In time for Trafalgar Day on 21 October the National Maritime Museum (NMM) displays a unique object which links the sporting success of London 2012 with the naval victory of 1805. The 6.5m tall model of Nelson’s Column which made up part of the Olympic show jumping course in Greenwich can now be seen in the Museum’s Neptune Court.
The NMM was the only museum to serve as a venue for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Queen’s House provided an exquisite backdrop to the equestrian arena, welcoming members of the Royal family as well as dignitaries from across the globe. Greenwich’s maritime connections and the history of the Royal Observatory were celebrated in the show jumping and cross country fences which included a crescent moon, references to GMT and the Meridian Line, semaphore flags and, of course the monument to one of Britain’s most celebrated Naval heroes.
Andrew Finding, Chief Executive of the British Equestrian Federation said “We are immensely proud of the achievements of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes throughout the Games of London 2102 and are delighted to dedicate part of one of the Olympic Games show jumps “Nelson’s Column” provided by our colleagues at British Showjumping, to the National Maritime Museum as a perpetual memory of an outstanding experience for us at Greenwich. In doing so we express our heartfelt thanks to the people of Greenwich and the National Maritime Museum for their tolerance and hospitality throughout London 2012. We are eternally grateful – thank you.”
The National Maritime Museum’s Director, Dr. Kevin Fewster, said “Summer 2012 was an incredibly exciting time to be in Greenwich and we are very pleased to be able to display this reminder of the creativity, goodwill and hard work that went in to making the Games such a triumph. For years to come this statue will remind the millions of visitors from Britain and around the world of the magnificent part Greenwich played in the London Olympics and reinforce the importance of Nelson in the British memory.”
The National Maritime Museum holds unparalleled collections relating to Admiral Lord Nelson including his coat from the Battle of Trafalgar, along with his blood stained breeches and a lock of his hair. A new permanent gallery, Nelson, Navy, Nation which explores the celebrated Admiral and the Navy he led is due to open at the Museum in October 2013.