Matchstick marvels on display at Southampton's Tudor House museum

Daily Echo: David Reynolds with his model of 1902 square rigger Preussen. David Reynolds with his model of 1902 square rigger Preussen.

THE humble matchstick and a former seafarer turned model maker are the stars of a new exhibition in Southampton.

Over the past two decades David Reynolds has used millions of matchsticks to recreate some of the country’s most famous vessels.

Titanic and the Mayflower are among the famous ships recreated by the 55- year-old that will feature in the Matchstick Armada exhibition.

Running at the Tudor House Museum until September 7, it features a collection of David’s finest work, including models of HMS Victory, the RMS Queen Mary, the Mary Rose and a flying boat from RAF Calshot. He has even created a replica of the Tudor House, specially for the exhibition.

David, a former merchant navy sailor, is already a record holder for his matchstick exploits, having used the most matchsticks when building a giant replica of an oil rig.

The Daily Echo first revealed his unusual talent back in 2009 when he entered the rig model – which used four million matchsticks and took 15 years to complete – into the Guinness Book of World Records.

He has created more than 30 models at his Swaythling home, using millions of matchsticks in the process.

Now, with a veritable fleet of matchstick replica vessels under his belt, he is taking part in the first-ever exhibition solely devoted to his work.

He said: “I’ve had some items on show at the London Model Engineering Exhibition at Alexandra Palace, but this is the longest they will have ever been on display.

“I’ve been building models for years and my wife has always said that they should be exhibited.

“It’s going to be a very nice setting for them certainly – and it’s especially fitting to have a model of the Mary Rose being exhibited in the Tudor House.”

David, whose latest project is a model of Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannic, which was used as a hospital ship and sunk in the First World War, added: “My wife is happy, because there’s some space in the spare room now!”

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