Her Royal Highness boarded HMS Warrior to formally open the HLF project with the cutting of cake. Princess Alexandra then had an opportunity to meet trustees, donors, staff and volunteers and witnessed displays showcasing the work of a number of community engagement projects. This included Year 11 students from Redwood Park School who have been working with textile designers to create Warrior inspired block printed designs, as well as The Fluid Motion Theatre Company who presented a drama workshop ‘The Ship’s Players’.
Princess Alexandra, Patron of HMS Warrior Preservation Trust, previously visited in the ship in July 2007 and has been a continuous supporter. Royal connections have been longstanding, in March 1863 Warrior escorted the royal yacht that bought Her Royal Highness’ great grandmother, Princess Alexandra of Denmark, to Britain to marry the Prince of Wales. Princess Alexandra of Denmark requested that the Admiral Sir Michael Seymour convey that “she was much pleased” with the conduct of the ship’s crew. The message was engraved on a brass plate fitted to the ships wheel and can still be seen there today.
Tim Ash, Chief Executive and Captain of HMS Warrior 1860 commented: “It was a great pleasure for us to welcome Her Royal Highness on board to formally start our preservation project. Everyone was very touched by the interest she showed in our work and the activities we support, such as the school groups who joined us today.”
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded £2.6million to the HMS Warrior Preservation Trust to conserve and repair the bulwarks and water bar that serve to make watertight the junction between the deck and iron hull. These have failed and are deteriorating to a point which places the future of the ship at significant risk. The project aims to carry out essential conservation work to replace the bulwarks and water bar on both sides of the upper deck. This complex and skilled work will now be undertaken in sections over the next two years and will safeguard both the ship and ongoing public access.