Relics and Artifacts
We welcome suggestions, submissions and links to relevant information, please contact us with details.
The Mother's Union Chapel of Penmon Priory
The ship's altar used to stand on the Main Deck and after an
ignominious period stored in a garage was presented by the Conway Club
to the Mother's Union Chapel of Penmon Priory. It was originally carved
and presented to the Conway by Mr Percy Cox , the father of Cadet V S
Cox (05-09), but apparently as a memorial to Captain Miller. It was
donated to the Chapel at the suggestion of Capt Eric Hewitt in 1989. It
is now in the Conway Chapel at Birkenhead.
by the parents of Cadet Payne in his memory. Recovered from the Ship
and used ashore in the chapel hut and then the Conway Chapel at Plas
Newydd. They are now safe in the Conway Chapel at Birkenhead.
the Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool, UK. This was recovered in
1968 by Brookie and many cadets. It was lifted by first removing the
encasing concrete base, beaching cutters either side of it at low
water, lashing it to the cutters by cross beams and letting the tide
lift it out. Sounds simple but it was a close run thing. The anchors
weighed 4-5 tons and were transported from Bangor, through the Swellies
in the same way with only a few inches freeboard! . Interestingly it
was Brookie who arranged that transfer and positioning many years
before. Subsequently hauled from the Dock up to the Parade Ground where
it remained for some years. Eventually transferred to the Museum. We
are informed it is a favourite spot for tourist photos.
1988 outside the Maritime Museum, Caernarfon, Wales, UK. It was
recovered between 8th and 10th September 1987 by members of the Seiont
Trust (a leading member was an OC). A series of photos of the recovery
They restored the anchor and mounted it along with an explanatory plaque outside the museum. There is a short video here..
are two smaller anchors still embedded in the Menai Strait where they
were positioned to anchor the ship. They are very old anchors, but not
original Conway anchors. They were brought to Port Penhryn in 1948 to
complete the Plas Newydd moorings. Some say they came from Plymouth but
The Cadet magazine of the time says they were two of the anchors used
on the Rock Ferry mooring. The upper flukes have been removed. They
were always overgrown and probably are now very difficult to spot.
Perhaps some enterprising diver could tell us if the mooring rings and
swivel are still there, should be easy to find, just follow the anchor
Army Museum, Halifax, Nova Scotia,
They have a photo and plaque commemorating Lt Col Bent VC DSO.
to Indefatigable. Current whereabouts not known. Indefatigable had a
big sale when the school closed so they could have gone anywhere...
unless you know otherwise.
Bangor Pier Head, Bangor
benches donated by Conways line the pier. There used to be a small
Conway museum at the entrance to the pier. Does anyone know what
happened to the displays?
old inter-watch gig racing was presented to the St Helena Shipping
Company by the Conway Club. It is on permanent display in the passenger
area of one of the RMS St Helena which also carries cadets in two
cabins named Conway and Worcester (see Summer 1991 Newsletter). The cup
is awarded annually to the cadet who produces the best kept log or
project through their training period aboard one of their mail ships.
is in a special display in the RN Museum, Portsmouth with the ship's
wheel and the large model that used to stand on the quarterdeck of the
I started this entry expecting to find one binnacle, so far I have
turned up eight! It might be a good idea to stop looking! Photos are in
the Image Archives Binnacles album:
1. The Ship's Wooden Binnacle
This was in the Ship on the Poop deck and is clearly shown in the photo
"1928 cadet arnold 2". Its distinctive features are a wooden body and a
distinctively shaped low rounded cover. It was recovered from the wreck
and there are stories that it was mounted outside Hewitt's office in
the Quarterdeck hut but none of the photos show it. Eventually it was
mounted on the grass opposite the main entrance to the New Block. It
remained there until paying off - see photos "new block exterior 08"
and "1973 Parade Deck", although the black balls seem to have shrunk
over the years. We should consider this as "the" binnacle. It is of a
type introduced in1876 with two adjustable metal balls on the sides of
the case to compensate for the strong magnetic influence of metal
hulled ships. Older versions in wooden sailing ships did not need them. It had a
Flinders Bar mounted on the back and seems to have a brass collar
around the base. The covers of The Cadet magazine from 1908 onwards
show a very similar looking binnacle so may assume it was in the Ship
from at least that year. I am searching the Cadet magazines to see if
there is any more information about it.
Conway paid off in 1974 the Shipping Federation (Conway's owners)
passed it to the Sir John Cass College in Gravesend. They put it in
store. When Cass closed one of the Instructors found the binnacle and
purchased it for a nominal sum (Christie's New York sold a similar
model in Jan 09 for £2,500!). He subsequently emigrated to NZ taking
the binnacle with him. It contained a few Conway related papers. The
owner contacted an OC and so the binnacle appeared at the reunion
event in Nov 08. The other shelf around the body has been added since
to hold wine
The RN Museum
When Conway paid off in 1974 a binnacle was apparently donated
to the RN Museum at Portsmouth. A recent investigation at the museum
found no trace of the body of a binnacle but did turn up the cover
illustrated in the album. This is clearly marked as belonging to a
Conway/Nile binnacle but it bears no resemblance to the one that
was on the poop (1 above) or any of the others listed
The Ship's Brass Pelorus
OK, this is a pelorus rather than a binnacle so arguably it shouldn't
be in this list but I've stretched the point for clarity. This was also
in the Ship on the Poop deck and is clearly shown in the photo "1928
cadet arnold 2". Its distinctive feature is its shape and all brass(?)
construction. Brookie is shown using it in the photo "Tour of the ship
upper deck 24". I have no idea what happened to it.
4. The Chart Room Binnacle
There was another device which looks like a binnacle in the Chart Room
and shown in the foreground of "Tour of the Ship upper deck chart room
03". Its distinctive feature is a black narrow base. I have no idea
what happened to this one. PS there is a deviascope in the left
background but that would be stretching the point too far.
5. The Dock Binnacle
There was a binnacle on the dock, outside the Seamanship Room, from at
least 1958. It is shown best in the photo "1965 dock 05". It looks very
similar to the The Ship's Wooden Binnacle because it has a wooden body
and metal top but, its distinctive feature is a pyramid shaped cover.
It also has very different openings to the The Ship's Wooden Binnacle,
and a distinct wooden collar around its base. It also has a Flinders
Bar. I have no idea where this came from, or when, or what happened to
6. The Pinnace's Large Binnacle
This was mounted in the pinnace and can be seen in many photos in the
Pinnace album although none are very clear. The best one is photo
"chapel bh binnacles 2" Its distinctive features are the large metal
hood on the cover and the two light cans on the side. It also had a
Flinders Bar. This also lacks the adjustable metal balls introduced in
1854 to compensate for the strong magnetic influence of metal hulls. It
is now held by The Friends of HMS Conway and is on loan to the National
Trust for display in the new Conway cafeteria at Plas Newydd.
7. The Pinnace's Small Binnacle
This was in the pinnace but where? Its distinctive feature is its size
- it's small. It is shown in the photo "relics pinnace binnacle". It is
held by The Friends of HMS Conway and is in the Conway Chapel at
8. The Friend's Binnacle Covers
The Friends also have two more covers that seem to come from the Ship.
If you can help clarify things please get in touch but we don't need any more binnacles!
Birkenhead Priory and Conway Chapel, Birkenhead, Wirral, UK
ruins of Birkenhead Priory may be accessed at any time. However the
Conway Chapel, which is one of the two chapels at the Priory, may only
be accessed when the Warden is on site or by prior arrangement. The
Warden is there every day except Monday from 12 noon to 5
p.m.in summer and 1p.m.to 4 p.m in winter. To be absolutely
certain of access, visitors should telephone John Southwood (0151 342
5978) or Derek Parfect (0151 653 5665) who will be happy to
show visitors the Chapel which contains many items of Conway
memorabilia including the honours boards from the original Conway
Chapel at Plas Newyyd. There are also three magnificent stained glass
windows in the Chapel commemorating "Conway" and two recently deceased
Old Conways. For further details see the Friends of the Conway section.
very large block from th ship is in the lower area of Birkenhead Town
Hall. They also have some intersting models of the Rock Ferry area.
Carnarfon Harbour Board Papers
are stored in the Gwynedd Archives. They include all the papers
relating to the ship and her disposal from the date of the wreck
onwards. (They were the Authority left with the liability for the
Caernarfon Maritime Museum, Caernarfon, UK
has a small but very interesting display as well as an anchor. It also
has a panel from the last ship, possibly the section that allowed a
light to shine through into the Magazine. There is supposed to be a
visitors book for Conways but no one seemed to know about it when I
visited in 1998. Opening hours and email address at:
Click images to enlarge
Captain's Cabin Doors
Thurnham Hall, Near Lancaster http://www.thurnhamhall.co.uk/
This timeshare hotel claims to have the doors to the Captains Cabin. Photos below. Their research
indicated they were probably bought by the Hall's then owners from the
contractor who was dismantling the ship. They are a 'novelty' in the
hotel because of their height and shape - the bottom is obviously
slightly shaped to allow for the curve of the ship's deck, and are
used as a feature by sales staff to describe the resort's attractions!
They are very attractive with a lot of intricate carving, are well
looked after and in excellent condition. Our thanks to their resident
architect who contacted us with the information. Photos of the ship are on display near the doors.
2011 update: an OC has visted the hall and examined the
doors and it seems most unlilley that they were actually from the ship.
They are simply too tall to have fitted betwen the decks! Examination
of the detailed ship's plans produced for the 1953 refit do not show
any pair of doors in the Captain's cabin, apart from the doors onto his
stern walk which are entirely different in design and shape. Please email me if you can shed any light on this mystery.
original locks and plates, donated by Captain Hewitt's family are in
Birkenhead Town Hall Museum. The lock to the Captain's Veranda Door is
held by John Southwood - a gift from Captain Hewitt.
Click image to enlarge
'HMS Conway RUFC' was recorded on Ardath Tobacco Company's card no 73 1936.
Click image to enlarge
Coal Hole Donkey Winch
Spxswotteby a diver lying on the bottom of the Strait with the rest of the wreck
Reportedly passed to the Missions To Seamen but is held by the Friends of HMS Conway.
table was donated in December 1903 as a memorial to Captain Miller
(along with the Lecturn and a new harmonium). It is now in the Conway
Chapel at Birkenhead.
The chapel built by the Conway Club alongside the New Block still stands but it is no longer used as a chapel.
was in there about 10 years ago (1980ish) and found the place in a
terrible mess. The plaques (memorail boards) were still on the walls,
but the place was being used as a kindergarten and play area. I was
appalled. Remember that it had been de-consecrated. I found the
communion silver in a cupboard next to "net balls". I nicked it all and
took it back to Canada. I contacted the club with the story and that
started the move to have the plaques re-located and I sent the silver
to the Vancouver club. Not sure what happened to it from there." (Ed
see under Communion Silver and memorial Boards)
There is now a Conway Chapel in Birkenhead Priory containing many of the items from the old chapel. Please see the Friends of the Conway section for more information.
Conway House, Kelly School
They hold a number of artifacts including a Conway sword and the brass ship's nameplate.
music is still available from the publisher (well he is an Old Conway)
by whose kind permission we reproduce the music. Notes words are by
Cecil Roberts, not John Masefield. Order from here
An Audio Tape of the Conway Song
played by the Band of H.M.Royal Marines and sung by the Liverpool Welsh
Male Voice Choir is available from 'Friends of HMS Conway' Price GBP5 +
GBP1 P&P UK GBP2 Overseas. Orders to: firstname.lastname@example.org
from the deck was made into a Lecturn that was donated by the National
Maritime Board of Great Britain to the United States Merchant Marine
Academy, Long Island, New York. It is kept in their House of Worship:
the Mariners Chapel to the right of the altar.
There were several versions of the ensign over the years, details are here.
An ensign hangs in Liverpool Cathedral.
An ensign used to hang in St Andrews Cathedral Sydney but it is now held by the Conway and Worcester Club in Sydney.
ensign flown by Ship in 1941 during the move from the Mersey to the
Menai Straits is now on display in the Conway Chapel at Birkenhead
Priory suitably inscribed.
A new Conway Standard has been
donated by an OC and is on display in the Conway Chapel and is paraded
at official functions, carried by an OC volunteer.
A 2 pounder wheeled Krupp
field gun, minus breech used to stand outside the gun room in the Ship - whether
to protect the inhabitants or keep them in order is not clear.
When the Ship was lost the gun was salvaged and transferred to the
entrance of the Nelson Block. It was presented to the Ship by Capt H M
Perfect RN (1882-84) or by Lt Herbert Mosley (OC) - differnet sources
claim different donors!. It was captured from the Chinese by Capt H M
Perfect RN and his boat crew from Undaunted at the storming of
Tien-suin on 14th July 1900 during the Boxer rebellion. An engraved
plaque describing its capture has been polished to illegibility by
generations of cadets so we may never know the full story. When the
ship paid off in 1974 the gun was transferred to the National Maritime
Museum, Greenwich but is not on display.
The ship had two figureheads over the years. Details are here. When Conway paid of a safe home was found for the figurehead at HMS Nelson in Portsmouth where it can be seen from the road.
Fifes were specially designed for Conway and the Menai Strait. Sail
number 2 was Morwys with a white hull. Sail number 5 was Thelma and had
a red hull. Thelma was a gift to the ship in 1954/5. Fifes are a 24 feet Bermuda rig keel boat also used by Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
Click image to enlarge
pleased to report that Fife No. 5 is alive and well, having been
lovingly restored by Bill Thompson (58/61). She has been acquired by
another Old Conway - T A Kershaw ('Tak') who lives in Beaumaris. Anyone
know what happened to Morwys? There is a small fleet of Fifes raced by
the Royal Anglesey Yacht Club. They are now called 'Conway Fifes' - http://www.royalangleseyyc.org.uk/Racing/Fife.htm They have adapted the Conway ensign as a burgee.
is now presented annually by the Navy League of Canada Sea Cadets to
the Corps demonstrating the highest degree of proficiency in small boat
handling during their Spring Regatta. As many as 300 cadets are
involved in the competition
Gwynedd Archives Service, Victoria Dock, Caernarfon, UK. (+44 (0) 1286) 679095
hold many photographs, records and artifacts. Well worth a visit.
Rather than wading through the normal index cards ask to see the
special booklet that lists all their Conway items. Most of the material
housed there is part of the Seiont Maritime Trust collection. The Trust
also runs the Caernavon Maritime Museum
by the parents of J E Haig (41-43), this trophy was presented to the
best mountain expedition of the year in a competition between each
Division. Returned to the family in 1974.
Halifax Museum, Nova Scotia
Negative 14902 is a photo of HMS Nile in Halifax Harbour 1862.
Harley Memorial Shield
Held by the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich but is not on display.
Birkenhead Priory Museum, Birkenhead, Wirral, UK.
Housed in the Conway Chapel in Birkenhead Priory.
Imperial War Museum, London
of George Cross, medals and other items belonging to Cdr Francis
Brooke-Smith GC, RD RNR (34-36). Awarded for dealing with an unexploded
bomb on the Manchester Ship Canal. Citation in London Gazette 27 June
brass lecturn was donated in December 1903 as a memorial to Captain
Miller(along with a Communion Table and a new harmonium). It is now in
the Conway Chapel at Birkenhead.
was normally kept in the dock Seamanship Room. It was painted white
with the words HMS Conway painted on it and Conway crests. It is now in
safe private hands in Anglesey.
HMS Nile„s log book for the years 1860 to 1864 is held by the National Archives of Canada, Reference : MG24, F49
Log Book (kept by Cadet David Norris)
This cadet kept a log book for the years 1891-93. It is held by the Royal Naval Museum Reference : 1984/294(1)
decorated panel, possibly the section that allowed a light to shine
through into the Magazine, is in Caernarfon Maritime Museum,
Caernarfon, UK. Opening hours and email address at:
Click image to enlarge
In the Conway Chapel, Birkenhead
Click image to enlarge
Merseyside Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool, UK
of the Ship's anchors stands outside the entrance. The museum holds the
Moody Cup as part of their Titanic exhibition, and they have a display
cabinet dedicated to the Conway. They also hold a significant part of
the Conway archive material, including all the original hand written
records of every cadet, listed by cadet number, with details of school
reports, executive reports etc. A useful source of information for
anyone wishing to organise a reunion of their term or research a Cadet.
The archive material includes Annual Reports 1859-1894; Monthly Reports
1881-1908; album of miscellaneous printed papers re: fund raising,
fitting out of cadets 1858-1883; Muster Rolls 1875-1959; Wages books
1882-1960; Visitor books 1934-1975; Captain Superintendent's standing
orders 1949-1964; Indexes to registers of cadets 1859-1972; registers
of Cadets 1859-1971; Insurance stamp record books 1953-1968; bound and
loose volumes of the Cadet Magazine 1889-1974 (1889-1966 are also on
microfilm) photographs of cadets, sporting events etc. 1891-1968;
miscellaneous pamphlets and papers 1897-1984.
The museum has
been awarded a Heritage Lottery fund grant of £28,600 which together
with contributions from the Conway Club, and the National Museums and
Galleries on Merseyside, will be used for a project to conserve and
repair the Conway archive which is now held by the museum. This will
take place over the next 2 years in a phased programme which will mean
that some records will be unavailable at certain times. In order to
preserve the most important records from handling, and to ensure that
the information they contain will still be available whilst they are
being repaired, they have been microfilmed and are available in the
museum's search room. These are the Annual Reports, the indexes to the
Cadet Registers, and the Cadet Registers. Although not essential the
museum recommends that visitors ring to book a microfilm reader in
advance of their visit as they can all be in use at busy periods.
the Data Protection Act (1998) protective measures have been introduced
to restrict access to potentially sensitive information about living
individuals. The Cadet Registers after 1898 are subject to these
measures, and can only be accessed by anyone after completion of a
Restricted Access Application form. This applies to cadets themselves,
their relatives or researchers working on their behalf. Before access
is granted the museum may ask for proof of identity from former cadets,
or in the case of researchers evidence of prior permission from the
cadets themselves. Copies of the microfilm entry can be printed off for
a small charge. Alternatively for people who are unable to visit the
Maritime Archives and Library OC John Southwood, who
lives locally and is a Trustee of the Friends of HMS Conway, will carry
out the research on behalf of "Conways" and their relatives subject to
the same Data Protection principles as are described above. He produces
the cadet's record in a presentation binder which makes an attractive
gift or memento. There is no charge for John's service but donations to
Friends of Conway are always appreciated to
help cover the costs of copying and postage as well as going towards
the upkeep of the Conway Chapel at Birkenhead Priory.
- Maritime Archive and Library
Merseyside Maritime Museum
Liverpool L3 4AQ
- Phone inside UK :- 0151 207 0001 (central switchboard)
inside UK 0151 478 4424 (Archives Section) May be an answering machine.
The archive is open 10.30 to 16.30 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and
- Fax inside UK 0151 478 4590
- Phone from outside UK +44 151 207 0001 (central switchboard)
from outside UK +44 151 478 4424 (Archives Section) May be an answering
machine. The archive is open 10.30 to 16.30 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays,
- Fax from outside UK +44 151 478 4590
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/
4, Hillside Road
44 (0)151 342 5978
Twelve Quays, Egerton Dock, Birkenhead, Liverpool, UK.
mast was re-erected on 25 September 1993 in memory of the 11,000 cadets
who passed through the Conway and those who lost their lives at sea.
Although called the mizzen mast details gleamed from The Cadet magazine
indicate that it was actually the original Main Topmast.
Conway sea cadets provided a guard of honour at the unveiling ceremony.
Members of the Vancouver Conway Club organised replacement spars and
new wood for blending into sound sections of the original. Within a few
years the mast needed significant repair which was completeed in 2008.
The current mast contains little of the original, although the
Togallant and Gaff are original, so is best considered as the Conway
Memorial Mast. There is film of it here and here.
Sailing Club, North Wales has a portion of the original mizzen mast.
OC's and Old Worcester members of this club made a substantial donation
towards the restoration of the Mizzen Mast, in return the Mast
Committee donated a nine foot section of the original mast to them. It
has been erected within the Bar area flying a small Conway ensign.
Models Of The Ship
are ten known models of Conway, nine are actually models of Nile There
are additional photos of the models and some plans here.
1. The Baden Powell Model
Baden Powel made this model of the ship. It is held by the National
Maritime Museum, Greenwich but has now been loaned to the National
Trust for display at Plas Newydd.
2. The Douglas Model
This model was created in 1991and is in private hands. There are photos of the model and plans here.
3. The Friends Model
small model – approximately 18inches in length is held by the Friends
Of The Conway and is on display in the Conway Chapel at Birkenhead.
4. The Gee Model
large and fine model was made and presented to the ship by Mr J Gee in
1956. It is actually a bit of a historical hotch-potch; it shows the
ship in her Nile days as a pure sailing ship – note no funnel! Nile was
only commissioned after she was converted to steam. It also shows the
post-1938 figurehead – Nile's original figurehead was only a
bust of Nelson with far less body. It is now part of a Conway display
which is the centrepeice of the RN Museum, Portsmouth. It previously
stood on the quarterdeck of the New Block as shown below. I believe Mr
Gee is the other gentleman in the photo!
Click image to enlarge
This is the only model with one side left unplanked so that you can see inside.
5. The Hopkinson Model
A half hull model of th ship. Privately owned by Ian.
6. The King's Model
July 22 1932 HM the King was presented with a model of the Conway made
onboard by the carpenter Mr John Bullis Williams assisted by cadets. It
was paid for by the Conway Club. The hull was cut from the African Oak
of a starboard side lower deck fairlead. It was to a scale of one-eight
of an inch to the foot. It took two years to complete. It has 156 dead
eyes and 91 blocks made from old school rulers. The metal is silver
plated ship's copper. There are 120 yards of rigging (wire and silk
trout line), 622 bolts (domestic pins), 6 feet nine inches of chain on
boat davits, 1798 clove hitches in the rigging. There are 16 coats of
paint and enamel. The model is now in the Science Museum, London but
not on display. He made a clock from the remaining wood - photos are in the Image Archive
Two photos of this model are below. One was
published in The Cadet in 1933. It shows the ship in her converted
state as Conway in 1931-3 – witness the various additions on deck,
especially the foc's'le, and the powerboats, cutter and gigs on the
davits. Note also there is no figurehead as the original was lost in
1918 and not replaced until 1938. In the second photo the model has
been removed from its stand, the ensign removed and some adjustments
mde to the masts. You will see this model is very different to the Gee
Model but is very similar to the Williams Model.
Click image to enlarge
7. The New Zealand Model
No details are known other than that it exists! If you have more info please email me
8. The Powers Model
In October 1933 many cadets exhibited models at
the Ship Model exhibition in the Bluecoats School, Liverpool.
Instructor Powers had made a very fine model of the ship, "...a very
beautiful representation...". I wonder where that is now?
9. The Vietnamese Model
This large model is commercially available and made to ordei in Vietnam but
only in batches of 10 or more. The Club is considering selling it
through their shop. Therev are more photos and full specifications for
the model on the manufacturer's web site - click here
10. The Williams Model
This model was also made by the ship's
carpenter Mr John Bullis Williams, at the request of Chief Officer
Commander George Witheridge Couch sometime after 1932. It is approx 26"
long x 16"high. It was very similar to the King's Model although it has
a seagull on the mainsail yard whereas the King's did not! It is in
by Moody's family in memory of James Paul Moody (1904-06), 6th Officer
on the Titanic. Competed for at Conway as an open sailing competition
in MSOD's by Cadets choosing their own crew. After the closure of
Conway the Moody Cup was presented by the Governors to the Conway Club
Cruising Association for the best Annual Cruising Log submitted by an
Old Conway. The Cup was on loan to the Merseyside Maritime Museum but
is now on display in the Conway Chapel.
Please also see the Notable Conways section and the Friends of the Conway section for more information.
MSODs (Menai Strait One Design) (1954 to 1974)
MSODs (Menai Strait One-Design), were 20 feet long, built out of
mahogony on oak frames, clinker built and half decked. Rumoured to be
uncapsizeable. The first four MSODs purchased were numbered and named
18 - Lightning, 8 - Taeping, 17 -Ariel and12 - Flying Cloud. The fifth
was 10 - Sobroan
were super boats – half-decked, carvel-hulled Bermudan sloops – that
put up a good performance without threatening to drown their crews,
they were all but impossible to capsize."
There is a great web site at http://www.msod.org.uk/ learn what happened to them all and add your reminiscences.
'HMS Conway' brass nameplate is now in the main entrance of Conway
House, Kelly School, Tavistock, Devon, UK. The school holds many other
items of Conway memorabilia including a sword.
stood outside the part of Plas Newydd - the Nelson Block used as
dormitories. It is now on display in the Conway Museum at Birkenhead.
New Block, Plas Neweydd
County Council now own the 'new block' built at Plas Newydd. It is
called the Conway Centre and used by them as a residential centre for
pupils from Cheshire. It is not open to the public but many OCs have
visited anyway! Their web site has photos of the Nelson Centre and dock.
Outward Bound Museum, Aberdovey
photos of Conway cadets in Aberdovey. (Between 1941 and 1947 Cadets
also spent time at OB Aberdovey. Conway cadets attended Class No 1 and
later returned to teach). The link perhaps existed because of the
involvement of the Holt family in both establishments, as well as
Painting Of The Ship Off Rock Ferry
Conway Centre, Plas Newydd, Anglesey, Wales, UK.
Hewitt’s insistence on an office mezzanine floor above the quarterdeck
had created a light three story space that is filled by Gordon Ellis’s
magnificent 16 foot by 10 foot painting of the Ship at Rock Ferry. It
remains in place to this day and every one of the 15,000 or so children
and staff passing through the Conway Centre each year receives a brief
explanation of the painting and Conway in general. National Trust
visitors to Plas Newydd cannot visit the painting. The painting was the
privately commissioned gift of Mr Leslie Harding (the Vice Charman of
the committee and partner in Bibby Brothers & Co) especially for
the New Block entrance in 1963. He wanted to ensure that, as first hand
memories of the Ship passed away, there would be some tangible reminder
of Conway's origins for future cadets. Mr Harding chose the highly
appropriate words from the Navigation Act of 1660 that hang with the
“It is upon ships and sailors under the good providence of god that our wealth, safety and strength chiefly depend.”
Plans Of HMS Nile
Available from the Maritime Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Size 4' by 2'
Plaque, Mostyn House School, Parkgate, Cheshire, UK
plaque, mounted on the school wall, records the thanks of Cadets who
sheltered in the school for several days during the Liverpool Blitz in
1941. It was this event that prompted the move to the Menai Straits
(the bombing that is not staying at the school!).
1989 Captain Hewitt discovered the Prie-Dieu outside an antique shop in
the town of Conway. It had been presented by the cadets in memory of
Captain A T Miller and has a brass plate to that effect. By skilful
negotiation an excellent price was agreed, the money being paid by the
Conway Club. It is now in the Conway Chapel.
Click image to enlarge
sure you are aware that timbers salvaged from the Conway are still in
existence. You may not know that some have been sampled (by Dublin and
Bangor Universities) and identified as African Oak (which of course is
not an oak at all). A wide variety of woods were used in her
construction, including English oak from Shropshire for the 1938 refit.
African Oak was used only for the lower deck.
Australia Conway Club. A small piece of ship's timber from the 1938
refit at Cammell Lairds, Liverpool is the base of the Conway Senior
Challenge 1938 sports cup originally won by W A Johnstone (37-38) on
sports day Easter term. The cup found in an antique shop in Albany
Western Australia by local Conways and is now held by the Western
Australia Conway Club.
Timbers were used to create the various Honour Boards displayed in the Conway Chapel at Birkenhead Priory
and copper still survive and are held by an OC. I believe they spent
some time in someone's back garden. He has kindly offered to turn them
into items of interest for OCs - tankards, coaster, belaying pins etc.
Contact details are on page 5 of the Spring 98 Newsletter, and I'm sure
the Hon Sec could also put you in touch.
Timbers and copper litter the Menai Straits foreshore.
One enterpriising diving coupe from Bangor rescued enough timber from the wreck to make themselves a fitted kitchen
Sections of timber are in the Liverpool Arms, Beaumaris..
Lecturn made from wood from Conway's deck given by the National Maritime Board of Great Britain to the US Merchant Marine Academy (New York) and used in their chapel
Click image to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
This is in a special display in the RN Museum, Portsmouth with the ship's bell and binnacle and the ship's model.
A window from the ship is in a display case of the Liverpool Arms, Beaumaris.
Silverware & Trophies
The Conway Club is the custodian of a number of items and they are currently considering their future.
Watercraft Philately Volume 29, page 56 refers to stamp of HMS Conway.
In 1980 St Kitts N.L. issued a 55c multi coloured stamp showing HMS Winchester.
Does anyone have a copy we could use?
Davies (42-43) has a piece of the sternpost - about 12 inches square by
about 18 inches long - varnished and with a plate to record what it is.
Also a copper nail, suitably mounted and a dowel about 3" diameter with
a war department arrow on it.
section of the Taffrail was mounted above the bar of the MN Officers
Memorial Club, Aliwal Street, Durban South Africa. It was presented by
a group of OCs in the 50s. When the club closed everything was sold off
and the taffrail eventually eventually found its way into a pub run by
P.G.Banks Pr Tech (Eng) A.I.Mar ex Brocklebank engineer. He kindly
offerred to send a photo but his email address was lost. Mr Banks if
you read this please email me again!
1955 the "Conway Trophy" has been competed for annually by the the
Cadets of HMCS Venture, HMC Dockyard, Esquimalt, British Columbia,
was originally awarded to the most proficient Division in Seamanship,
Signaling, and Boat Work but more recently there has been greater
emphasis on sports. Some 300 cadets complete every year. It is a
section of Conway's taffrail, heavily varnished and mounted on four
pillars. The base has a silver plaque bearing the Conway crest. It was
taken to Canada by Capt HV Todd (17-18) and eventually obtained by D
MacKay (15/18) who turned it into the "Conway Trophy".
Captain Webb Memorial Shield
by the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich but is not always on
display. "Last time I saw it it was in the Queen's House in a display
cabinet in the basement."
Menai Strait, which separates the Isle of Anglesey from mainland North
Wales, was described by Nelson as: "one of the most treacherous
stretches of sea in the world.
Whoever could navigate a ship
here, could sail any sea in the world." Few would dispute his
pronouncement; it is an area of overfalls, eddies and swirling water.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the Swellies, as the Strait is
known locally, has a wreck.
HMS Conway was a 96-gun
line-of-battle wooden warship much like Nelson's flagship, Victory. Her
ill-fated journey from her permanent berth off the stately home of Plas
Newydd to Birkenhead for dry-docking and a refit in 1953 ended after
only a couple of miles. She hit the Platters rocks, close to the shore
just west of the suspension bridge, and a fire devoured what remained
above the water. Nowadays she remains largely forgotten.
though, is solid stuff. Iron-hard baulks of it, along with a few copper
rivets, washers and sheathing, is all that remains of the ship. These
lie on the seabed, some partially covered, others standing proud, in
just a few metres of water. As a wreck dive, the Conway is, perhaps,
not up to much." Unlike her Cadets who were always up to a great deal!
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