We were very excited this week to be invited to the Bloggers Brunch event at Norwich Castle for a guided tour of the new "Nelson and Norfolk" exhibition.
This exhibit brings together historical artefacts from Nelson's and his famous battles, some being brought together for the first time on over 100 years. And what better place to display them to the public than Norwich, the capital city of Nelson's birth place.
Nelson holds a special place in the heart of Norfolk and is remembered still for his inspirational leadership, his unconventional tactics and strategic moves, making him a distinguished Admiral.
Norwich Castle sits proudly upon Castle Meadow, a momentous building which overlooks the city.
In addition to the regular admission fees, Norwich Castle offer a "Special Exhibit only " ticket which is slightly cheaper.
Castle Ticket (inc Special Exhibitions and Regimental Collections)
Concession (over 65s, students, visitors with disabilities): £8.70
Child (age 4-18 yrs): £7.30
Family (2 adults + all children): £31.10
Family (1 adult + all children): £23.30
Twilight Ticket (1 hour before closing): £2
*Park and Ride/Go 4Less/District Leisure Cards: £6.90
Museums Pass holders, Friends of Norwich Museums and under 4s free.
Visitors with disabilities may bring in one companion for free.
Admission to the shop, cafe and Rotunda information desk is free.
Access to the Battlements and Dungeons are by guided tours only, see the Tours page for additional charges.
Special Exhibitions Only Ticket Price
Concession (over 65s): £5.70
Child (age 4-18): £4.80
For opening times please visit the Norwich Castle website.
We arrived at the castle shortly after it opened at 10am and there was a small queue waiting to go in. Once we entered we met with our guide in the Rotunda and a short time later we commenced our tour.
As we entered the special exhibit room we were faced by a partition wall, a momentary "veil" before we saw the immense Ensign of the Le Genereux! Captured in 1800 in one of Nelson's successful battles, The Battle of the Malta Convoy.
This display is so vast that I couldn't fit the entire thing into a photo so you'll just have to visit and see it for yourself!
Through from here there was further display rooms, inter-joined.
As you entered you found yourself stood in front of Nelson's portrait. A stunning picture in a grand gold frame.
In the portrait you will see a Spanish sword to the left and Nelsons infamous hat to his right. The real life objects are displayed on the relative sides.
Adjectent to this is Nelson's jacket. Amazingly still stained around the neck from his sweat and hair grease!
Nelson presented this jacket to Mrs Anne Seymour Damer in Naples. A sculpture for whom Nelson has done several sittings.
He told her that the jacket, which he had worn during the Battle of the Nile, had never been worn again and he hadn't allowed it to be brushed, the streaks of perspiration and hair dust still show the anxiety and stress he endured under battle.
Around the rest of the exhibit we learnt about his sheer tenacity during battles, imploring others "Are you doing your duty today?"
So much so was his influence that this quote was used over 100 years later when recruiting during the 1st World War.
The girls were interested in hearing how Nelson "lost his eye" infact he lost the sight in one of his eyes and later he lost his arm.
One of the most poignant pieces is the bullet that fatally wounded Nelson in 1805. After he died, Hardy, his ship's captain arranged to have the bullet mounted into a pendant. This was presented to the surgeon who had treated Nelson on his death bed, Beatty. He wore this until his own death in 1842, the pendant was then given to Queen Victoria.
Ironically Nelson was victorious in the battle which saw his death, The Battle of Trafalgar.
I hadn't realised how young Nelson was when he died, at just 47 years of age and yet proves to still be such a huge part of our history, both to England and our own local history.
The final part of the exhibition details Nelson's funeral. Upon arrival back in England, Nelson was laid in state and given a full honours funeral.
The drape which adorned his coffin can be viewed.
The exhibit contains so much information and artefacts that you would need to see it for yourself, allowing yourself a decent couple of hours in order to fully appreciate all that has been brought together.
The Nelson and Norfolk exhibit runs through until 1st October 2017, not to be missed.
As we left we visited the gift shop to view the Nelson range that they sell.
A well presented and reasonably price array was on offer, including many books and bottles of Nelson's Revenge, a bitter produced by one of the exhibits sponsors Woodford's Brewery. I many have bought a bottle of this to sample at home!
For more information then visit the Norfolk Museum Services website or find Norwich Castle on Facebook.
When we left the Castle, the queue was still building, I think this new special exhibit is certainly appealing to the public!