SHE was the pride of Queen Victoria’s fleet as Britain’s first iron-hulled warship.
Now HMS Warrior is the pride of the nation after she was named one of the UK’s top attractions by government heritage chiefs.
The 19th century warship at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has won accreditation from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.
The award, which comes ahead of celebrations to mark 150 years since the ship was launched, is a timely boost for tourism bosses who say Warrior measures up to the Mary Rose and other national treasures such as the Tower of London.
Ken Jones, Captain of HMS Warrior 1860, said: ‘Accreditation reflects the recent efforts that have gone into improving our methods and developing our archives. Warrior is now a lot more than just the biggest maritime artefact in the UK.’
The ship, which was the largest, fastest and most powerful ship of her day, attracts tens of thousands of visitors to Portsmouth every year.
Staff at the Historic Dockyard have been working flat out to meet the high standards to win accreditation from the MLA.
Jane Skinner, HMS Warrior business development manager, said: ‘This is exciting and rewarding news.
‘Accreditation is the culmination of years of work to bring Warrior up to professional standards and ensures she survives for future generations to explore and enjoy.’
She added: ‘I am grateful to all those involved for getting Warrior to this standard and for their dedication and enthusiasm.’
HMS Warrior is the third attraction at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to receive the MLA’s Museum Accreditation, joining the Mary Rose Museum and the National Museum of the Royal Navy.
Andrew Motion, Chair of the MLA, said being awarded accreditation was an ‘impressive achievement’.
He added: ‘It recognises the high standard and service that Warrior provides and acknowledges the hard work of the trustees, staff and volunteers. Warrior is a valuable learning resource for people of all ages and she contributes to the local economy by encouraging tourism and plays a key role in caring for the UK’s cultural heritage.’