HMS Wellington was a convoy protection ship during World War II, specialising in anti-submarine warfare. The ship sailed nearly a quarter of a million miles, escorting over 100 convoys, before being retired to the Victoria Embankment in 1948. To preserve and maintain this important historical ship for future generations, the Wellington Trust was founded in 2005. Their remit is to provide education experiences to schools and young people, whilst supporting historical understanding and learning for all.
Figment were approached to develop ideas that could bring the ships unique history back to life, helping to create a floating classroom where audiences could experience and engage with history, first hand.
In the ‘Wheelhouse’, the original ship’s wheel and engine controls are still intact, and for our first experience we installed sensors within the historical equipment to allow today’s guests to get hands on and take control of the Wellington, steering the ship on an important war time mission. The interactive experience was created in Unreal Engine and guests get to make decisions and communicate with ships travelling in a convoy, before being called into action on a mission to locate and chase down an enemy submarine. To deliver the illusion, the windows in the Wheelhouse are covered, and projection replaces the river Thames with the busy Atlantic Ocean!
Our second challenge was found below deck. The ships original steam turbine engines were removed after WWII, and our brief was to bring the engine room back to life, to provide guests with a sense of the scale and sound of these giant, historical engines. To achieve this, we installed a 6-metre-wide projection gauze to fill the room with authentic and large-scale CGI recreations of the steam turbines, gearboxes and giant propellors, all spinning and clunking. Guests can stand next to these to see and understand how the ship’s power was generated and how steam power was harnessed to propel the ship to her top speed of 16.5 knots (19 mph).