NEWPORT’S medieval ship, discovered on the banks of the Usk in 2002 in a construction site, is kept hidden away to keep its fragile timbers safe.
But now pedestrians strolling down the Riverside Walk will be able to see how she looked was more than 500 years ago, as a model of the city centre will be on view in the window of the University of South Wales.
The ship, a trading vessel which may even have been capable of transatlantic crossings in the 15th century, will form the centrepiece of a diorama which will also include Newport Castle and residential homes like those which would have spotted the riverbank in the city’s past.
School pupils at St Mary’s, St Michael’s and St Woolos primary schools are helping to build the model city by painting the plaster houses designed by Rubin Eynon, an artist well qualified for the task after already casting a miniature Big Pit, Caerphilly Castle and the Friary in Cardiff.
Funding of £8,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund has put wind in the sails of the project, as well as a painting by Anne Leaver of the ship moored on the Usk which inspires the layout.
Cllr Charles Ferris, from the Friends of Newport Ship, said the finished diorama would show a bird’s-eye view of how Newport would have appeared when the ship was afloat.
He added that if all goes to plan, it will be visible in the window of the Riverfront campus serving as a medieval ‘you are here’.
The six feet by four feet tableau will include houses of varying size, from smaller houses of poor Newport residents to larger, gabled houses for those enjoying the profits of trade from the city’s port.
“We hope to get it ready for the September term,” Cllr Ferris said. “We’re very pleased with it so far.”
Visit newportship.org to discover more about the ship.