Figureheads install underway at The Box


Council leader Tudor Evans goes face to face with King Billy

The installation of 14 gigantic Royal Naval figureheads is well and truly underway at The Box.

The monumental sculptures, all of which were carved between the 1830s and 1860s, are arriving from conservation studios in London, Helston and North Devon.

Their ground breaking restoration has taken nearly two years and was kick started in 2017 with funding secured from Interreg through its ‘Maritime, Military and Industrial Atlantic Heritage’ (MMIAH) project.

Delivering, unloading and installing the figureheads began on Monday and is set to take around a fortnight. They’re arriving in batches of three or four at a time.

Some are over four metres high and the largest, known as ‘King Billy’, weighs around two tonnes.

Tudor and the fabulous face of the figurehead, the Royal Windsor

Working with objects of this scale means that at least four technicians are needed to manoeuvre each of them into the building.

Tudor Evans, Plymouth City Council Leader said: “Seeing the figureheads that have arrived this week was just awesome. They are huge. It was brilliant to get a sneak peek at them and see just how remarkable they are up close. Returning them to their former glory so they can go on display is a huge achievement for all those involved. Everyone who visits The Box when it opens next year is going to be completely wowed by them.”

The figureheads are set to be displayed in an impressive flotilla in the main entrance to The Box. 13 of them will be suspended from the ceiling while King Billy will stand on the floor with an eye catching display of nearly 300 ship’s badges behind him.

Once this month’s install is complete they will be covered up ready for a big reveal in 2020. In the meantime, you can find out more about their history and their restoration by visiting www.theboxplymouth.com/figureheads