Nutcrackers will ‘bring the navy story to life’ at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

The Amy Hackett School of Dance, Southsea at the dockyard with the nutcrackers. From left, Marie Mitchell, eight, Evan Ashdown, eight, Evie Baldwin, seven, and Cosmo Thomson, seven Picture: Chris Stephens
The Amy Hackett School of Dance, Southsea at the dockyard with the nutcrackers. From left, Marie Mitchell, eight, Evan Ashdown, eight, Evie Baldwin, seven, and Cosmo Thomson, seven Picture: Chris Stephens
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DECORATIVE statues will soon mark the path of a treasure trail at one of the city’s most-loved locations.

Life-size Christmas nutcrackers are set to be installed at Portsmouth Dockyard next week.

Each of the 12 figures will be painted to relate to a verse in a special Royal Navy-themed version of the 12 Days of Christmas.

Some of the designs on-show will pay homage to aircraft carriers, navy wrens, tattoo culture among sailors and Henry VIII.

Their presentation next weekend will coincide with Portsmouth Historic Dockyard’s hotly-anticipated Festival of Christmas.

However ahead of their full artistic makeover, the figures made an appearance at the city hot spot yesterday afternoon – where visitors caught a glimpse of the festive fun to come.

John Rawlinson, director of visitor experience at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, said: ‘The nutcrackers are amazing – we could never have foreseen that they would bring the story of the navy alive in such an imaginative way.

‘What is really moving is that each statue has its own unique story, about the ordinary and the extraordinary people who have made history from Henry VIII and Lord Nelson to the pioneering wrens and Jutland Jack, the youngest recipient of the Victoria Cross in the First World War.

‘Visitors will discover the 12 statues and the inspiration behind them with our special Nutcrackers on Parade trail which leads them on to the historic ships and into the museums. We can’t think of a better way to spend a winter’s day with friends and family and it promises to be a real boost to the site over the Christmas holidays.’

The figures – decorated by Wild in Art, a collective from the north of England – will remain at the dockyard until Monday, January 8.

A selection of them will then go to auction in February, in a bid to raise cash for the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

Mr Rawlinson added: ‘Our partner Wild in Art has come up trumps with an incredible way to tell this story. ‘They have an enviable reputation in bringing art to the people and we know our visitors will love it.’