Last Voyage of The Gloucester exhibition to launch at Norwich Castle Museum

Published by  News archive

On 14th Dec 2022

Julian and Lincoln Barnwell measuring an underwater cannon.
Maritine Archeology Trust, Norfolk Historic Shipwrecks Ltd.

Artefacts from a 17th century royal shipwreck will be unveiled for the first time in an immersive exhibition exploring its last voyage and the historical mysteries raised by its discovery off the coast of Norfolk. 

Featuring research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the latest technological innovations, The Last Voyage of The Gloucester: Norfolk’s Royal Shipwreck, 1682, opens February 25, 2023 at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery. 
 
The Gloucester sank in the North Sea off the coast of Norfolk in 1682 while carrying the future King of England and Scotland, James Stuart.  
 
After lying on the seabed for 325 years, the ship was discovered in 2007 by Norfolk brothers Julian and Lincoln Barnwell and their friend James Little.  
 
Due to the age and prestige of the ship, the condition of the wreck and the accident’s political context, the discovery has been described as the most important British maritime discovery since the Mary Rose. 


 
Now for the first time the public will be able to explore the story of the ship’s fateful final voyage and the painstaking work to retrieve, conserve and research some of its artefacts, in an expansive exhibition co-curated by Norfolk Museums Service and UEA. 
 
The exhibition will be presented in two parts: the first section will delve into the history of the Gloucester and the events of the wreck, painting a picture of what life was like onboard before disaster struck and exploring what led to the tragedy. 
 
Section two will tell of the ‘second life’ of the Gloucester as a wreck site and research subject, including the story of its discovery by the Barnwell brothers and James Little, the conservation of the objects discovered so far, and the ongoing research to expand our understanding of this important period of British history.  
 
Key objects include the Gloucester’s bell – the discovery of which in 2012 confirmed the identity of the wreck – alongside personal possessions of the passengers and crew that serve as poignant reminders of a disaster that cost hundreds of lives. 
 
Visitors will view wine bottles encrusted with barnacles, the ship’s navigation tools, and personal items including a pair of spectacles along with their wooden case, combs and clay pipes, all of which have survived centuries on the seabed. Together they illuminate the wide range of social classes and professions of those onboard the ship. 
 
Digital elements include a film exploring the discovery of the wreck, a 3D diver’s eye tour of the wreck site and a specially commissioned animation examining the circumstances of the sinking of the ship. 
 
Alongside objects from the wreck, prestigious museums in Britain and Europe are loaning key paintings, documents and objects associated with the maritime, political, cultural and social history of the period to set the wider context for the Gloucester’s story. The objects rescued from the Gloucester wreck site appear in this exhibition with the permission of the Ministry of Defence and Norfolk Historic Shipwrecks. 
 
Curators of the exhibition Ruth Battersby Tooke and Dr Francesca Vanke, of the Norfolk Museums Service, and Prof Claire Jowitt and Dr Benjamin Redding, of UEA,  said: “We are delighted to share the extraordinary history of the wreck of the Gloucester and the artefacts that movingly speak of the tragic events of 6th May 1682.  
 
“Artefacts rescued from the seabed are displayed for the first time, revealing some of the secrets that this important historic ship has to offer and providing unique insights into the lives and experiences of those onboard. 
 
“It has been a privilege to work with Julian and Lincoln Barnwell and James Little to tell their remarkable story of the wreck’s discovery in 2007.” 
 
Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, Cabinet Member for Communities, Norfolk County Council said: “Norfolk is home not only to the most remarkable heritage, but also the expertise needed to research this heritage and display it for the public to experience and enjoy.  
 
“The partnership between Norfolk Museums Service, the University of East Anglia and Julian and Lincoln Barnwell is a testament to this culture of innovation and excellence. We are incredibly excited to be mounting this exhibition in Norwich and very grateful for the fantastic support from our business community which is helping us to achieve our ambitions.” 
 
The Last Voyage of The Gloucester: Norfolk’s Royal Shipwreck, 1682, has been created by Norfolk Museums Service and UEA in partnership with Norfolk Historic Shipwrecks and The National Museum of the Royal Navy. It is sponsored by Adnams plc, Alan Boswell Group and Birketts LLP and is part of the wider historical research project led by UEA’s Prof Jowitt and funded by the Leverhulme Trust. 
 
The Last Voyage of the Gloucester: Norfolk’s Royal Shipwreck, 1682, runs from Saturday 25 February - Sunday 10 September 2023, at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Norwich, NR1 3JU. Tickets to the exhibition are free with museum admission (See admission prices). It is expected this exhibition will be very popular so it is recommended to book tickets in advance.

Latest News

 
Hanya Yanagihara. She is wearing a black top and necklaces.
02 Feb 2023

Global literary icon Hanya Yanagihara set to make rare UK appearance at UEA Live

Hanya Yanagihara, author of the million-copy bestseller A Little Life, will be welcomed to the UEA campus in March to discuss her latest novel success – To...

Read more >
 
The RRS Sir David Attenborough in the Arctic.
01 Feb 2023

RRS Sir David Attenborough begins polar science trials in Antarctica

Researchers from the University of East Anglia have joined the UK’s new polar ship RRS Sir David Attenborough as it begins its polar science trials in Antarctica...

Read more >
 
A forest fire in the Amazon rainforest.
27 Jan 2023

Human activity has degraded more than a third of remaining Amazon rainforest

The Amazon rainforest has been degraded by a much greater extent than scientists previously believed, according to a new study.

Read more >
 
A child learning to write the alphabet.
27 Jan 2023

Poor literacy linked to worse mental health worldwide, study shows

Read more >
Are you searching for something?
 
A child learning to write the alphabet.
27 Jan 2023

Poor literacy linked to worse mental health worldwide, study shows

Read more >
 
A Vitamin D tablet being held up to the sun.
26 Jan 2023

80-year-old medical mystery that caused baby deaths solved

Researchers at the University of East Anglia have solved an 80-year-old medical mystery that causes kidney damage in children and can be fatal in babies.

Read more >
 
A loudspeaker at a protest.
23 Jan 2023

There may be more power in the hand of the worker than previously thought

Employers who disproportionately punish striking workers may be acting unlawfully, according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

Read more >
 
Two bottles of hormones held in a gloved hand.
14 Jan 2023

HRT could ward off Alzheimer’s among at-risk women

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) could help prevent Alzheimer’s Dementia among women at risk of developing the disease – according to University of East Anglia...

Read more >
 
Photo of Heidi Crisp
01 Jan 2023

HSC apprentice shortlisted for finalist in prestigious awards

Occupational therapist apprentice, Heidi Crisp has been shortlisted as one of three finalist  for Apprentice of the Year in the Norfolk Apprenticeship Awards. 

Read more >
 
Andy Cammidge
24 Jan 2023

New research grant will investigate novel organic materials

Prof Andy Cammidge (CHE) and colleagues have been awarded £800k from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to investigate the synthesis of new...

Read more >
 
James Bevan presenting at UEA. He is wearing glasses, a black jacket and grey trousers.
24 Jan 2023

UEA praised for 'outstanding' work on climate research

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, praised UEA’s outstanding work on climate research and highlighted the need to focus on climate...

Read more >