That would have been in 1806. I am sure you all recall that Admiral Nelson fell at the hands of a French sharp shooter as he sailed HMS Victory into the fray at the Battle of Trafalgar and died shortly thereafter in the arms of his flagship's captain Hardy. That date - I know, you all know that date - was 21 October 1805.
|Nelson falls on deck from sharpshooter's ball|
|Nelson's funeral barge|
60 ships escorted the barge on its melancholy voyage from Greenwich to Whitehall - it took all day.
The next day, the casket was placed on a funeral carriage and taken in procession to St. Paul's Cathedral. The "hearse" was pretty fancy, even for then!
People lined the streets along the route, which had been previously published as a memorial to Nelson. One chap, obviously in attendance, wrote to friend that "the sound of all the men removing their hats as the carriage went by sounded like a wave breaking on the shore." He also noted that the procession was so long, that when the head of it reached St. Paul's, the tail had yet to leave the palace of Whitehall!
At the cathedral, 12 of Nelson's sailors lifted the coffin from the carriage and carried it in, while 6 admirals held a canopy of black velvet over it. French and Spanish flags, captured at Trafalgar hung from the dome of the church.
The 4 hour service was lit by a huge lantern, specially constructed for the event which contained 130 individual lamps. Thousands of mourners, each having purchased a ticket, viewed the ceremony, which offered the music of some of the world's finest composers: Handel, Purcell, Arne, and Croft.
While Admiral Nelson's remains still lie in St, Paul's, but perhaps more visible to any who look, is the tower, Nelson's Column, in Trafalgar Square.
They really did it right, for their heroes, back then, didn't they!