Royal Navy museum to exhibit historic replica of HMS Victory in Portsmouth to mark Battle of Trafalgar anniversary
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The world’s only known scale model of HMS Victory from the time of the major battle will put on permanent display this weekend – which marks the event’s 218th anniversary – at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. It will be available to view at the National Museum of the Royal Navy from Saturday, October 21 – also known as Trafalgar Day.
From Victory’s second Great Repair 220-years-ago to the current once-in-a-lifetime, decade-long Big Repair, the builder’s block model is a superb snapshot in time and a key piece of evidence from the early 19th century. Used together with artworks and archaeological research, the model helps build a picture of what Victory looked like during this period.
By comparing the model with present-day Victory using photogrammetry – which turns photographs into 3D images – archaeologists at the National Museum can highlight the similarities and differences between them.
Andrew Baines, HMS Victory Project Director, The National Museum of the Royal Navy said: “The model’s unveiling provides a remarkable before and after as Victory is currently undergoing a Big Repair. Today we use new techniques and innovative technology, including digital modelling, to plan our Victory repairs and conservation works. In the early nineteenth century, a builder’s block was the equivalent - a perfect 3D prototype. “
The 1:48 scale model, which measures 142cm long, was recently acquired with funding support from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Society of Nautical Research, and the HMS Victory Endowment Fund.
Dr Simon Thurley CBE, chairman of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, said: “The Battle of Trafalgar is one of the most significant naval battles ever, and a seminal moment in the history of the UK. It is wonderful news that this handsome ship model of HMS Victory, that has been acquired thanks to a National Heritage Memorial Fund grant of £247,000, will go on display at the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth to mark Trafalgar Day.”
Dr David Davies, chairman of The Society for Nautical Research added: “The Society for Nautical Research, which has administered the Save the Victory Fund since its inception in 1922, was delighted to be able to donate £150,000 from the fund towards the purchase for the nation of this unique survival.”
The HMS Victory Endowment Fund contributed £295,000.
When Victory was 35 years old, worn out by long service, rot and battle action, the ship commenced a major refit and was extensively remodelled. She then embarked on what was to be her defining journey to lead the British fleet to victory at the Battle of Trafalgar 1805. The model shows how Victory’s hull changed in the 40 years between her construction and the Battle of Trafalgar. It also shows some changes that were considered, but never made.
Entry to the gallery is included in a ticket to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The Ultimate Explorer Ticket is the best value option for 12-month entry to all the attractions at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and starts from £44 per adult and £29 per child. Book online at www.historicdockyard.co.uk .