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Sailor's Woolwork of the Royal Navy Ship HMS Hero.

Sailor's Woolwork of The Royal Navy Ship HMS Hero,

Circa 1865-70.

The sailor's woolie depicts HMS Hero fully dressed with flags flying and a large red ensign from the main mast.  a Union Jack is seen at the bow of the ship as a sign that an Admiral is on board.  The name of the ship is woven with a wool plaque below the ship.  Across the top and sides is a large red theatrical curtain framing the ship.  The wool within a bird's eye maple frame.

Dimensions: 19 1/4 inches high x 23 1/2 inches wide.

This ship was the fourth named Hero.  It was a screw-propelled 91-gun second-rate launched in 1858 and sold 1871.

On the the July 1860 the Prince of Wales embarked on board HMS Hero [Albert Edward (Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Queen Victoria, and the future King Edward VII), was then 19 years of age, and en route to Newfoundland, Canada and the United States. He was the first member of the British royal family to visit North America.

In 1860 the Queen intended to pay a visit to Canada to open a new bridge over the St. Lawrence River and lay the first stone of the Federal Parliament building in Ottawa. At the age of forty one, stress prevented her from travelling.

Prime Minister Lord Palmerstone suggested that Bertie could represent the Queen in the Canadian trip. Victoria and Albert had some doubts about whether Bertie could rise to the occasion but at last it was decided that he should go.

On July 10, 1860, Bertie boarded the HMS Hero for Canada. On July 23, the ship arrived to Terranova. The Prince of Wales and his party travelled around Canada (Terranova, New Scotland, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick). By the second week of August, the HMS Hero sailed up the St. Lawrence River and anchored in Quebec. The Prince was successful with Canadian society; he visited Quebec and Montreal presiding over several public acts. In Ottawa he laid the first stone of the Parliament building.

When he visited Niagara Falls, he watched the French acrobat Blondin walk accross by tightrope He invited the Prince cross back with him over the Falls but was prevented by Bruce.

Bertie then visited the United States following an invitation by President James Buchanan. In Washington the President organised a reception at the White House in Bertie's honour. When he visited New York, the Prince was acclaimed by the crowd. His American journey was a great success. President Buchanan wrote to Queen Victoria: "He (Bertie) has faced a very difficult task for a person his age, and his behaviour in all this has been that of his age and position. He has shown himself honourable, frank and affable and he won the respect of the sensible and wise people". At the end of the journey, Bertie had gained maturity and self confidence.

Prince Albert refused to believe in Bertie's success. To him, the joyful acclamations of the Americans and Canadians were not really for Bertie but a sign of loyalty to the Queen. Bertie wanted to enter the army but his father refused and sent him back to study. Nevertheless, on March, 1861, Victoria and Albert changed their minds and allowed their son his wish.

Nellie Clifden

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