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Pepys Show 16-17 April

30th March 2011

Take a peep at Pepys Show at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th April 2011 from 11am – 4.30pm. It's a free event for all ages.

In 1661 Samuel Pepys made his first visit to Portsmouth Dockyard and declared himself, ‘much pleased with the sight of the place’. Now, Samuel Pepys returns exactly 350 years after he started work for the Royal Navy.

Courtesy of the National Museum of the Royal Navy and historical interpreters of the History Re-enactment Workshop, Pepys’ diaries will be brought to life as they recreate the 17th century life and historical scenes in HMS Victory’s Starboard Arena and stroll throughout Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Visitors can meet Pepys, his long-suffering wife Elizabeth, Master Shipwright John Tippetts and a whole host of other characters that he would have known, including sea officers, sailors and their families. There will be something going on throughout the day between 11am and 4.30pm.

·         Listen in as Pepys conducts the Navy’s business in the Dock Office

·         Learn about how ships worked in the Gunner and Master’s Cabin

·         Help the cooks prepare Pepys’s dinner

·         Take away 17th century recipes and charts

Maintaining the Royal Navy at its Cromwellian size and efficiency was a major problem. The man who rose to the challenge was Samuel Pepys, who, as well as being a famous diarist, worked first at the Navy Board and then effectively created the Admiralty as an efficient department of state. For the almost thirty years following the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660, Pepys dominated naval administration and brought it to an unseen peak of professionalism.

Pepys' legacy to the Admiralty is still seen in civil servants today. He was determined to do his best for the Navy and as such was marked apart from many of his contemporaries who had wider political ambitions. He acted to root out corruption and improve discipline, training and conditions in the Navy. Today Pepys is better known for the famous Diary, written between 1660-1669, which was published after his death and give an unparalleled insight into the Restoration era. Now, his humorous accounts will be re-enacted for all visitors to witness at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

‘So little care there hath been till this day to know or keep any history of the Navy’  - Samuel Pepys, 1668

Activities throughout the day include:

  • Man the gun
  • The Gun Captain recruits and trains a new gun crew
  • Plot your course
  • The Ship’s Master teaches you how to navigate
  • Dinner is served
  • Join Samuel and his party for dinner

For further information see