HQS Wellington as seen from the Embankment

Between Blackfriars Bridge and Waterloo Bridge are a number of moored period ships. The vessel moored at Victoria Embankment near Temple Stairs is the Headquarters ship HQS Wellington. This is the Headquarters and Livery Hall of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners. This is not a Royal Navy establishment but one for the Merchant Navy.

In 1921, at the annual Shipmasters Dinner, Sir Robert Burton-Chadwick put forward the idea of forming a Guild or Company like the City of London Livery Companies for the merchant service. This came about on 25th June 1926 with the formation of the Company of Master Mariners. The City of London welcomed the new Company and in 1932 the Court of Alderman conferred on the Company the status of Livery. It was the first time in 200 years that the Guilds of London accepted a new Company.


Beautiful teak staircase

The Royal Navy Grimsby Class sloop HMS Wellington become available via the Admiralty in 1947 and was converted to a floating Livery Hall. HMS Wellington saw active service on the New Zealand and Pacific station before the 2nd World War. During the war she was sent on convoy escort duty in the North Atlantic. HQS Wellington has now been fitted out with carpets, toilets, tables, chairs and catering facilities.


Ship model room

The plant in the engine room have been removed to make more space and a room.
On my visit on Open House weekend I was able to take advantage of a guided tour of the ship which was very informative and enjoyable. The tour guide was a gentlemen and tapping into his life experiences at sea was on top of his subject. I was impressed by the beautiful regeneration of the interior of the vessel which was adorned with an eclectic collection of paintings, ship models and marine knick-knacks


Square rigged model ship

As a constructor of model ships I was delighted to see and inspect the large collection of superb antique models. After an enjoyable 2 hours of marine culture it was time to move on to my next port of call, the “Coal Hole Inn” for a pint or two of ale to reflect on the days events.

Hope you find this of interest.