Other Relics and Artifacts
We welcome suggestions, submissions and links to relevant information, please contact us with details.
Army Museum, Halifax, Nova Scotia,
They have a photo and plaque commemorating Lt Col Bent VC DSO.
Bangor Pier, Bangor
The Conway Memorial Window nis in a seatring kiosk at the end of the pier. Several
benches donated by Conways line the pier. There used to be a small
Conway museum at the entrance to the pier but that has gone.
Birkenhead Priory and Conway Chapel, Birkenhead, Wirral, UK
ruins of Birkenhead Priory may be accessed at any time. However the
Conway Chapel, which is one of the two chapels at the Priory, may only
be accessed when the Warden is on site or by prior arrangement. The
Warden is there every day except Monday from 12 noon to 5
p.m.in summer and 1p.m.to 4 p.m in winter. To be absolutely
certain of access, visitors should telephone John Southwood (0151 342
5978) or Derek Parfect (0151 653 5665) who will be happy to
show visitors the Chapel which contains many items of Conway
memorabilia including the honours boards from the original Conway
Chapel at Plas Newyyd. There are also three magnificent stained glass
windows in the Chapel commemorating "Conway" and two recently deceased
Old Conways. For further details see the Friends of the Conway section.
Carnarfon Harbour Board Papers
are stored in the Gwynedd Archives. They include all the papers
relating to the ship and her disposal from the date of the wreck
onwards. (They were the Authority left with the liability for the
Caernarfon Maritime Museum, Caernarfon, UK
had a small but very interesting display including a panel from the
last ship, possibly the section that allowed a
light to shine through into the Magazine. It closed in 2015 and the
contents were transfered to Bangor Museum( part of Gwynedd Museums
Service). The intention was to includse the dispaly in the new, bigger
bangor Museum building. That has now opened but the Conway items are
not on display.
Click images to enlarge
Captain's Cabin Doors
Thurnham Hall, Near Lancaster http://www.thurnhamhall.co.uk/
This timeshare hotel claims to have the doors to the Captains Cabin. Photos below. Their research
indicated they were probably bought by the Hall's then owners from the
contractor who was dismantling the ship. They are a 'novelty' in the
hotel because of their height and shape - the bottom is obviously
slightly shaped to allow for the curve of the ship's deck, and are
used as a feature by sales staff to describe the resort's attractions!
They are very attractive with a lot of intricate carving, are well
looked after and in excellent condition. Our thanks to their resident
architect who contacted us with the information. Photos of the ship are on display near the doors.
2011 update: an OC has visted the hall and examined the
doors and it seems most unlikely that they were actually from the ship.
They are simply too tall to have fitted betwen the decks! Examination
of the detailed ship's plans produced for the 1953 refit do not show
any pair of doors in the Captain's cabin, apart from the doors onto his
stern walk which are entirely different in design and shape. Please email me if you can shed any light on this mystery.
original locks and plates, donated by Captain Hewitt's family are in
Birkenhead Town Hall Museum. The lock to the Captain's Veranda Door is
held by John Southwood - a gift from Captain Hewitt.
Click image to enlarge
'HMS Conway RUFC' was recorded on Ardath Tobacco Company's card no 73 1936.
Click image to enlarge
Coal Hole Donkey Winch
Spotted by a diver lying on the bottom of the Strait with the rest of the wreck
Conway House, Mount Kelly College
They hold a number of artifacts including a Conway sword and the brass ship's nameplate.
music is still available from the publisher (well he is an Old Conway)
by whose kind permission we reproduce the music. Notes words are by
Cecil Roberts, not John Masefield. Order from here
An Audio Tape of the Conway Song
played by the Band of H.M.Royal Marines and sung by the Liverpool Welsh
Male Voice Choir is available from 'Friends of HMS Conway' Price GBP5 +
GBP1 P&P UK GBP2 Overseas. Orders to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gwynedd Archives Service, Victoria Dock, Caernarfon, UK. (+44 (0) 1286) 679095
hold many photographs, records and artifacts. Well worth a visit.
Rather than wading through the normal index cards ask to see the
special booklet that lists all their Conway items. Most of the material
housed there is part of the Seiont Maritime Trust collection. The Trust
also runs the Caernavon Maritime Museum
Halifax Museum, Nova Scotia
Negative 14902 is a photo of HMS Nile in Halifax Harbour 1862.
Imperial War Museum, London
of George Cross, medals and other items belonging to Cdr Francis
Brooke-Smith GC, RD RNR (34-36). Awarded for dealing with an unexploded
bomb on the Manchester Ship Canal. Citation in London Gazette 27 June
HMS Nile„s log book for the years 1860 to 1864 is held by the National Archives of Canada, Reference : MG24, F49
Log Book (kept by Cadet David Norris)
This cadet kept a log book for the years 1891-93. It is held by the Royal Naval Museum Reference : 1984/294(1)
Merseyside Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool, UK
of the Ship's anchors stands outside the entrance. The museum holds the
Moody Cup as part of their Titanic exhibition, and they have a display
cabinet dedicated to the Conway. They also hold a significant part of
the Conway archive material, including all the original hand written
records of every cadet, listed by cadet number, with details of school
reports, executive reports etc. A useful source of information for
anyone wishing to organise a reunion of their term or research a Cadet.
The archive material includes Annual Reports 1859-1894; Monthly Reports
1881-1908; album of miscellaneous printed papers re: fund raising,
fitting out of cadets 1858-1883; Muster Rolls 1875-1959; Wages books
1882-1960; Visitor books 1934-1975; Captain Superintendent's standing
orders 1949-1964; Indexes to registers of cadets 1859-1972; registers
of Cadets 1859-1971; Insurance stamp record books 1953-1968; bound and
loose volumes of the Cadet Magazine 1889-1974 (1889-1966 are also on
microfilm) photographs of cadets, sporting events etc. 1891-1968;
miscellaneous pamphlets and papers 1897-1984.
The museum has
been awarded a Heritage Lottery fund grant of £28,600 which together
with contributions from the Conway Club, and the National Museums and
Galleries on Merseyside, will be used for a project to conserve and
repair the Conway archive which is now held by the museum. This will
take place over the next 2 years in a phased programme which will mean
that some records will be unavailable at certain times. In order to
preserve the most important records from handling, and to ensure that
the information they contain will still be available whilst they are
being repaired, they have been microfilmed and are available in the
museum's search room. These are the Annual Reports, the indexes to the
Cadet Registers, and the Cadet Registers. Although not essential the
museum recommends that visitors ring to book a microfilm reader in
advance of their visit as they can all be in use at busy periods.
the Data Protection Act (1998) protective measures have been introduced
to restrict access to potentially sensitive information about living
individuals. The Cadet Registers after 1898 are subject to these
measures, and can only be accessed by anyone after completion of a
Restricted Access Application form. This applies to cadets themselves,
their relatives or researchers working on their behalf. Before access
is granted the museum may ask for proof of identity from former cadets,
or in the case of researchers evidence of prior permission from the
cadets themselves. Copies of the microfilm entry can be printed off for
a small charge. Alternatively for people who are unable to visit the
Maritime Archives and Library OC John Southwood, who
lives locally and is a Trustee of the Friends of HMS Conway, will carry
out the research on behalf of "Conways" and their relatives subject to
the same Data Protection principles as are described above. He produces
the cadet's record in a presentation binder which makes an attractive
gift or memento. There is no charge for John's service but donations to
Friends of Conway are always appreciated to
help cover the costs of copying and postage as well as going towards
the upkeep of the Conway Chapel at Birkenhead Priory.
- Maritime Archive and Library
Merseyside Maritime Museum
Liverpool L3 4AQ
- Phone inside UK :- 0151 207 0001 (central switchboard)
inside UK 0151 478 4424 (Archives Section) May be an answering machine.
The archive is open 10.30 to 16.30 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and
- Fax inside UK 0151 478 4590
- Phone from outside UK +44 151 207 0001 (central switchboard)
from outside UK +44 151 478 4424 (Archives Section) May be an answering
machine. The archive is open 10.30 to 16.30 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays,
- Fax from outside UK +44 151 478 4590
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/
4, Hillside Road
44 (0)151 342 5978
Models Of The Ship
are ten known models of Conway, nine are actually models of Nile There
are additional photos of the models and some plans here.
1. The Baden Powell Model
Baden Powel made this model of the ship. It is held by the National
Maritime Museum, Greenwich but has now been loaned to the National
Trust for display at Plas Newydd.
2. The Douglas Model
This model was created in 1991and is in private hands. There are photos of the model and plans here.
3. The Friends Model
small model – approximately 18inches in length is held by the Friends
Of The Conway and is on display in the Conway Chapel at Birkenhead.
4. The Gee Model
large and fine model was made and presented to the ship by Mr J Gee in
1956. It is actually a bit of a historical hotch-potch; it shows the
ship in her Nile days as a pure sailing ship – note no funnel! Nile was
only commissioned after she was converted to steam. It also shows the
post-1938 figurehead – Nile's original figurehead was only a
bust of Nelson with far less body. It is now part of a Conway display
which is the centrepeice of the RN Museum, Portsmouth. It previously
stood on the quarterdeck of the New Block as shown below. I believe Mr
Gee is the other gentleman in the photo!
Click image to enlarge
This is the only model with one side left unplanked so that you can see inside.
5. The Hopkinson Model
A half hull model of th ship. Privately owned by Ian.
6. The King's Model
July 22 1932 HM the King was presented with a model of the Conway made
onboard by the carpenter Mr John Bullis Williams assisted by cadets. It
was paid for by the Conway Club. The hull was cut from the African Oak
of a starboard side lower deck fairlead. It was to a scale of one-eight
of an inch to the foot. It took two years to complete. It has 156 dead
eyes and 91 blocks made from old school rulers. The metal is silver
plated ship's copper. There are 120 yards of rigging (wire and silk
trout line), 622 bolts (domestic pins), 6 feet nine inches of chain on
boat davits, 1798 clove hitches in the rigging. There are 16 coats of
paint and enamel. The model is now in the Science Museum, London but
not on display. He made a clock from the remaining wood - photos are in the Image Archive
Two photos of this model are below. One was
published in The Cadet in 1933. It shows the ship in her converted
state as Conway in 1931-3 – witness the various additions on deck,
especially the foc's'le, and the powerboats, cutter and gigs on the
davits. Note also there is no figurehead as the original was lost in
1918 and not replaced until 1938. In the second photo the model has
been removed from its stand, the ensign removed and some adjustments
mde to the masts. You will see this model is very different to the Gee
Model but is very similar to the Williams Model.
Click image to enlarge
7. The New Zealand Model
No details are known other than that it exists! If you have more info please email me
8. The Powers Model
In October 1933 many cadets exhibited models at
the Ship Model exhibition in the Bluecoats School, Liverpool.
Instructor Powers had made a very fine model of the ship, "...a very
beautiful representation...". I wonder where that is now?
9. The Vietnamese Model
This large model is commercially available and made to ordei in Vietnam but
only in batches of 10 or more. The Club is considering selling it
through their shop. Therev are more photos and full specifications for
the model on the manufacturer's web site - click here
10. The Williams Model
This model was also made by the ship's
carpenter Mr John Bullis Williams, at the request of Chief Officer
Commander George Witheridge Couch sometime after 1932. It is approx 26"
long x 16"high. It was very similar to the King's Model although it has
a seagull on the mainsail yard whereas the King's did not! It is in
MSODs (Menai Strait One Design) (1954 to 1974)
MSODs (Menai Strait One-Design), were 20 feet long, built out of
mahogony on oak frames, clinker built and half decked. Rumoured to be
uncapsizeable. The first four MSODs purchased were numbered and named
18 - Lightning, 8 - Taeping, 17 -Ariel and12 - Flying Cloud. The fifth
was 10 - Sobroan
were super boats – half-decked, carvel-hulled Bermudan sloops – that
put up a good performance without threatening to drown their crews,
they were all but impossible to capsize."
There is a great web site at http://www.msod.org.uk/ learn what happened to them all and add your reminiscences.
stood outside the part of Plas Newydd - the Nelson Block used as
dormitories. It is now on display in the Conway Museum at Birkenhead.
Outward Bound Museum, Aberdovey
photos of Conway cadets in Aberdovey. (Between 1941 and 1947 Cadets
also spent time at OB Aberdovey. Conway cadets attended Class No 1 and
later returned to teach). The link perhaps existed because of the
involvement of the Holt family in both establishments, as well as
Plans Of HMS Nile
Available from the Maritime Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Size 4' by 2'
Plaque, Mostyn House School, Parkgate, Cheshire, UK
plaque, mounted on the school wall, records the thanks of Cadets who
sheltered in the school for several days during the Liverpool Blitz in
1941. It was this event that prompted the move to the Menai Straits
(the bombing that is not staying at the school!).
sure you are aware that timbers salvaged from the Conway are still in
existence. You may not know that some have been sampled (by Dublin and
Bangor Universities) and identified as African Oak (which of course is
not an oak at all). A wide variety of woods were used in her
construction, including English oak from Shropshire for the 1938 refit.
African Oak was used only for the lower deck.
Australia Conway Club. A small piece of ship's timber from the 1938
refit at Cammell Lairds, Liverpool is the base of the Conway Senior
Challenge 1938 sports cup originally won by W A Johnstone (37-38) on
sports day Easter term. The cup found in an antique shop in Albany
Western Australia by local Conways and is now held by the Western
Australia Conway Club.
Timbers were used to create the various Honour Boards displayed in the Conway Chapel at Birkenhead Priory
and copper still survive and are held by an OC. I believe they spent
some time in someone's back garden. He has kindly offered to turn them
into items of interest for OCs - tankards, coaster, belaying pins etc.
Contact details are on page 5 of the Spring 98 Newsletter, and I'm sure
the Hon Sec could also put you in touch.
Timbers and copper litter the Menai Straits foreshore.
One enterpriising diving coupe from Bangor rescued enough timber from the wreck to make themselves a fitted kitchen
Sections of timber are in the Liverpool Arms, Beaumaris..
Lecturn made from wood from Conway's deck given by the National Maritime Board of Great Britain to the US Merchant Marine Academy (New York) and used in their chapel
Click image to enlarge
A window from the ship is in a display case of the Liverpool Arms, Beaumaris.
Watercraft Philately Volume 29, page 56 refers to stamp of HMS Conway.
In 1980 St Kitts N.L. issued a 55c multi coloured stamp showing HMS Winchester.
Does anyone have a copy we could use?
Menai Strait, which separates the Isle of Anglesey from mainland North
Wales, was described by Nelson as: "one of the most treacherous
stretches of sea in the world.
Whoever could navigate a ship
here, could sail any sea in the world." Few would dispute his
pronouncement; it is an area of overfalls, eddies and swirling water.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the Swellies, as the Strait is
known locally, has a wreck.
HMS Conway was a 96-gun
line-of-battle wooden warship much like Nelson's flagship, Victory. Her
ill-fated journey from her permanent berth off the stately home of Plas
Newydd to Birkenhead for dry-docking and a refit in 1953 ended after
only a couple of miles. She hit the Platters rocks, close to the shore
just west of the suspension bridge, and a fire devoured what remained
above the water. Nowadays she remains largely forgotten.
though, is solid stuff. Iron-hard baulks of it, along with a few copper
rivets, washers and sheathing, is all that remains of the ship. These
lie on the seabed, some partially covered, others standing proud, in
just a few metres of water. As a wreck dive, the Conway is, perhaps,
not up to much." Unlike her Cadets who were always up to a great deal!
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