Castles Shipbreaking Company

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Figurehead from HMS Formidable

Any visitor to the museum will most likely remember the large, gold eagle in our lobby as it is eye-catching and right in the path of the entrance.  But close to the eagle are two other impressive figureheads, those from HMS Formidable and HMS Edinburgh.

These figureheads (and one carving) came from a place called Castles Shipbreaking Company in London (to learn about the history of the company go HERE).  This company was known for breaking up ships (as their name implies), but they also had a furniture business.  While many figureheads, and carvings, were taken off of the ships before they came to Castles, many others were left on the ships and taken off by Castles.   Read more

Way Back Wednesday

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Construction of figurehead gallery 1977

Construction of the Figurehead Gallery in 1977.  I particularly love the two dragons that guard the doorway.  One of them is currently on display in our A-Z exhibition.

Here we have a Sea Saturdays educational program from 1982.  Not sure if they’re learning about the whale or trying to piece him back together.  Now we have our Maritime Monday programs.   Read more

Way Back Wednesday

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Education program March 1983

One of the important functions of our museum is education.  We have many images showing the various programs we used to offer in the past and, thankfully, we’re still going strong on the education front with an amazing Education Department and program offering.  I’m not completely sure what’s going on in the above picture from 1983, but the kids sure do look cute in their boats and hats!

This was part of a figurehead program in 1983 where the kids learned how they were made.  They they had their outlines drawn on paper to show what they might look like as a figurehead.   Read more

Way Back Wednesday

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Drum & Bugle Corps performing in Harvey Field, Brayton-Perkins Post, 07-21-1957 (1)

These first two pictures show the Drum and Bugle Corp, Braxton-Perkins Post, performing in Harvey Field, July 21, 1957

Model demonstration on Lake Maury, June 3, 1979.  I’m not sure the last time we had models on the lake, but it wasn’t so long ago that we used to host model-making competitions.   Read more

Life Magazine

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Earlier this month I posted a picture of the cover of Life Magazine from 1955 showing our beautiful Lancaster Eagle.  Last weekend I just happened to be browsing in the Clifton Forge Antique Mall and saw stack upon stack of Life Magazine’s.  Sifting through them, I managed to find a copy of the one with our eagle.  Even though we already have one in our library, I went ahead and picked it up to put in our object file so anyone looking through the file for research will have quick access to it.

It’s really fun to see a colored shot from that time period as we mostly have black and white images.  I also enjoy trying to see if I can recognize the other pieces in the background.  The figurehead directly behind the eagle is Semiramis (ca 1894-1930) from the steam yacht Narada (ex. Semiramis).  The figurehead on the wall to the left is Merrie Monarch, attributed to the ship Merrie Monarch built in 1859 by J.H. Martin in St. Martins, New Brunswick.  Also to the left is a model of the Dollar Line representing two of their ships, President Hoover and President Coolidge, both of which began service in 1931.  It was the first model authorized to be built by our shipmodel builders in the early 30’s.  On the back wall of the gallery can partially be seen a half-model with a blue background.  This piece, ca 1939, is of the ship Great Britain and was built for showcase in the New York World’s Fair.  She is one of five half-models in our collection built for the New York World’s Fair.