Repair work will soon get underway aboard a Victorian battleship, the HMS Warrior, which was once a part of the high-tech marine fleet of Queen Victoria. Anchored at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the vessel has deteriorated over the past century and requires urgent engineering intervention.
The Heritage Lottery Fund will contribute £2.6 million towards the repair of the ship. The contribution will cover over two-thirds of the cost of the project while the remaining amount – around £1 million – is expected to be collected through a fundraiser. The restoration effort will include preservation of the bulwarks and water bar and improving the ship’s water tightness.
“When she was built, HMS Warrior was at the forefront of marine technology, a symbol of the UK’s immense naval prowess,” said Carole Souter, chief executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund. “This Lottery grant will ensure she is safeguarded for future generations to explore and will give today’s visitors the opportunity to better understand her role in our rich naval heritage.”
Launched in 1860, HMS Warrior was the largest, fastest and most powerful ship of her kind. The ship was powered by steam and sail, and was the world’s first iron-hulled, armoured battleship, making her the pride of Queen Victoria’s Black Battle Fleet. Following an active career in the Royal Navy until 1924, HMS Warrior went on to serve as a depot ship, and then as an oil pontoon. In 1979, the ship was rescued, and plans were in place to convert into a floating museum.
HMS Warrior is the only member of Queen Victoria’s fleet to have survived until today. In 1987, The vessel was restored to its original and currently based in Portsmouth as a museum ship. Various events and workshops are held on the Warrior’s four vast decks, and the ship welcomes around 260,000 visitors each year.
The chairman of the Warrior Preservation Trust, Rear Admiral Neil Latham CBE, said: “Once complete, Warrior will provide a dynamic visitor experience, excellent community engagement and research opportunities whilst securing the future of this remarkable ship for future generations.”
Photo Credit: Ronald Saunders