first be agreed with the Admiralty;

(ii)   That the Director of Armament Supply be given the choice of selecting two figureheads out of the four from his establishments, namely one at the Gunwharf (Basilisk), one at Lodge Hill (Briton) and two at Grain (Rattlesnake and Scylla), for re-allocation to other Armament Supply establishments;

(iii)   That the National Maritime Museum be offered the choice of any three figureheads from the two remaining ex Armament Supply establishments, the four from R.N. Hospital (Daphne, Isis, Octavia, Scout), and the two at Admiralty House (Forester and Rinaldo).  Also the Museum may be offered the three in poor condition remaining in Sheerness (Goliath, Poitiers and Chesapeake).

The five figureheads then remaining will be re-allocated by Fourth sea Lord personally to other naval establishments at a later date.

2.   With regards to (i) above, packing and transport costs would normally be recoverable.  If the Sheerness civic authorities use their own transport and personnel for these services, it is possible that handling charges, e.g. crainage and labour, may be incurred, in which case these would be recoverable from the local councils.

3.   The Director of Armament Supply has been informed as in (ii) above, and a copy of a letter to the National Maritime Museum is attached for information.

By command of Their Lordships,
T. Cullen.



14th March, 1960.

Sir,

Disposal of Figureheads

With reference to your letter of the 29th February, I have now consulted with the Museum experts with regard to the figureheads which Their Lordships have been kind enough to offer to the National Maritime Museum; and I am not able to inform you that the three which we would like among those offered in the first list, would be those of the Daphne, ex R.N. Hospital, Chatham, and the Forester and Rinaldo, ex Admiralty House, Chatham.

As these three would be our first choices in any event, we need not wait until the Director of Armament Supply has chosen two from the four offered to him before communicating our decision to Their Lordships.

With reference to your paragraph 2. I am informed that examination by our experts of the three figureheads in Sheerness Dockyard, namely the Goliath, Poitiers and Chesapeake, shows that these are very heavily embedded in, and repaired with concrete, to such an extent that it would not be feasible in our opinion, to remove them from their present position without them disintegrating.  In these circumstances, we feel that it would be better not to attempt to disturb them, but to leave them where they are, and to hope that those who take over sheerness will treat them with the case and respect which they deserve, and to keep them preserved as long as possible.

My Trustees further note with appreciation and gratitude that packing and transport services will be undertaken from R.N. sources, and that no charge will be made to the Museum.

In conclusion, I am directed by my Trustees to request that you would please be kind enough to convey to Their Lordships an expression of their very grateful appreciation and thanks.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,

Frank carr



Deputy Secretary (G)

Disposal of Figureheads

Reference your note of 18th February, 1960.

2.   Now that the Sheppey local authorities, D.A.S. and the National Maritime Museum have had their pick I propose, subject to your agreement, that the five remaining figureheads be re-allocated as follows:-

Isis – R.N.A.S. Arbroath.
Octavia – R.N.A.S. Yeovilton.
Scout – H.M.S. Cambridge.
Basilisk – F.O.S.T. for Base.
Rattlesnake – H.M.S. Thunderer.

4th April, 1960.



22nd June, 1960.

The Secretary of the Admiralty.

Disposal of Figureheads

Be pleased to inform Their Lordships that a check of the figureheads available for disposal when the Nore Command closes shows that there is an additional one which should be added to the list in the reference.

2.   This is the figurehead North star which stands at the Southern Gate to R.N. Barracks, Chatham.  This fate will be permanently closed when the Barracks ceases to function as such in March 1961, and this part of the property disposed of.  It is not requires for reallocation to any other part of H.M.S. Pembroke.

3.   It is requested, therefore, that disposal instructions may be given for North Star.  For ease of reference, a description of this figurehead is as follows:-

Dimensions :- Height – 6’ 6”; length – 3’ 6” overall.
Condition :- Good
Condition of decoration :- Fair.  Paint work peeling badly in patches.
Colours :- Hair: Black, Mantle and sash: Blue and gold.

F. H. Thomas



Head of Military Branch

Reference your note of 4th July, 1960, the Fourth Sea Lord would like this figurehead to be allocated to the Spare Parts Distribution Centre, Eaglescliffe.


Title: Re: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: kyn on May 01, 2014, 17:03:07
13th July, 1960.

The Secretary of the Admiralty.

Items of Naval Interest for H.M.S. Dauntless

Reference:
(a)   Admiralty Letter of 25th April, 1960.
(b)   Nore of 22nd June, 1960.
(c)   Nore of 31st May, 1960.

Be pleased to inform Their Lordships that a recent visit to H.M.S. Dauntless revealed the fact that this establishment is very lacking in items of Naval interest.

2.   I therefore intend, when the Nore Command Closes, to re-allocate the following items to H.M.S. Dauntless:

The figurehead Rinaldo – Admiralty House, Chatham
Two Brass Ornamental Cannon – South Entrance, R.N. Barracks, Chatham.  (Gate to Maritime Headquarters.)

3.   It is requested that reference (b) may be cancelled as it is intended to allocate North Star to the National Maritime Museum in place of Rinaldo, and that the Director of the National Maritime Museum may be informed of this changed allocation.  Rinaldo is considered to be the more suitable figurehead to allocate to a W.R.N.S. Training Establishment.

4.   The Admiral Superintendent, Chatham is requested to arrange delivery of these items to H.M.S. Dauntless in early March, 1961.

Robin Du*ford-Slater
Admiral



Office of the Fourth Sea Lord,
Admiralty,
London, S.W.1.

Head of Military Branch II

Ships’ Figureheads

Fourth Sea Lord has seen your loose minute of 26th July, 1960 and Commander-in-Chief, The Nore’s submission of 13th July, 1960.

2.   He is not prepared to support the Commander-in-Chief’s intended re-allocation of the figurehead Rinaldo to H.M.S. Dauntless.  This is one of the figureheads selected by the National Maritime Museum when they were offered their choice of three of those becoming available for disposal and this allocation is not to be disturbed.

3.   Although Fourth sea Lord has already allocated the figurehead North Star to the S.P.D.C., Eaglescliffe as a result of Commander-in-Chief, The Nore’s earlier submission, he would have no objection to the further re-allocation of this figurehead to H.M.S. Dauntless if the Commander-in-Chief, The Nore so wished.

4.   The Commander-in-Chief, The Nore should be informed accordingly and his wishes regarding the possible re-allocation of North Star to H.M.S. Dauntless should be sought.

Secretary to Fourth Sea Lord
27th July, 1960.




Title: Re: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: kyn on May 02, 2014, 10:19:44
5th September, 1960.

Dear Mr. Wake,

You will remember that about 3 weeks ago, I discussed with you on the telephone the question of allocating the figurehead North Star to the National Maritime Museum in place of Rinaldo, as it was Admiral Durnford-Slater’s personal wish that, provided you had no objection the latter should go to H.M.S. Dauntless.

On receipt of your agreement that the Museum would be more than happy to meet the Admiral’s wishes, I got in touch with the Admiralty, explained why it was desired to make this switch and asked them if they would be kind enough to approve the change.

I understood at the time that this would be done, but I have now been informed that the Admiralty is not prepared to do so unless they have confirmation in writing that the National Maritime Museum is willing to accept North Star in place of Rinaldo.

I do apologise for giving you this extra work but would you be very kind and let me have a short note to this effect.

Yours sincerely,

B.S. Mallory



9th September, 1960.

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your letter of 5th September.

The question of the substitution of the North Star figurehead for that of the Rinaldo has been discussed by our Chairman of Trustees and Director, and I am authorised to inform you that the Museum has no objection to this change in the allocation of the figureheads, being effected.

I hope this information will now be sufficient for the necessary switch to be made.

Yours sincerely,

A. H. Waite,
Deputy Curator of Models and Relics.


13th September, 1960.

Allocation of Figurehead to H.M.S. Dauntless

References:-
(a)   Nore of 13th July, 1960.
(b)   Admiralty of 8th August, 1960.


Be pleased to submit that Their Lordships decision in paragraph 1 of reference (b) may be reconsidered.

2.   I have personally inspected both figureheads and there is no doubt in my mind that North Star is not a suitable figurehead to allocate to a W.R.N.S. Training Establishment.

3.   The Chairman and Director of the National Maritime Museum, as confirmed in thee enclosure, are willing to accept North Star in place of Rinaldo and under these circumstances it would be appreciated if the change proposed in paragraph 3 of reference (a) may be approved.

Robin Durnford-Slater
Admiral



23rd September, 1960

Allocation of figurehead to H.M.S. Dauntless

References:-
(a)   Nore of 13th July, 1960.
(b)   Admiralty of 8th August, 1960.
(c)   Nore dated 13th September, 1960.

I am to inform you that the re-allocation of the figurehead Rinaldo to H.M.S. Dauntless, as proposed in paragraph 3 of reference (a) is now agreed.

2.   The Director, National Maritime Museum is being informed of the change.

BY COMMAND OF THEIR LORDSHIPS

Title: Re: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: bromptonboy on May 02, 2014, 13:58:03
I have followed this Figureheads subject with great interest. Just a couple of notes that might help. The 'Southern Gate', which was to be permanently closed when the barracks closed, was the one that opened onto Medway Road, Gillingham. The figurehead of Rinaldo is now located at the Plymouth Naval Base Museum.
Title: Re: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: kyn on May 02, 2014, 14:00:58
Thank you.  I am glad someone is enjoying it!
Title: Re: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: bromptonboy on May 02, 2014, 14:33:48
An addition for you! There are two Chatham made figureheads gathering dust in the NMM stores at Kidbrooke, namely those of HMS Bulldog of 1845 and HMS Forester of 1832. I can't fathom that if they are hidden away in storage why they cannot be loaned back to Chatham for public display!!
Also there is a 1938 publication by the name of "Figureheads in Dockyard, Royal Naval Barracks and Royal Naval Hospital, Chatham". I have never seen it but would assume the NMM has a copy.
Title: Re: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: bromptonboy on May 02, 2014, 14:37:30
I am on a roll today! A Sheerness figurehead update for you with text quoted from the NMM website.
Search Results for: "Sheerness"
Brig
Kidbrooke Stores, National Maritime Museum.
Black-and-white painted and part-gilded figurehead in the form of a half-length bust of King Edward VII, in naval uniform with epaulettes, emerging from a foliate scroll head. It comes from a model brig built by Edward VII in 1904 for his grandchildren and sailed on Virginia Water. It was based on a 42-foot naval cutter, reconstructed and rigged as a 10-gun brig at Sheerness Dockyard. On completion it was towed up the Thames as far as Brentford then loaded onto road transport for the short journey to Virginia Water, where it was actively used by the royal children for 13 years. In 1919 it was condemned and broken up, the figurehead and stern nameboard (FHD0065.2) being saved.
Title: Re: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: kyn on May 06, 2014, 16:51:58
Deputy Secretary (P)

It has been confirmed, after consultation with Secretary to Flag Officer Medway, that all the figureheads which became available as a result of the closure of the Nore Command have been re-allocated and disposed of in accordance with Admiralty instructions.

2.   With regard to figurehead “Chesapeake,” it is considered that its condition is such that any attempt to remove it from its present position would be likely to result in its disintegration.  Chesapeake, together with Poitiers and Goliath, were offered to Messrs. Buildings Development, Ltd., on condition that the figureheads were left in situ as long as possible and that Admiralty approval would be sought to their removal.

3.   According to the latest information in this Branch, however, there are approximately 26 figureheads situated at H.M.S. Pembroke and in Chatham Dockyard – list attached.  It is thought that out of this selection one of suitable size and in good condition could be found, which Flag Officer, Medway would be please to make available for the First Lord.

4.   It is suggested that, as a start, the First Lord should indicate on the list any figurehead in which he is interested, and that the D.G.N.W. should then be asked to advise on size and condition.  Installation would have to be carried out by the Ministry of Works.

18th May, 1961.



Thank you for your letter of 27th June asking whether there is a suitable figurehead at Chatham for the corridor outside the First Lord’s room.  Unfortunately the re-allocation of all the figureheads that became available as a result of the closure of the Nore Command has already been effected in accordance with the directions given on 25th April, 1960.

I am unable to propose the transfer of any of the figureheads in the Admiral’s Walk, H.M. Dockyard or in H.M.S. Pembroke which have been in place for very many years and are regarded with considerable affection locally.  However I am sure that you did not have this in mind.  From the records held here, it appears that either Daphne or North Star both of which were allocated to the National Maritime Museum might have been suitable, and you may care to write to *** and ask if he is prepared to give one of them back.



The Face Will Haunt No More
Reynolds News Reporter.

The face haunted 84-year-old Mrs. Henrietta Woolley and her husband.  For two years its staring eyes have looked directly into their sitting-room.  Even at night the swarthy, bearded face can be seen silhouetted against the street lamps.  They have asked Sheppey Rural Council, Kent, to remove the “man with the staring eyes”.

What is the face that stands in the forecourt of the Council offices opposite the couple’s bungalow at Minster, Sheppey?  A ship’s figurehead.  It was given to the Council by the Navy two years ago, when the Sheerness Dockyard closed down. 

The Council agrees with Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Wooley that “it is not a very enjoyable thing to look at”.  So it’s going to be put it into storage until “a new home is found for it”.



Military Branch II.

P.S. to Secretary,

I have discussed the press report about the figurehead of Forte with the Clerk of the Sheppey Rural District Council and there is no doubt as to its authenticity.

The figurehead has been removed from its position outside the Council’s offices and has been temporarily placed in storage.  Its future is to be discussed at the next council meeting and, should the Council be unable to find a suitable position to re-site the figurehead owing to its size (including the plinth approx.. 7 ft high), Admiralty instructions regarding disposal will be sought, in accordance with the conditions governing the presentation of this item to the Sheppey R.D.C.

It is understood that the figurehead is in very good condition and there should be no difficulty in placing it in a suitable home.

The First Lord is particularly desirous of have a figurehead installed in the Admiralty, and no doubt this requirement may be borne in mind when, and if, the question of Forte’s disposal arises.

R.N. Petrie
For Head of Military Branch II.
12th July, 1961.
Title: Re: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: kyn on May 07, 2014, 12:38:57
Military Branch II.

Deputy Secretary, (P),

In view of the general tone of Mr. Frank Carr’s letters, M. Branch is of the opinion that the National Maritime Museum would be most reluctant to release one of the three figureheads which it has acquired.

Attached is a copy of this Branch’s note to P.S. to Secretary about the figurehead of Forte.  This figurehead might well be proving an embarrassment to the Sheppey Rural Council and we may be invited to have it back.  Assuming this materialises, possibly this figurehead might meet the First Lord’s requirement.

Alternatively, should it be found unsuitable for installation in the Admiralty owing to its size, it may be possible to exchange it for one in the National Maritime Museum.

*. Petrie
For Head of Military Branch II.
14th July, 1961.



Deputy Secretary (P),
Admiralty,
S.W.1.

17th July, 1961.

Dear

Figureheads

The figurehead of Forte, which was given to the Sheppey R.D.C., has been removed by them and put in store because it haunted 84-year old Mrs Woolley and her husband.

Would you be able to get an unofficial contact to the R.D.C. to intimate that we would welcome it back?

It might not do for First Lord’s lobby, but it would surely be possible to find a better use for it, (perhaps as a swop) than lying in a local authority’s store.

Yours

F.N.N. Synnott



Director of Stores

As you know, the First Lord has for some time been looking round for various ways to embellish that part of the corridor just outside his office.  We are finding a few pictures, but there is a special problem for an alcove just opposite where there used to hand an old Nigerian tusk which has now gone to the British Museum.  At his request, I have been looking into the possibility of getting a ship’s figurehead, but it appears that none is available. As an alternative, it occurred to me that a suitable decorative trophy to put there might be one of the old carved royal coats of arms, such as in fact you have yourself got in your own lobby just above.  I saw one lying about at Chatham the other day, but it was too big.

2.   Do you have any of these or do you know where you could put your hands on them, e.g., in some of the old trophy stores?
Alternatively, is there a suitable one anywhere which might be copied?  I expect that Vote 12 would pay the cost if one has to be specially made.  Not more than 5 ft. load, or 4 ft. high or less.

14th July, 1961.



Deputy Secretary (P)

In reply to your enquiry dated 14th July, 1961, concerning a decorative trophy to put in the First Lord’s corridor, we have nothing of this sort in Naval Store custody, but, as you suggest, there may be something suitable in the R.N. Trophy Stores administered by the R.N. Barracks at Portsmouth and Plymouth.  M. Branch II deals with enquiries in respect of these trophies and I have passed a copy of your enquiry, and also of this note to the Head of M.II for section.

F.C. Wilkins
Director of Stores
26th July, 1961
Title: Re: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: kyn on May 07, 2014, 15:45:12
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Title: Re: Disposal of Ships’ Figureheads in the Chatham Area
Post by: kyn on May 07, 2014, 18:27:03
From:   Lieutenant Commander M.W. Morris, Royal Navy.

Office of the Flag Officer, Medway,
H.M.Dockyard,
Chatham.

27th July, 1971.

Dear Sir,

The Flag Officer, Medway has directed me to write to you in connection with the recent press reports concerning the figurehead Forte.  If, when it considers the future of the figurehead, the Rural District Council should decide that it would prefer to return Forte to the Admiralty, arrangements can easily be made for this to be effected locally.

The admiral does not, of course, wish to suggest that Forte should be returned if the Council has other plans in mind, but he thought that you might care to know, that, if the Council itself put forward the suggestion, no difficulty or inconvenience would be caused to the Admiralty.

Yours faithfully,

M.W. Morris



Sheppey Rural District Council.

Council Offices,
Minster,
Sheppey, ent.

3rd August, 1961.

Dear Sir,

Ship’s Figurehead Forte.

Your letter of 27th July was submitted to the Council at its meeting yesterday in connection with a recommendation coming before the Council to the effect that the figurehead be returned to the Admiralty.

Apart from various other letters the Council has received from persons interested in the purchase of this ship’s figurehead, including antique dealers, a letter was also submitted to the Council from the Sheerness Harbour Company Limited indicating that their company would welcome the opportunity of acquiring it, having already several figureheads presented to them by the Admiralty when the Company acquired Sheerness Dockyard which, together with other items of historic interest, the Company state they are forming into a collection with a view to the establishment of a harbour museum.

In view of the foregoing, the Council amended the Committee’s recommendation to return the figurehead to the Admiralty to the effect that the Harbour Company be invited to negotiate direct with the Admiralty with a view to Forte passing into their possession.

In the circumstances, perhaps you will let me have the views of the Admiralty on this before I communicate with the Harbour Company.



Fourth Sea Lord
Admiralty, London, S.W.1.

Head of Military Branch II

Approved to re-allocate the figurehead Forte to the Sheerness Harbour Company Ltd.