Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

'England expects': Nelson as a symbol of local and national identity within the museum

By Sheila Watson

Abstract

This paper was published as Museum and Society, 2006, 4 (3), pp. 129-151. It is available from http://www.le.ac.uk/ms/museumsociety.htmlWhen Admiral Lord Nelson died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 his lifetime\ud achievements and his agonizing death elevated him to the status of a national\ud hero. While his reputation, significance and influence have waxed and waned his\ud importance to British national identity has rarely been questioned. When, in 2002\ud a new Nelson Museum was founded in Great Yarmouth, a unique opportunity\ud was offered to examine Nelson’s contemporary influence on the public imagination\ud and his importance in the articulation of identity, both personal and communal.\ud The research which is reported here was undertaken in 2004 and during 2005,\ud the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar and Nelson’s death. It focused on the\ud key players at the museum, the founders, the Curator, volunteers and visitors,\ud using primary source documents and qualitative interviews. The findings suggest\ud that Nelson was, without commemorative reminders in 2004, an important\ud symbol of identity that has for most become disassociated from his military\ud triumphs. The bicentenary reminded people of his naval exploits and his role in\ud the defence of Britain thus re-enforcing his importance in history. This research\ud also suggests that for some Nelson has become symbolic of English rather than\ud British identity

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/7357
Journal:

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. (1996). A Heritage Trail for Great Yarmouth, Qualitative Research, Report for the Great Yarmouth Heritage Partners, Great Yarmouth Museums files. doi
  2. (2004). An Interview with Ron Fiske’, The Nelson Dispatch,
  3. (2004). Britain as Island: National Identity and the
  4. (2004). Britishness since 1870, doi
  5. (2003). Britons: Forging doi
  6. (1997). Concepts of Identity and Difference’,
  7. (1999). Culture, Community, Nation’ doi
  8. (1911). edition, originally published 1841) On Heroes and Hero Worship, London: Ward Lock and Co Ltd.
  9. (2002). England expects’: Nelson as a symbol of local and national identity 149museum and society,
  10. (1983). Finest Hour: Winston S. Churchill doi
  11. (1995). Foreword’,
  12. (1996). Great Yarmouth Heritage Strategy, doi
  13. (1997). Great Yarmouth Heritage Trail, Focus Group Findings, Great Yarmouth Museums files.
  14. (1996). Hail the Return of Our Great Local Hero’, Eastern Daily Press newspaper cutting in the Norfolk Nelson Museum Archives,
  15. (2004). Heroes,
  16. (1999). History, Modernity and Nationalism,’
  17. (1965). Horatio Nelson, The Terror of the Seas,’
  18. (2002). Horatio Nelson,’ doi
  19. (2002). Identity of England, doi
  20. (2005). If You Seek His Monument,’ doi
  21. (1983). Imagined Communities, London: Verso Anon. (undated) The 1805 Club, recruitment leaflet obtained in 2004, no publication details.
  22. (2005). In Nelson’s Footprints,’
  23. (2006). Island Stories: British Historical Tradition and its Afterlife’, Times Literary Supplement,
  24. (2006). Kelly vows that new debate on immigration will engage critically with multiculturalism’,
  25. (2004). Lessons in Englishness and Empire, c.1880 – 1914: Further Thoughts on the English/British Conundrum’, in
  26. (1979). Ministry of Morale, doi
  27. (1991). Minorities and Fine-Arts Museums in the United States,’
  28. (1996). Museums and Globalisation,’ doi
  29. (2005). Museums, Communities and the Politics of Heritage in Northern Ireland,’ doi
  30. (2003). Museums, national, postnational and transcultural identities’,
  31. (1994). Nationalism and High Cultures’
  32. (1983). Nations and Nationalism, doi
  33. (2004). Nelson, A Dream of Glory,
  34. (1994). Nelson, a Personal History,
  35. (2004). Nelson, Britannia’s God of War, doi
  36. (1967). Nelson’s Navy,
  37. (1996). Nostalgia for a Gilded Past? Museums in Minas Gerais, Brazil,’
  38. (1911). On Heroes and Hero Worship,
  39. (2002). One Hundred Heroes and More’, doi
  40. (2002). Origins of Public Maritime History, The Royal Navy and doi
  41. (2002). Patriots. National Identity in Britain, doi
  42. (2004). Redefining Britannia: the role of ‘Marginal’ Generations in Reshaping British National Consciousness’,
  43. (2004). SeaBritain
  44. (1942). Tales of Today,
  45. (2004). The Antiquity of Nations, Cambridge and Malden:
  46. (1988). The Commemoration of the Hero,
  47. (1982). The Companion Guide to East Anglia,
  48. (1997). The Construction of Nationhood, Cambridge: doi
  49. (1995). The Immortal Memory,’
  50. (2005). The Immortal Memory’,
  51. (2003). The Making of English National Identity, Cambridge: doi
  52. (2005). The Nelson Dispatch,’
  53. (1997). The New History in an Old Museum: Creating the Past at Colonial Williamsburg, Durham and London, doi
  54. (1971). The People’s War, London: doi
  55. (1999). The Power of Film Propaganda, Myth or Reality? doi
  56. (2005). The Pursuit of Victory: The Life and Achievement of Horatio doi
  57. (1999). Theatres of Memory: Volume 1: Past and Present in Contemporary Culture, doi
  58. (2003). Theories of Social Remembering, Maidenhead,
  59. (1997). Trustees Vision Statement 1, Joe Woodcock Private papers.
  60. (2004). White Past, Multicultural Present: Heritage and National Stories’,
  61. (2000). Why a Museum of Scotland?’
  62. (2004). You’re History!” Media Representation, Nationhood and the National Past’

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.