January 2016 | Fiona Karn-Smith

Every January at the Old Royal Naval College, we toast a glass of port to the Immortal Memory of Admiral Lord Nelson.

Nelson was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar 1806. His body was brought home to England and he lay in state in the Painted Hall, before being taken up river by barge to St Paul’s Cathedral for his state funeral.

As with all such customs, The Immortal Memory's exact origins are hard to trace and it probably evolved gradually, rather than being specifically introduced on any particular occasion. The word ‘immortal’ was often applied to Nelson even when he was alive. But it was most in use during the months immediately following his death and a number of private toasts to his memory were drunk when the news of Trafalgar arrived in England in early November. The first recorded public event at which it was used was not until 1811, when a dinner was held on Trafalgar Day at The Green Man public house near Greenwich.

Take a look at our pick of pictures from Sunday.


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