HMS Victory conservation project announces £35m renovation for flagship's 100th anniversary in Portsmouth dry dock

HMS Victory will be renovated under a £35m conservation project – marking the 100th anniversary of the ship arriving in Portsmouth.

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 10:42 am

Renovations on Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship include replacing rotten planks from the hull with oak.

The ship was brought into dry dock 2 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on January 12, 1922.

A dockyard spokeswoman said: ‘Rotting planking will be removed from the hull and replaced with new oak, repairs made to the ship’s structural framework, and she will be fully re-rigged, in a process lasting 10 to 15 years and costing £35m.

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The multi-million pound conservation project will involve replacing rotten planks from HMS Victory. Picture: Chris Stephens/NMRN/PA

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‘The project will provide visitors with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to see beneath Victory’s skin and experience a first-rate line-of-battle ship being taken through a great repair.’

Conservation work has been undergoing at HMS Victory over a 20-year period, including having its mast removed.

As part of the new renovations, the flag ship will also have repairs made to its structural framework and be fully re-rigged.

HMS Victory in Portsmouth in 1928 Picture: National Museum of the Royal Navy

HMS Victory remains at Portsmouth dry dock 2, where it has remained as the world’s oldest commissioned warship and the flagship of the First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff.

The dockyard spokeswoman said the 220 year old dry dock is a scheduled monument.

She added: ‘On January 12 1922, the world watched as Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson’s celebrated survivor from the Battle of Trafalgar was towed from her berth in Portsmouth Harbour and secured into the dry dock.

‘First floated out at Chatham in 1765, Victory enjoyed a varied career but by the 1920s was in poor condition and at risk of sinking at her mooring without considerable intervention.

Renovations have been undertaken at HMS Victory over a 20 year period, including having its mast removed. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.

‘Later in 1922, on October 21, Trafalgar Day, the ‘Save the Victory’ campaign by the Society for Nautical Research was publicly launched and continues to play a hugely significant role in securing the world-famous flagship for posterity.

‘Although Victory had been a popular tourist attraction when berthed in the harbour throughout the 19th century, she was opened as a museum ship to the public by King George V on July 17 1928 and has since welcomed more than 30 million visitors.

‘Since then, she has welcomed a host of famous visitors including royalty at dinners and balls, and survived a 500lb bomb dropped by the German Luftwaffe during the Second World War.

The recently-opened walkways underneath the ship Picture: National Museum of the Royal Navy

‘The dry dock itself is now part of a greatly enhanced visitor offer for Victory which, in addition to a self-guided tour of the ship, now includes the chance to descend into the dry dock under the enormous hull on a dedicated walkway, weaving through the recently completed and new state-of-the-art support system.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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