Taxi drivers and other residents often ask about the Nelson Four Poster Bed that used to adorn the Dockyard Museum and later the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda. It seems to have been a very popular exhibit. After a lapse of many years it is now on show again, having been restored with funds from the Dockyard Museum Fund.
What of the history of this wonderful artifact? Many older Antiguans remember it as being in a dilapidated state in the so-called Admiral's House (now known as the Naval Officer's House).
After the Dockyard was closed down in 1889 all property of the Navy was sold and became scattered among the surrounding houses of the district. When Governor Sir Reginald St.-Johnston started rehabilitating the Dockyard about 1930, he bought back some of the original furniture believed to have once been in the Naval Officer's House.
In 1963 the four-poster was noticed by Lady Campbell (of London's English Harbour Repair Fund) to be in very poor condition and she very kindly sent it to London to be restored by Charles Howard Decoration Ltd.  Before being shipped back to Antigua the restored bed was placed in the Victoria & Albert Museum, where it was hoped it would create further interest in the Friends of English Harbour Society. Then it was shipped out by Harrison line in early 1963 and placed as a Dockyard Museum exhibit.
Had the bed really been Nelson's? Experts believe it to be of Regency style (c.1820), but this post dates Nelson. Admirals never slept in Dockyards anyway, especially Nelson, as he was being hounded for arrest, so could not often come ashore. The St. John's merchants were after him for upsetting their trade with North America, which had just become independent from Great Britain, thus subject to the Navigation Act.
It is believed that Nelson could never have used this bed, but for sure, it was found in the Admiral's House so IT IS NELSON'S BED BY LEGEND AND ALWAYS WILL BE!
Note* Nelson's Bed can be viewed at The Dockyard Museum.
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