Memorial to Sir Hugh Willoughby
Porcelain plaque painted with three galleons at sea, set in a roughly hewn stone. The plaque comprises six porcelain tiles forming a hemisphere. The three upper tiles are decorative as above; the three tiles below the galleons are incised with text.
Commemorates the site where in 1553 a number of ships set sail under the command of Sir Hugh Willoughby to search for a north east passage to India.(1) The expedition under Sir Hugh Willoughby's command was unsuccessful - a storm separated the ships and Willoughby and his crew died off the coast of Russia. Sir Martin Frobisher set off again in 1576 to find the north west passage but failed, although he subsequently made two further attempts, also unsuccessfully. These voyages of exploration, and the crews who undertook them, are commemorated in this memorial stone.
The memorial stands above the Rotherhithe Tunnel, in the memorial park overlooking the Thames. The park was opened in 1922 by King George V. The idea came from the Bishop of Stepney for a people's park to replace the old Shadwell fish market.(2)
Letters incised in tiles:
THIS TABLET IS IN MEMORY OF / SIR HUGH WILLOUGHBY, STEPHEN BOROUGH, / WILLIAM BOROUGH, SIR MARTIN FROBISHER / AND OTHER NAVIGATORS WHO, IN THE LATTER / HALF OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY, SET SAIL / FROM THIS REACH OF THE RIVER THAMES NEAR / RATCLIFF CROSS / TO EXPLORE THE NORTHERN SEAS. / ERECTED BY THE LONDON COUNTY COUNCIL, 1922
PMSA recording information