The Development of Ships

We have a wide range of model ships showing their development from early Viking craft, through medieval and later sailing ships to 19th and 20th-century powered craft. Don’t miss our new exhibit on the “Last gasp of Sail”.

There is a section on modern ships built at the Appledore shipyard, including the bow sections of the new aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales, and a series of coastal patrol craft for the Irish navy.

Ship Building

There are several exhibits displaying wooden-ship building tools, sail-making, and rope manufacture. Throughout the museum, you will find half-models of locally built ships. In particular, there is a magnificent model of HMS Tees, built in Bideford in 1814.

There is a section on the history of Richmond Dry Dock, now unused but still on view in Appledore. There is a model of a 19th-century local shipyard.

Ship build alternative image - NDMM
Tall image - ship building - NDMM
Friendly team
Our experienced team are always on hand to help during your visit.
Great for all ages
Our museum has something for everybody, no matter your age.
Interactive experience
We have “hands-on” exhibits including films, models and a telescope.
Shop on site
Treat yourself to a little memento from our well-stocked, gift shop.

Navigation & Maritime Activities

A difficult but critical issue for sailors. We show a range of navigation instruments, compasses, telescopes, sextants, charts and maps. There is a ship’s wheel and engine-room telegraph. Conversely, there is an exhibit focussing on local wrecks and lifeboat activity.

Maritime Activities
North Devon suffered the predations of Corsair pirates and was the home of several famous pirates and privateers of our own. Smuggling too was a common practice; we have an exhibit of some of the weapons used in these activities. There are also exhibits covering emigration, cooperage, gravel barges on the Torridge and the limestone trade.

Navigation - Main Image - NDMM

World War 2

French frogman, René Le Roy (he trained our first naval frogmen at HMS Appledore), stands guard to our “war room” where we exhibit a range of photographs and film of local activities for the preparation of the D-Day landings (COXE – the Combined Operations Experimental Establishment), a section of PLUTO (Pipeline Under the Ocean), and “Hobart’s Funnies” (The work of General Sir Percy Hobart). There is also an exhibit about HMS Bideford.


Historical sections

Historical Perspectives
There is a display about Sir Richard Grenville, a 16th-century sailor born in nearby Bideford. We also have several tableaux showing historical marine events, and a model of Appledore Quay in the days of sail; many of today’s buildings are still recognisable.

Local Social History
Throughout the Museum you will find exhibits about local activities: a typical Appledore kitchen at the turn of the 20th century, now disappeared railways, ferries, ancient and modern local pottery, an “Appledore Frock”, and well-known people who made up the community.

Historical sections - NDMM

Interested in a visit to the museum?
Contact us today.

Whether you need to book a group visit or have a general enquiry, you can contact us by any of the methods below.

Museum opening times:
Our opening times are 10:30am until 5pm.

7 days a week between March 25th and October 31st 2024

Last Entry 4pm.

North Devon Maritime Museum,
5 Odun Rd, Appledore, Bideford EX39 1PT
  • Friendly, knowledgeable team
  • Great for all age groups
  • Interactive Museum Experience
  • Museum shop on site

Contact our team