Roar of cannon-fire heralds
ship's visit to London
The Swedish Ship Götheborg arrived in London yesterday. The English
capital is the last stopover before the ship will return to its
homeport Göteborg after an almost 20 month long expedition.
Götheborg is (not surprisingly!) the first replica of an East Indiaman
that has ever sailed in to London. The ship gave a eight shot salute
from her iron cannons as she sailed through Tower Bridge. The salute
was returned by HMS Belfast firing - a perhaps even more astonishing
first as it is the first time since her berthing in London that she
has done so. Then Götheborg continued into London Pool.
(Incidentally, the Harland & Wolff-built HMS Belfast last fired her
guns in anger during the Korean war in the early fifties. Apparently
she rattled them off at such a pace she wore them out! We don't wish
to presume it too fifty odd years to fix them...)
The Swedish Ship berthed in West India Docks at 4.30 pm yesterday when
a grand welcome ceremony took place, including jazz bands, orchestras
and choirs performing. The ship will remain in London until her
departure on the 2nd of June 2007
The original East Indiaman Götheborg ran aground at the entrance to
Göteborg on 12 September 1745. The ship was fully laden with goods
such as tea, porcelain, silk and spices, and had almost reached dock
after her third voyage to China, which had lasted a full 30 months.
All of her crew survived the sinking and Swedish historian's believe
the sinking was a deliberate insurance scam!
The launch of the current ship took place on 6 June 2003 in the
presence of His Royal Highness Carl XVI Gustaf, the ship´s chief
patron, Queen Silvia and Prince Carl Philip. A large contingent from
the press and thousands of onlookers also attended the launch.
On 3 September 2004 the ship was named by Queen Silvia, the ship's
godmother, at a formal ceremony outside the Göteborg Opera House. The
long awaited ﬁrst sea trial took place on 22 May 2005.
The Götheborg will stay in London until 2 June, berthed at West India
Docks, South Quay, E14 9RS. She is open to the public during this
time, providing an insight into the type of ships that helped build
the country’s wealth and shape its heritage over 200 years ago. A
quayside exhibition about this ship’s recreation is also provided.
When she departs she will do so with some extremely unusual and
important botanical cargo to celebrate the tercentenary of the birth
of Swedish genius Carl Linnaeus. Linnaeus (alive at the time of
original Götheborg) invented Taxonomy, the system still used today to
categorise plants and animals. This year’s Chelsea Flower Show will
pay tribute to Linnaeus by hosting a special Swedish garden. At the
end of the plants will be moved to Gothenburg’s Botanical Garden. In
tribute to Linnaeus, the Götheborg will carry some of the garden back
to Gothenburg – just as ships during the 18th century would have been
used to transport botanical specimens from country to country.
The ship's opening times:
May 22: 10am – 5pm
May 26 – 28: 10am – 8pm
May 29 – 31: 10am – 3pm
Admission: Adults: Ł8, Children (under 12’s): free
(Tickets available at the ship, admission tickets only valid on date
Other Activities During Götheborg’s Stay in London:
May 21: 9am:
Seminar - Sustainable Transports. Museum in Docklands
May 21: 2.30pm:
Seminar – London, the Financial Centre, Museum in Docklands
May 22: 6:30pm:
Film – The Linnaeus Expedition, National Film Theatre, BFI Southbank
May 24: 7pm:
Concert – Swedish pop groups, Institute of Contemporary Arts
For more information on Götheborg see: