IT’S funny what you can sometimes find, lurking in a darkened corner, caked in a layer of dust. Such was the case at Arlington Court when they discovered a model ship hiding at the back of a storeroom during conservation work.

After removing the layers of dust, it soon became evident that the ship was older than first thought, and its distinctive appearance meant it was quite easy to identify her as HMS Captain. “The story of HMS Captain is sad,” Giles Miller, senior conservation assistant for the National Trust at Arlington Court said.

“The ship was one of the first designed with two central gun turrets for firing on enemy ships and was iron-clad, meaning she sat low in the water. Tragically, the Captain was caught in a gale and the tilt of the boat allowed water to flood over the deck and capsize her. The surviving crew managed to get aboard a boat which had broken free and were rescued.”

The original ship on which the model is based was built for the Royal Navy in 1869, commissioned in April 1870 and sank in September the same year claiming the lives of 420 of the 500-man crew.

“Uncovering a find like the model of HMS Captain happens quite rarely and it’s especially unusual for there to be so much traceable history.” Dave Gibbons, house steward at Arlington, said. “Being able to establish the history of a piece from the collection is exciting, although we may never know why this model was commissioned and who added it to the Arlington collection.”

Visitors to Arlington Court in May might have seen the collection of 12 models of vessels based on those used at the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940 which were highlighted during the “focus on ships” week. Most of Arlington Court’s 70 model ships were cleaned and re-cased in 2013, but HMS Captain is one of the last few to be conserved.

“Keeping track of all 4,980 items we care for at Arlington is quite a challenge,” Dave continued. “Therefore, we’re currently working on a project to ensure all items are correctly entered in the inventory with accurate descriptions.”

HMS Captain, along with around 70 other model ships, is on display daily at Arlington Court, near Barnstaple. Normal admission charges apply.

Read more: http://www.northdevonjournal.co.uk/Model-boat-dating-100-years-rediscovered/story-22926742-detail/story.html#ixzz3GGdy7KNq
Follow us: @NDJournal on Twitter | NDJournal on Facebook
Read more at http://www.northdevonjournal.co.uk/Model-boat-dating-100-years-rediscovered/story-22926742-detail/story.html#5wgTZ41WGVFdcoso.99