Maritime Museum, Barcelona

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    Malcolm Lewis

      Linking with my post about the history of ships plans and the model on display (and I am grateful for the various responses and useful references) I think it worth adding a few comments about this newly reopened museum. The museum is housed in the 13th century Shipyard of Dressannes and the remarkable building is itself worth the visit. As many as thirty galleys were built here at a time. The main exhibit is a full scale reproduction of the 16th century Royal Galley of the Admirals which was the flagship of John of Austria who was the brother of King Philip of Spain. It had 236 oarsmen and is 60 metres long- longer than HMS Victory. It was the C in C’s flagship, one of 200 Christian galleys which conquered 273 Turkish galleys at the Battle of Lepanto on 7 October 1571. It looks splendid in the museum but regrettably the viewing platform and video show (originally there) illustrating how the galley operated was not available and there is little information about the galley or how it was built. A model of the battle would also be helpful.
      The rest of the museum is rather downbeat with little about Spanish maritime history bearing in mind how Spain was such a dominant force in the naval world at one time. There are rather too many modern small sailing craft. The accuracy of Information about some of the exhibits, such as the early 18th century frigate which I have described in my query about ships’ plans, might give the knowledgeable visitor some concerns.
      Rather surprisingly there is a good model of HMS Victory with a description of how the English defeated the French and Spanish fleets at Trafalgar.
      Maybe one of our Spanish SNR members might care to comment on my observations.

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