The National Museum of the Royal Navy (formerly Royal Naval Museum) has been counting visitors on-board HMS Victory since the ship opened in 1928 and is now on the lookout for the 25 millionth visitor - a special prize awaits!
88 years ago on the 12th January 1922, HMS Victory was moved into her final resting place of Number 2 Dock, His Majesty’s Dockyard Portsmouth, and the work of preservation and reversing many decades of neglect began, making it the magnificent sight that greets visitors to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard today.
Visitor records at the National Museum of the Royal Navy date back to 1928, when they welcomed 17,135 people on-board and now attracting on average 350,000 visitors a year they are approaching their 25 millionth visitor – expected to arrive August/September!
The lucky visitor will be greeted with a few surprises and a welcome aboard by Commanding Officer, Lt Cdr Rod Strathern and Director General of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Prof Dominic Tweddle. They will also win a ‘money can’t buy’ prize of tea with the Commanding Officer, a personalised tour of the ship and the dock bottom, plus a tot of rum (for the adults!) in the officer’s mess to finish the day - to be arranged at a later date.
HMS Victory was launched in 1765 at Chatham Dockyard and was commissioned in 1778. She continued in active service for the next 34 years, including her most famous moment - the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, under the command of Vice Admiral Lord Nelson. In 1812 the Victory was retired from frontline duty and anchored in Portsmouth Harbour, following a warrant from Thomas Hardy (Captain of Victory during the Battle of Trafalgar, now First Sea Lord) at his wife’s request, to save the ship from disposal.
For the next 110 years HMS Victory remained at her moorings in Portsmouth Harbour fulfilling a combination of practical and ceremonial roles. In 1922, amid fears for her continued survival and following a national appeal led by the Society for Nautical Research, Victory was put into her present dock and work began to restore her to her 1805 appearance. She remains now as the embodiment of the spirit and fine traditions of the Royal Navy.
HMS Victory is still in commission as the flagship of the Second Sea Lord in his role as Commander in Chief of the Royal Navy''s Home Command. She is the oldest commissioned warship in the world and a leading visitor attraction at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
HMS Victory is part of a ticket to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and there is currently a limited ticket offer running from Saturday 14th July - Sunday 2nd September where every child will receive FREE entry into the attractions when accompanied by a full paying adult!
Full price tickets are valid for 1 year from the date of purchase and give UNLIMITED access to HMS Warrior 1860, National Museum of the Royal Navy and Action Stations and ONE entry to all other attractions on the Historic Dockyard or BIG Ticket (return not valid on special event days). FREE child tickets benefit from the same terms but are only valid until Sunday 2nd September.
Across the Historic Dockyard attractions there will also be costumed interpreters, games, dressing-up, crafts and a trail to keep young explorers amused! For full details of the extensive year-round events programme at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard or for ticketing details to visit the attractions visit the website at: www.historicdockyard.co.uk.