Mayflower II and Maritime Collections


  Chart of North Sea, Frederick de Wit, Amsterdam, c1675

1.         Chart of North Sea, Frederick de Wit, Amsterdam, c1675

In order to escape religious persecution, members of the Scrooby congregation led by Rev. Richard Clifton, Rev. John Robinson and Elder William Brewster, journeyed across the North Sea from the east coast of England to the Netherlands. After initial settlement in Amsterdam, they eventually moved to Leyden, a textile city with a renowned university and a population of 40,000.


 Waistcoat, wool and polyester, London, 1957

2.         Waistcoat, wool and polyester, London, 1957, gift of Mike Ford (1957 crew member)

The crew of the 1957 Mayflower II voyage was issued 17th-century costumes to wear on Sundays and for photo-ops. These were made by a London theatrical costuming firm. Considering that Mayflower II took the southern route across the Atlantic, the outfit was no doubt uncomfortable!


  Canvas bag of shipwright’s tools, English, 1930-1950

3.         Canvas bag of shipwright’s tools, English, 1930-1950, donated by the family of Edgar Mugridge (1957 crew member)

The art of wooden ship-building was dying by the time Mayflower II was built in 1956-57.  These tools belonged to shipwright Edgar Mugridge, who worked at the J.W. & A. Upham Ltd. shipyard in Brixham, Devon. Mugridge accompanied the 1957 voyage as a “chippie” or ship’s carpenter. He was on hand to make necessary repairs.


 Binoculars and leather case, c1957

4.         Binoculars and leather case, c1957

Mayflower II captain Alan Villiers inscribed the leather case with “April 22, 1957.”  That day was reserved for ship trials to familiarize the crew with Mayflower II. They left for Plymouth the next day.


 Mayflower II Emergency Rations, 1957

5.         Emergency Rations, 1957

Mayflower II was required to carry emergency rations like these biscuits.


Life Ring from Mayflower II

6.         Life Ring from Mayflower II, English, cork and leather, 1957

When Mayflower II sailed, the British Ministry of Safety classified the vessel as a yacht, so that it had a chance of meeting safety standards.  The Ministry required that the ship carry six life rings, six lifeboats, a radio and emergency rations.


Captain's Log of Mayflower II, 1957

7.         Log of Mayflower II, 1957

Captain Alan Villiers and the first and second mates kept track of each day’s happenings, the ship’s course and its speed. The voyage from Brixham to Plymouth lasted 54 days.



 Special Mayflower II mail with Mayflower Compact

8.         Ship’s Mail

More than 100,000 pieces of Mayflower Mail were hand-cancelled by crew members on board Mayflower II’s 1957 voyage.  The envelope had a copy of the Mayflower Compact inside.




 Ships at Sea, by Wenceslas Hollar, c1650

9.         Print, Ships at Sea, by Wenceslas Hollar, c1650

In August 1620, two ships, Mayflower and Speedwell, left Southampton, England, bound for the northern part of Virginia. We know from documents that Mayflower was a 180-ton brigantine. Although it has a Dutch flag, the ship on the left is similar to Mayflower in size and rigging.


Cross-staff from the 1957 Mayflower II voyage

10.       Cross-staff (reproduction) from the 1957 Mayflower II voyage, England, 1957

The cross-staff was an early navigational instrument used for calculating latitude.  This helped mariners know where the ship was and if it was on course.  While safety regulations required that Mayflower II staff use modern instruments, a few period-correct reproductions were used for show.

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