Sunday, 13 March 2016

Ship shape

One would guess that the pub is named after HMS Royal Albert, which was launched from Woolwich Dockyard in 1854 – the same year that the Crystal Palace was relocated from Hyde Park to nearby Sydenham Hill. Associations with the Prince Consort were doubtless a good thing in the area at the time.


This particular sign takes as its visual inspiration* an engraving by J.W. Carmichael called Homeward Bound, which appeared in the London Illustrated News in 1857. It’s a nice illustration, but it can’t be the ship in question because it appears to have only two gun decks, whereas the Royal Albert had three. This, it would seem, was known to the anonymous sign painter, who accordingly introduced a third gun deck into his picture. If only all signs could be researched so thoroughly…

* Note: not merely copied/nicked – and yes Greene King, I’m looking at you.

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