Inside the exciting Maritime Museum and Buckler's Hard Story you can find out about the history of this unique 18th century shipbuilding village.
Discover the fascinating story of Montagu Town as it was originally known. Founded as a free port for the trading of sugar from the West Indies, the newly re-designed Maritime Museum tells why the ambitious plans for a new town were never realised and why its name changed to Buckler’s Hard. Learn about the machine gun that fired round and square bullets and see characters from the village at the time of Henry Adams, the Master Shipbuilder who lived and worked at Buckler's Hard.
Discover a new interpretation of the Beaulieu River and its ships which have inspired a wealth of art, literature and films and listen to a traditional sea shanty sung by working sailors.
The Nelson Connection
Buckler’s Hard developed as a thriving shipbuilding village where warships for Nelson’s Navy were built, three of which took part in the Battle of Trafalgar. See models of these ships including HMS Euryalus on which the dispatch was written containing the news of the great victory and of Nelson’s death. View Nelson memorabilia including his baby clothes, made for him by the citizens of his birthplace, Burnham Thorpe, in Norfolk.
SS Persia Story
This exhibition tells the remarkable story of the P & O liner, SS Persia, its links with Rolls-Royce and the Montagu family and its sinking by a German U-Boat during WWI. Following the world’s deepest salvage operation of its type, several of the ship’s artefacts, entombed for nearly one hundred years, are on display for the first time, including the door to the Bullion Room, behind which the salvage team had hoped to find the fortune in gold and jewels that the ship was believed to be carrying on its fateful final voyage.
Historic Cottage Displays
Visit the historic cottage displays to see how the village would have looked in the early 1800s and how inhabitants lived and worked. Compare the difference between the cramped home of a Labourer’s family with the more spacious home of a Shipwright craftsman in the village. Listen to the local gossip of the 1790s in The New Inn, the centre of village life, which served as a meeting place, committee room, offices and entertainment area.
The War Effort
In more recent times, the village played a significant role in the D-Day landings. Learn about the activity on the river during the years of WWII, the building of segments of the Mulberry Harbour, which were towed across to the Normandy coast in preparation for D-Day, and the many hundreds of landing craft that sailed from the Beaulieu River to support the Normandy landings. A film presentation tells the story of Buckler’s Hard at war.
Learn all about the exploits of the first solo world voyager, Sir Francis Chichester, who famously circumnavigated the globe in his yacht Gipsy Moth IV, with only one stop. He held a mooring at Buckler's Hard for many years and received a tumultuous welcome when he returned to the village after his record breaking circumnavigation. See a map plotting the epic journey and personal items from the voyage along with other artefacts.
19th & 20th Century Village Life
Find out about the transition of Buckler’s Hard in the 19th century from a thriving shipbuilding village to a sleepy rural hamlet. Discover who lived there, the changes that occurred and how it developed into a popular visitor destination in the 20th century. This new exhibition also tells the story of Stan Seaman who was born, grew up and worked in the village and who entertained visitors through his playing of many traditional musical instruments.