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SPPARC designs visitor centre for Francis Drake’s Golden Hinde


SPPARC has unveiled designs for a glass and timber museum and visitor centre for the famous replica of Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hinde

The London practice will formally submit a planning application this year for the centre for the 300-tonne working replica of the 16th-century galleon docked on the south bank of the River Thames.

Its project aims to create a permanent home and visitor attraction for The Golden Hinde at its existing location at St Mary Overie Dock at Bankside in Southwark.

The proposed dual-level, 1,125m2 building features a ticket hall, an accessible education facility exploring the history of the vessel, and an exhibition space. There will also be viewing galleries, toilets and staff offices.

Crafted from English oak and glass, the proposed museum and visitor centre wraps around the ship with the education centre designed to appear to hover over the water.

Visitors will be able to view a number of key locations along the river that have connections to Drake – the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe.

Glass is used through the lower ground galleries to allow visitors to view the ship from different angles, while light and shadow effects cast from the timber structure of the visitor centre chart the route of Drake’s journey around the world.

The replica ship – which has itself sailed from the UK to the USA – is currently undergoing extensive refurbishment. More than 50 tonnes of sustainably sourced oak trees have been transported to London from the New Forest and the National Trust in Sussex to help return the ship to its former glory.

The Golden Hinde already attracts thousands of visitors annually but SPPARC aims to provide visitors with an ‘exceptional learning experience’ on the history of the ship and Drake himself, as well as a dedicated home for artefacts related to the explorer, which are currently scattered around the world.

SPPARC principal Trevor Morriss said: ‘The brief for the new Golden Hinde visitor centre called for a unique design which learnt from the skilled craftsmanship and innovative nautical engineering of this iconic ship. The concept was derived through the desire to reflect this history of The Golden Hinde and Sir Francis Drake in a contemporary visitor centre.’

Angus Francis Coleman, director of project backer and ship owners Golden Hinde Ltd, which is hoping to raise £5 million to cover the construction costs, said: ‘[The practice’s] passion and energy has been fundamental in creating this new vision for The Golden Hinde in London.

’This visitor centre will allow us to deliver on a much grander scale and will turn The Golden Hinde into a major cultural destination.’

SPPARC recently secured approval to revamp and extend the Victorian warehouse used as a location for early series of the BBC hit show, Dragons’ Den.

Spparc goldenhinde crediting spparc1

Spparc goldenhinde crediting spparc1

Project data

Location Bankside, London
Type of project Cultural/visitor centre and museum
Client Golden Hinde Ltd
Architect SPPARC
Tender date TBC
Start on site date  Pending planning
Completion date Pending planning
Contract duration TBC
Gross internal floor area 1,125m²
Total cost £5 million

Shutterstock 603116789 golden hinde

Golden Hinde, London

Source: Shutterstock

Golden Hinde, London


Readers' comments (2)

  • This replica of the Golden Hinde, which dates from 1973, clearly forms the centerpiece of a valuable and successful element in London's visitor attractions.
    Unlike the future of Appledore, North Devon, where she was built, and where the modern covered shipyard is about to close through lack of work and real government commitment.

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  • It looks awful, cutting the ship off from the very river that brought it. I know the area well and the options are limited but this...?

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