Figurehead of the HMS Frederick William

Basic Information

Figurehead type
Figurehead of the HMS Frederick William
Vessel name
HMS Frederick William
Type (Naval/Merchant)
Copyright owner
© National Maritime Museum
Copyright notes
Photo: © National Maritime Museum
Current location
On display in Neptune Court, NMM
Location date

Physical Information

Figurehead from HMS 'Frederick William', representing HRH Prince Frederick William III of Prussia (1770-1840). Shows a dark haired man with long sideburns and thick moustache, in naval uniform with a sash across his chest.
Date made
Place made
274.3 x 160 x 111.8 cms
Wood: Pine
Object history
Made by Hellyer for the sum of £54. Figurehead moved from 'Worcester II' in 1945 and installed in 'Worcester III' in 1946 at Greenhithe. Then removed by Cory of Charlton in November 1976 and presented by the Department of Trade to the NMM in January 1977.
Vessel history
It comes from HMS 'Frederick William', a 110-gun screw auxiliary first-rate, launched at Portsmouth Dockyard in 1860 after 27 years on the stocks. She had been started in 1833 as the 'Royal Sovereign', then renamed 'Royal Frederick' and finally 'Frederick William', and by the time she was completed she was already obsolete. In October 1876 she was renamed 'Worcester' and from 1877 to 1939 was lent by the Navy to act as the second of the boys' nautical training ships of that name in the Thames, off Greenhithe. From 1939 to 1945 the 'Worcester' Thames Nautical Training College (as it became) went ashore to Footscray Place for the duration of World War II, during which the 'ex-Frederick William' was again used by the Navy and officially handed back to it in 1945. She was now in poor condition and in July 1948 the the Navy sold her for breaking up but transferred the figurehead to the third 'Worcester' . This was the former London training ship 'Exmouth' - a specially built steel vessel of 1904, but looking much like her predecessor - which the college took over at the end of the war: it also had parallel use of the 'Cutty Sark' from 1938 to 1953. 'Frederick William' was moved to moorings at Grays, Essex, where in August 1948 she sank and was only raised and broken up in 1953.
David Pulvertaft 'Figureheads Of The Royal Navy'(Seaforth, 2011) p.16 and p.215

Ownership Information

Owner type
Public Institution
Owner name
National Maritime Museum
Contact details
Royal Museums Greenwich, London SE10 9NF
Ownership can be cited online
Accessible to public
Data verified by owner
Date verified

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