Plymouth, England – Day Four – Mayflower Museum

For our final morning we headed back to the Barbican to visit the Mayflower Museum which covered the pilgrims and their journey to America.

The museum was spread over three small floors. The top floor covered the indigenous people whose lives had been irrevocably changed by the arrival of Europeans along with looking at those who were decended from the early arrivals. The second floor looked at the bachground to why the crossing was made and who was on the ship. And the final floor was looking at recent views on the Mayflower and its significance to both Plymouth and beyond.

One revelation was that the Mayflower wasn’t supposed to be setting sail from Plymouth at all but actually from Southampton and if things had worked out differently we would be talking about the former and not the latter. It turned out that the pilgrims were coming from The Netherlands where they had originally fled to escape religious persecution in England. Unhappy there they had decided to move to the Americas and set sail in a boat called Speedwell stopping at Southampton where they joined a second boat, the Mayflower, that was also to make the journey.

Both ships set sail but it wasn’t long before the Speedwell sprung a leak and both ships turned around to allow repairs to be made ending up at Plymouth. It was here that it was discovered that the Speedwell wasn’t fit to make the crossing so they all boarded the Mayflower and set off for what must have been a pretty unpleasant voyage.

There is a sign in the Barbican that says something like “There are 52 Plymouths around the world but only one original”. One wonders whether that would be the case had the Speedwell and the Mayflower completed the journey from Southampton as originally planned.

And that was the end of our Plymouth adventure. I have to say that I enjoyed the places that we visited while here but the city itself could do with an awful lot of TLC.

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