This is a reproduction of a port at the time of the Battle of Trafalgar (1805). The centrepiece is HMS Trincomalee, a Royal Naval frigate and Britain's oldest floating warship. After being ordered on 30 October 1812, Trincomalee was built in Bombay, India by the Wadia family of shipwrights in teak, due to oak shortages in Britain as a result of shipbuilding drives for the Napoleonic Wars. The ship was named Trincomalee after the 1782 Battle of Trincomalee off the Ceylon (Sri Lanka) port of that name. With a construction cost of £23,000, Trincomalee was launched on 12 October 1817. Soon after completion she was sailed to Portsmouth Dockyard where she arrived on 30 April 1819. During the maiden voyage the ship arrived at Saint Helena on 24 January 1819 where she stayed for 6 days, leaving with an additional passenger, a surgeon who had attended Napoleon at Longwood House on the island, Mr John Stokoe. After being fitted out at a further cost of £2,400, Trincomalee was placed in reserve until 1845, when she was re-armed with fewer guns giving greater firepower, had her stern reshaped and was reclassified as a sixth-rate spar-decked corvette. Trincomalee departed from Portsmouth in 1847 and remained in service for ten years, serving on the North American and West Indies station. During her time, she was to help quell riots in Haiti and stop a threatened invasion of Cuba, and serve on anti-slavery patrol. In 1849, she was despatched to Newfoundland and Labrador before being recalled to Britain in 1850. In 1852 she sailed to join the Pacific Squadron on the west coast of America.
There is also the 'Historic Quayside', set in the time of Lord Nelson. A naval seaport was a hive of activity. Businesses prospered and flourished supplying the huge demand from the Royal Navy and merchant ships. Everything from candles to canvases, swords to sailcloth. The quayside recaptures the atmosphere of such a seaport, boasting an interesting range of period shops and buildings in authentic architectural styles. You'll discover a Chandler, Gunsmith, Swordsmith, Naval Tailor, Architect, Printer and even the impressive Admiral's House. Don't miss the displays at the rear of each building for more insights into life during that era. The entire quayside is there for you to enjoy. For added authenticity your visit is enhanced by the quayside guides, who are always in full period costume. Displays of musketry, cannon firing and sword fighting are regular events.
A more unusual ship is the P.S.S. Wingfield Castle. The P.S.S. Wingfield Castle was built in 1934 for the LNER as a River Humber paddle steamer. She operated the Humber ferry with her sisters PS Tattershall Castle and PS Lincoln Castle from 1934 until 1974 when the new Humber Bridge was opened. Built at the Hartlepool yards of William Gray & Company, the keel of the Wingfield Castle was laid down on 27th June 1934. Work progressed quickly on the first two sister ships, and they were both ready for launching by the afternoon of 24th September 1934, the ceremony for the Wingfield Castle being duly carried out by the Lady Mayoress of Hull, Mrs Shepherd. Powered by a triple expansion, diagonal stroke, reciprocating steam engine Wingfield Castle could maintain a steady operating speed of 12 knots. She has an overall length of 209ft (63.3m), a beam (including paddle box's) of 56ft (17m) and a gross tonnage of 550 tonnes. Predominately carrying foot passengers the Wingfield Castle had provision on her main deck aft to carry a small number of cars, and pens for livestock. She carried much livestock during her service largely without incident however, on one occasion a cow did fall down the companionway into the crews' quarters, proving a little difficult to remove. On another occasion a frightened cow fell overboard in mid river, but calmly turned around and swam back to the shore. In their early years the two sisters, and the P.S.S. Killingholme, worked the Hull to New Holland ferry crossing route, as well as providing a Sunday excursion schedule from Hull, comprising evening cruises to Read's Island and daytime trips to Grimsby. On the outbreak of the Second World War the P.S.S. Killingholme was used to tether barrage balloons and the two sisters were used to ferry troops and supplies along the Humber to wherever they were required.
Part of this complex is the Museum of Hartlepool. From prehistoric axes to nineteenth century toys, Anglo-Saxon jewellery to Georgian silver, as well as the odd 'mystery object', there are wonderful artefacts to intrigue and delight you. Other exhibits include the first gas illuminated lighthouse, a 'sea monster' or merman, a real coble boat to climb upon and 'Peat Seaton', the oldest resident of Hartlepool. You can also find out about the famous Monkey Legend, and why Hartlepudlians are often referred to as a Monkey hanger. There is a temporary exhibition area in the museum which displays local, regional and national exhibitions. You can also have a go at being an archaeologist or a monastic scribe, dress up in a medieval gown or a Victorian jacket. Access around the quayside is good for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Several toilets including disabled. Baby-changing facilities. Wheelchairs available. Disabled parking. New adult changing room available for radar key holders (located in the car park in the old toilet block). Lift access to Fighting Ships and on-board HMS Trincomalee. Automatic doors. Access ramps to ships.
Location : Jackson Dock, Maritime Avenue, Hartlepool TS24 0XZ
Transport: Hartlepool (National Rail) 9 minutes. Bus routes Sapphire 24, 3, 4, 7, 36 and 65 stop outside.
Opening Times: Daily 10:00 to 17:00.
Tickets: Adults £9.25. Concessions/Children £7.00. Accept Tesco Vouchers.
Entry to the Museum of Hartlepool and PSS Wingfield Castle is free.
Tel: 01429 860077