SPPARC is a renowned London based studio of architects, designers and thinkers. Our design philosophies are innovative, yet pragmatic with a fluid style.

The Hinde


SPPARC have recently unveiled our design for a new museum and visitor centre for the Golden Hinde – a full-scale 300 tonne working replica of the 16th-century sailing galleon, in which Sir Frances Drake famously became the first Englishman to sail around the world. The proposed development of the museum and visitor centre, which is due to be submitted for planning later this year, will follow extensive refurbishment of the ship, which is currently underway in Bankside, London.


For the past few months, passers-by have been privy to a living museum on London’s Bankside.  St Mary Overie dock has been drained, whilst craftsmen work in situ on the renovation of the ship, using traditional tools and shipwright methods that haven’t been used in a London dock for generations.
Huge, 56 tonne, sustainably sourced, oak trees have been transported to London from the New Forest, National Trust in Sussex, Surrey and Kent to help return the ship to its former glory. The renovation will help set the scene for this new museum and visitor centre which will seek to assert the Golden Hinde as an important historical and cultural monument.
Comprised of two levels, the 1,125m² proposed scheme will feature a new ticket hall, an accessible education space which will explore the history of Drake, and an exhibition space. At the lower ground level, the new visitor centre will have an external covered walkway with viewing galleries to the ship, WC’s, and much-needed offices for staff.
The materiality of the museum and visitor centre echoes the same timber used for the creation and renovation of the ship. Crafted from solid English oak and glass, the proposed museum and visitor centre will wrap around the ship with the education centre seemingly hoovering over the water. In the spirit of The Port of London Authority’s 2035 Thames Vision, the proposal will open up new views of the River Thames, bringing more community and culture to the river banks.  More specifically, visitors will now be able to view a number of key locations along the river that have connections to Drake including Drakes home near Cannon Street and where the original Golden Hinde was moored near Custom House.
Glass will be used through the lower ground galleries to allow visitors to view the ship from different angles, whilst light and shadow effects cast from the timber structure of the visitor centre chart the route of Drake’s journey around the world in a unique exhibition.
SPPARC’s design approach aims to restore, preserve and interpret the history of both the original Golden Hinde and its famous shipman, and the colourful history of the replica herself. Indeed, the ship now moored at Bankside has had many adventures of her own, including her maiden voyage in 1974 in which she travelled more than 140,000 miles from Plymouth to San Francisco.
The Golden Hinde already attracts thousands of visitors annually, and is a recognized landmark for locals and tourists alike.  However, our proposal for a new museum and visitor centre aims to show that it is also an important part of the cultural and historical offering of the area. The proposal will provide visitors with an exceptional learning experience on the history of the ship and Sir Frances Drake, as well as a dedicated home for artefacts relating to the explorer, which are currently scattered around the world.