New Exhibition: The Story of Mayflower II

Exhibition at Gainsborough Heritage Centre

The Heritage Centre has worked closely with the Mayflower 400 project and Pilgrim Roots so the Centre may offer a schedule of exhibitions highlighting different aspects of the Mayflower voyage. The Centre is showcasing the fascinating untold story of the Mayflower II and is presenting a collection of memorabilia courtesy of Victoria and Randal Charlton, Warwick Charlton’s children.

Alongside the Centre’s temporary exhibition that shares the story of the Mayflower II project, the exhibition also tells the story of the original voyage in 1620.

Chairman, Andrew Birkitt, said that “we are proud to be telling the amazing story of the Mayflower II and how this replica ship in 1957 retraced the historic voyage of our ancestors from back in 1620. Randal, son of Warwick Charlton who decided to recreate the Mayflower ship and voyage has written a book titled ‘The Wicked Pilgrim’ that details ‘The True Story of the Englishman who gave Mayflower II to America’. As a Centre, we are privileged to announce that this momentous book is for sale in the Centre and is currently the only shop in the North of England where a copy of this book can be purchased.”

The exhibition includes many historic documents relating to the celebration of the 63rd anniversary of the Mayflower II voyage. Exhibits such as a letter signed by Bill Clinton sent from the White House, Washington in 1997 congratulating Warwick Charlton on his fantastic and worthwhile project. The letter also highlighted the achievements of those people who made what was at that time a dangerous voyage to start their new life in America. There are many fascinating documents, photographs and memorabilia alongside this item including a Certificate of Pilgrimage given to Randal Charlton and a copy of an envelope and the Compact that was written and mailed out to families from the ship.

On display is an article from the Gainsborough News dated 5 May 1970 that details the 350th anniversary of the Mayflower.

Exhibitions Officer Lynne Birkitt said, ‘it is a good opportunity to come and see the untold story of the Mayflower II but also gain knowledge of the original voyage from 1620 and our local connection. We also have a fantastic video installation outlining the story with unseen footage made available for the public.’

Find fascinating artefacts relating to the voyage of the Mayflower II.
Discover Gainsborough’s connection to the Mayflower story.

The exhibition details the Mayflower story that originally began with the creation of a popular movement towards freedom of religious belief during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign. The English people wished to have their own freedom to worship God in their own way, separate from a state religion. The original Mayflower set sail to America from the South of England in Plymouth with the core of Pilgrims coming from Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire. Make sure you visit the Heritage Centre to learn more about Mayflower II and Gainsborough’s fascinating connection with the original Mayflower story.

Andrew adds, ‘we are holding a talk on Wednesday 21 October titled ‘Puritans, Pilgrims, Saints and Strangers’ by Margaret Watkins at Gainsborough House. The Centre is also working on arranging a talk to be given by Randal Charlton on the story of Mayflower II so please check our Facebook page or website for further details.’

The Centre and Telephone Exchange tea room is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10am to 4pm and Sundays from 11am to 4pm. Entry is £3 with the last admission to the Centre at 3.30pm. The Centre can now take card payments.

Further details can be obtained about the Heritage Centre by visiting or by emailing [email protected] or call 01427 610526.