Put out more flags!
The Trafalgar has just been dressed overall with newly-installed union jacks, hoisted on all sides including humble Crane Street. Four have also been installed on the Trafalgar’s flank wall and a set of windows revealed replacing thosse bricked up over the kitchen so folk couldn’t peer into the engine room of the hospitality venue.
Frank Dowling, who hails from Manhattan, took over the establishment from Dillon Wood who understood the significance of this British landmark that celebrates our national hero. Naval units from every seafaring nation used to line their decks to receive the expected salute from the Royal Steps of the Royal Naval College; the handsome gates were opened for the duty officer to take the salute, often escorted by a guard duty mounted by the Inspector of the Admiralty Police.
It was the custom that visiting naval vessels passing upstream lowered their ensigns in respect as commanded from the Bridge. If well briefed and warned, landlord Dillon would organise a salute in response to those gathered and called to attention by firing a small signal cannon and lowering his ensign in respect. Visitors and the Greenwich Police were always informed of this ceremony.
Nowadays there is no requirement for this interesting gesture as the University of Greenwich and Trinity Laban thrive within these historic buildings. The upkeep and care of estate management is of the highest standard and they should be congratulated on their upgrading whenever possible.
Do visit this famous tavern and inspect the amazing collection of naval and maritime craft captured by various artists through the centuries, many acquired from Dick Moy’s collections of Greenwich through Frank’s diligence in spotting those works at the auction held in their grand ballroom.
I should report on a maritime drama just off shore on a neap tide, when a small yacht took to going into Newcastle Dock on the Isle of Dogs after a dramatic incident. The elderly skipper took the unusual opportunity to run aground. Before you could say ‘Jack Robinson’ the RNLI rib based at Waterloo appeared in the company of the fire brigade rescue float, the River Police and the Port of London’s Harbour Master launch – a very impressive turnout, much to the embarrassment of the Skipper. I know how he felt, having experienced a similar incident in my youth up on the River Colne at East Mersea!!