Conservation of HMS Warrior

Conservation of HMS Warrior
"If every warship in the 19th century still existed and was available for preservation Warrior would still be my first choice". Sir John Smith



As a pivotal Royal Naval ship, Warrior had not been forgotten. In 1967 people first started to talk about restoring Warrior. Prominent in this campaign was John Smith, at the time MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, who had formed the Manifold Trust five years earlier to restore threatened items of our national heritage.

Even the House of Commons heard of Warrior's fate. MPs were told that Warrior could serve as "a potent source of education and inspiration for our children...."

Smith's drive and persistence led to a committee, chaired by the Duke of Edinburgh, meeting in 1968 to discuss Warrior's future. From this emerged the Maritime Trust, formed to raise money for the preservation of our naval heritage. Following the announcement that the oil depot would close in 1978, and that Warrior would no longer be needed, Sir John Smith agreed that the Manifold Trust would underwrite the cost of restoration, estimated between £4-8 million, and the ship was handed over to the Maritime Trust in 1979.

Warrior was towed 800 miles to Hartlepool where the world's largest maritime project ever undertaken then began.

In 1983 ownership was transferred to the Ship's Preservation Trust, which became the Warrior Preservation Trust in 1985.



HMS Warrior Home Coming

There were mixed emotions in Hartlepool as the town bid farewell to the ship that had spent seven years in its care.

In the afternoon of Friday 12th June 1987, Warrior was pulled by tugs from her moorings and she began the four day journey back to Portsmouth. Tankers, ferries and trawlers turned out all along the east coast to salute her. In the English Channel, she had a memorable encounter with HMS London, the Royal Navy's newest vessel. London signalled the message "The Navy's newest ironclad is in company with the oldest... I hope we look as good as you at your age"

On June 16th 1987, 58 years after she left Portsmouth in a terrible state, Warrior made her triumphant return. As she came slowly towards the narrow entrance to Portsmouth Harbour an armada of small boats greeted her, guns fired, klaxons sounded, crowds cheered, fireworks exploded, and thousands of red, white and blue balloons filled the air.

It could have been when, as the pride of the fleet, she had first stirred the country's imagination.

After an hour of careful manoeuvring, she entered her berth. At 5:45pm the tow rope was dropped and Warrior was home to stay - taking her place within Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.




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