Photo of a man in a brown jacket and PPE vest looking up at a large Royal Naval figurehead

Plymouth City Council Leader, Tudor Evans takes a look at Royal William, affectionately known as King Billy

The monumental sculptures, all of which were carved between the 1830s and 1860s, are arriving from conservation studios in London, Helston and North Devon.

Their ground breaking restoration has taken nearly two years and was kick started in 2017 with funding secured from Interreg through its ‘Maritime, Military and Industrial Atlantic Heritage’ (MMIAH) project.

Delivering, unloading and installing the figureheads began on Monday and is set to take around a fortnight.

They’re arriving in batches of three or four at a time.

Some are over four metres high and the largest, known as ‘King Billy’, weighs around two tonnes. Working with objects of this scale means that at least four technicians are needed to manoeuvre each of them into the building.

Photo of a man in a brown jacket, PPE vest and hard hat standing next to the head of a large Royal Naval figurehead wearing a crown

Plymouth City Council Leader, Tudor Evans with the Royal Windsor figurehead

Tudor Evans, Plymouth City Council Leader said: “Seeing the figureheads that have arrived this week was just awesome. They are huge. It was brilliant to get a sneak peek at them and see just how remarkable they are up close. Returning them to their former glory so they can go on display is a huge achievement for all those involved. Everyone who visits The Box when it opens next year is going to be completely wowed by them.”

The figureheads are set to be displayed in an impressive flotilla in the main entrance to The Box. 13 of them will be suspended from the ceiling while King Billy will stand on the floor with an eye catching display of nearly 300 ship’s badges behind him.

Once this month’s install is complete they will be covered up ready for a big reveal in 2020.

In the meantime, you can find out more about their history and their restoration here.