‘The Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805’ by Joseph Mallord William Turner

‘The Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805’ by Joseph Mallord William Turner. Painting in the collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

The Painted Hall, Greenwich

Photographer: LA(PHOT) Keith Morgan.

Three hundred members of the Fleet Air Arm celebrate the centenary of Naval Aviation in the Painted Hall, Grennwich Old Naval College, London in 2009.

The guests of honour for the dinner were HRH Prince Charles, HRH Prince Andrew, HRH Princess Anne and HRH Prince Michael of Kent.

King William Court is famous for its baroque Painted Hall, which was painted by Sir James Thornhill in honour of King William III and Queen Mary II (the ceiling of the Lower Hall), of Queen Anne and her husband, Prince George of Denmark (the ceiling of the Upper Hall) and George I (the north wall of the Upper Hall). The Painted Hall was deemed too magnificent for the pensioned seamen’s refectory, and was never regularly used. It became a tourist destination, opened for viewing. In 1824 a ‘National Gallery of Naval Art’ was created in the Painted Hall, where it remained until 1936, when the collection was transferred to the National Maritime Museum newly established in the Queen’s House and adjacent buildings.

On 5 January 1806, Lord Nelson’s body lay in state in the Painted Hall of the Greenwich Hospital before being taken up the river Thames to St Paul’s Cathedral for a state funeral.

Sacré bleu! An insult to Nelson?

Yes, yes… giant cock… double entendres… all highly amusing…


The cockerel, blue or not, is the symbol of France. To place this statue in Trafalgar Square is an insult to the memory of Nelson, an insult to the men who fought and died at Trafalgar, an insult to the men who fought and died at Jutland (yes, that’s what the Lutyens fountains commemorate), and an insult to Britain.

Boris Johnson, you colossal arse.

Blue cockerel takes roost on Fourth Plinth

The sculpture has been described as a “domestic cockerel with a twist”

The new artwork for the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square, a bright blue cockerel symbolising regeneration and strength, has been unveiled.

Titled Hahn/Cock, the 4.72m high piece is by German artist Katharina Fritsch and will be on display for 18 months.

Saturated in intense ultramarine blue, the sculpture was unveiled by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, on Thursday.

It replaces a 4.1m high bronze of a boy on a rocking horse that had been on the plinth since February 2012.

The public sculpture, said Mr Johnson, “doesn’t just show that we’re the sporting capital, but we are also the artistic and cultural capital of the world”.

He also said he would try and avoid any double entendres when talking about the cockerel.

“It is a ginormous blue Hahn Cock, as it’s called,” he told BBC London.

“I think if you tried to Google it in the future, the Prime Minister would stop you from finding it” – a reference to David Cameron’s proposals to have internet pornography blocked by internet providers.
‘Totally inappropriate’

One London-based conservation group had tried to stop the cockerel – a traditional emblem of France – from being displayed.

Trafalgar Square takes its name from the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar, one of Britain’s most significant naval victories in the Napoleonic Wars.

The Thorney Island Society wrote to Westminster Council in protest, branding the sculpture “totally inappropriate”.

But Justin Simons, director of the Fourth Plinth programme, said she was confident it would be a popular addition.

“We really love the striking vivid blue colour and also the character is really interesting,” she told BBC London.

“It’s an everyday kind of object – this regular domestic cockerel with a twist. The artist has supersized it.

“It will be as big as a London bus and she’s made it this striking blue colour, so it will be familiar but also quite surreal.”

Many leading artists have bid to have their work displayed on the Fourth Plinth over the last seven years.

The first sculpture to occupy it was Mark Wallinger’s Ecce Homo, a marble sculpture of a human-scale Jesus.

Others have included a statue of a naked, pregnant woman with no arms and Antony Gormley’s One & Other, where members of the public occupied the plinth for an hour at a time.


“Want of frigates.”

What was true in Nelson’s day is true today. A “want of frigates” is a significant impediment to Royal Navy operations. Whether the political will exists in either the Tory or the Labour parties to fund a full Type 26 programme remains to be seen. We hear words, vague promises, murmurings, but not a single keel has been laid… yet all the while the RN’s existing frigate strength is diminished by too-soon journeys to the breaker’s yard.


[From Clarke and M’Arthur, vol. ii. p. 432.]

[About the 5th October, 1805.]

I am sorry ever to trouble their Lordships with anything like a complaint of a want of Frigates and Sloops; but if the different services require them, and I have them not, those services must be neglected to be performed. I am taking all Frigates about me I possibly can, for if I were an Angel, and attending to all the other points of my Command, let the Enemy escape for want of the eyes of the Fleet, I should consider myself as most highly reprehensible. Never less than eight Frigates, and three good fast-sailing, Brigs, should always be with the Fleet to watch Cadiz; end to carry transports in and out to refit it, would take at least ten and four Brigs, to do that service well. At present I have only been able to collect two, which makes me very uneasy.