The bulwarks and water bar that serve to make watertight the junction between the deck and iron hull 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.
A Victorian powerhouse, launched in 1860 HMS Warrior was the pride of Queen Victoria’s notorious Black Battle fleet. The world’s first iron-hulled, armoured warship, she was the largest, fastest and most powerful ship of her day and rendered every other warship afloat instantly obsolete. In the 1980s she was fully restored before being towed into Portsmouth Dockyard and opened to visitors.
These restoration works are part of a wider £3.6m project ‘HMS Warrior 1860 – Revealing the Secrets of Shipwrights and Sailors’. The project will also digitise the archival collections and enhance the visitor experience to the ship with exciting new interpretation. This secured funding also provides a great opportunity to create valuable new learning resources with a wide reaching programme of opportunities including outreach, community and volunteer projects, training and skills.
Carole Souter, Chief Executive of HLF, said: “When she was built, HMS Warrior was at the forefront of marine technology, a symbol of the UK’s immense naval prowess. 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.”
Cdr. Tim Ash, Captain and Chief Executive of HMS Warrior 1860, said: “The Warrior Preservation Trust is delighted with this successful bid. Not only will the funding allow the ship’s essential preservation to get underway, but also the opportunity to introduce more for the visitor to see and learn about HMS Warrior’s extraordinary history”
Rear Admiral Neil Latham CBE, Incoming Chairman of the Warrior Preservation Trust, thanked his predecessor Rear Admiral David Bawtree CB DL CEng for his outstanding leadership of this complex project, and added; “This is excellent news for HMS Warrior. It is very rewarding to see that years of dedication are paying off with this secured support from the HLF. 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. This good news is not just for HMS Warrior 1860 but for the Historic Dockyard and the region.”
Welcoming over 260,000 visitors each year, the conservation team at HMS Warrior is about to embark on a major fundraising campaign to raise the remaining £1 million in order to see the project through to completion.