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Nelson and Naval History at Old Royal Naval College

Naval history and tradition is celebrated at the Old Royal Naval College, even in the kitchen! Both their "Ships of the Line” and Rum & Raisin biscuits are firm ORNC favourites, two dishes that really bring history and food to life.

We love getting to grips with the numerous myths and legends that surround our venues. It allows us to be inventive and creative as we find ways to bring back some of these traditions, be it through creating modern interpretations or researching authentic ways to recreate the original version. Hence our Rum & Raisin biscuit at the ORNC, which pays tribute to the legend of Nelson’s blood, provides entertaining conversation and, of course, tastes delicious.


The Story of "Nelson’s blood”

Legend has it that, following his victory and death at the Battle of Trafalgar, Nelson's body was preserved in a large cask of rum to allow it to be transported back to England. Upon arrival, however, the cask was found to be dry, devoid of rum. Nelson’s preserved body was removed, and further inspection revealed that, undeterred by the corpse it surrounded, the sailors had drilled a hole in the bottom of the cask and drunk all the rum. This is how the term "Nelson's blood" came to describe rum.


The Ships of the Line

Another much-loved tradition at the ORNC is the parade of the "ships of the line”. Built onsite from wafers and chocolate, these beautiful ship-shaped edible artworks are used as petit four carriers to accompany coffee and tea at the close of a meal.


The lights are dimmed, the ships bedecked with sparklers and then paraded down the centre of the hall on their way to each table. It’s a great piece of food theatre, which adds some drama to the typical downtime of the after-dinner period and delights guests, and the ships are pretty tasty too!

“It’s amazing coming to work and hearing ‘Wow’ from every guest that steps into our beautiful Painted Hall. We love to work very closely with our guests to provide a bespoke experience by understanding the varied needs and delivering unique and unforgettable experiences to all.” - José Afonso, Ampersand General Manager at the Old Royal Naval College




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