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HMS Arethusa figurehead Grade II listed



An elegant wooden figurehead from the Royal Navy ship HMS Arethusa, which went into battle in the Crimean War in 1854, has been listed at Grade II by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England.

In Greek mythology, Arethusa was a sea nymph who fled from her home in Arcadia beneath the sea and came up as a fresh water fountain on the island of Ortygia in Syracuse in Sicily.  HMS Arethusa’s figurehead is depicted as a 3.5 metre high painted female bust with brown hair parted in the centre with ringlets. She is wearing a loose early Victorian period dress with a waistband and her right breast is exposed, as in the 19th century a naked woman was thought to be able to calm a storm at sea. The figurehead was carved by James Hellyer and Sons of London and Portsmouth who had a long tradition as ships’ carvers.

Commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1849, the 50 gun Fourth Rate sailing frigate was one of three training ships based in Kent from 1867. HMS Arethusa was decommissioned in 1874 and loaned by the Admiralty – a government department responsible for the command of the Royal Navy – to a charity called ‘Shaftesbury Homes and Arethusa’ as a training ship and boarding school for 250 destitute young boys. The boys were taught maritime skills, preparing them for service in the Royal Navy or Merchant Navy. She was moored next to the charity’s existing training ship ‘Chichester’ at Greenhithe in Kent before moving to Lower Upnor in the River Medway.

In 1929, a survey found the ship to be rotten and leaking and three years later HMS Arethusa was no longer viable. She was returned to the Admiralty and was sold to Castle’s ship-breakers in 1933. The figurehead was retained by the charity which is now known as Shaftesbury Young People and displayed at their onshore premises at Lower Upnor, Rochester. The site has since been developed into the Arethusa Venture Centre and the figurehead is sited at the front of the Centre, facing Upnor Reach, River Medway.

Michael Ellis, Heritage Minister said: “HMS Arethusa’s figurehead is a rare survivor of the Crimean War and an important symbol of Britain’s maritime heritage. By protecting it, we are ensuring that an important part of the country’s seafaring history is preserved for future generations.

Duncan Wilson Chief Executive of Historic England said: “The survival of former bow figureheads as statues helps demonstrate the rich and colourful history of our maritime past. HMS Arethusa’s figurehead is a tangible reminder of the heyday of sailing ships in the Royal Navy. By listing the figurehead, we can now be certain that its future and the power of the story behind the carving will not be lost.

There are four other listed figureheads in England including: the figurehead from the 1842 wreck of the Caledonia (Listed Grade II in 1985), the figurehead from HMS Wellesey dated c.1839 (Listed Grade II in 1971), figurehead believed to be from the barque Roseau (Listed Grade II in 1971) and the figurehead from the 1860 warship Admiral Lord Howe (Listed Grade II in 1983):

There are also five figureheads incorporated into listed buildings such as the Jolly Sailor Public House in Bursledon, Hampshire and the Old Carpenters Arms in Littlebury, Essex.

For more information about Historic England visit their website by clicking here.

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Andrea Marshall of the Marine Megafauna Foundation (Watch Video)



To mark International Women’s Day 2021, Scubaverse is sharing a series of videos that shine a light on some of the amazing women working in the world of scuba diving and marine conservation.

In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Andrea Marshall, co-founder, board member and principal scientist for the Marine Megafauna Foundation, about marine conservation and her work with Manta Rays.

Andrea is a passionate conservation biologist directing an experienced global team of Manta Ray researchers. She is a professional underwater photographer, technical diver and ocean explorer. A seasoned public speaker, educator and ocean ambassador, with on-camera experience. Andrea is also owner of Ray of Hope expeditions, an adventure-science travel company.

Find out more at

Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Mermaid Minute #1: Meet Mermaid Linden (Watch Video)



In this new series on we will be sharing Linden Wolbert’s video series ‘Mermaid Minute’.

The “Mermaid Minute” is an ocean educational web series for children.  Each action-packed episode explores one subject, creature or habitat about our oceans for 60 seconds.

Professional Mermaid Linden Wolbert is a real mermaid whose passion is educating children about the wonders of our oceans, swimming safety and ocean conservation as well as exploration and inspiring our world’s youngest ocean ambassadors.

Do you LOVE MERMAIDS? This is Episode #1 of the Mermaid Minute, the only ocean education web series hosted by a mermaid! Mermaid Linden created this for kids and anyone who LOVES OUR OCEANS!

See and learn more about Mermaid Linden here:

Follow Mermaid Linden here:​​

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email

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