THE aim is to ensure HMS Warrior remains a stunning attraction for years to come.
Now The Warrior Preservation Trust’s plans have taken a step forward after it received an £89,000 grant from The Heritage Lottery Fund to help get it off the ground.
HMS Warrior is one of the main attractions at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and is owned and operated by the trust.
It hopes to carry out essential conservation work to replace the bulwarks and water bar on both sides of the upper deck.
And some of the ship’s archive material could also be better used and digitalised to enable it to be seen by a larger audience.
To ensure everything happens, the trust needs to apply for a further £3.6m grant from the fund later in the year, and it will find out by March 2015 whether it has been successful.
The grant that’s already been secured will be spent on consultancy fees and developing the overall project.
Tim Ash, who took over captaincy of HMS Warrior on Monday, said: ‘What we have been given is phase one of development money.
‘The major part of the investment is preservation.
‘There are lots of bits of wood on the upper deck which is rotten and, from a safety point of view, has to be replaced.
‘We also want to bring in new things.
‘We want to look into our archives to see what we can do.
‘There are lots of diaries and papers from people who used to serve on HMS Warrior in the 19th century.
‘We want to bring those to life so people can see what life was like on a working warship.’
The trust also needs to find another £1m which would come through fundraising.
HMS Warrior 1860 was the first iron-hulled, armoured warship in the world, built to meet the threat of a French invasion.
She was in commission for 22 years, mainly serving in home waters.
However, as ship technology developed, she soon became obsolete and by the turn of the 20th century, she was on sale for scrap.
From then on, she took on a series of unglamorous roles, ending as a refuelling pontoon for oil tankers at Pembroke Dock.
Talks about her possible restoration began in 1967 and in 1979 she was taken to Hartlepool where restoration work began.