The Conservation Blog - HMS Warrior has top of mizzen mast removed

The first blog post

Welcome to the first post from The Conservation Blog! We'll be posting tales from The National Museum of the Royal Navy's museums, ships, collections and special projects.

As the UK’s only National Museum of the Royal Navy, we are custodians of the epic story of the Royal Navy, its impact on Britain and the world from its origins in 625 A.D. to the present day.

Within the Royal Navy there are four fighting forces - the Royal Marines, the Fleet Air Arm, the Submarine Service and the Surface Fleet, each with a history to tell.

This year, The National Museum of the Royal Navy is 10 years old and we’re starting this blog because we want to share more stories from the many teams that work so hard behind the scenes.

We want to show you the stories, the people and the artefacts that are the backbone of our museums and conservation work.

A decade of conservation work is an honour and a privilege - we're preserving the most incredible parts of history for future generations to enjoy, and that is worth sharing!

Within The National Museum of the Royal Navy there are currently 12 attractions across five locations...

  • • Portsmouth Historic Dockyard - home to HMS Warrior, HMS Victory, HMS M33 and Action Stations
  • • Explosion Museum of Firepower in Gosport, Portsmouth
  • • The Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport, Portsmouth
  • • The National Museum of the Royal Navy - also within the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth
  • • Fleet Air Arm Museum, in Somerset
  • • The National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool
  • • HMS Caroline in Belfast

This blog is a fantastic way to celebrate such a landmark moment for the organisation. It gives us the opportunity to tell you all about the exciting and important projects we're working on and the chance to show you a bit from behind the scenes.

New look for HMS Warrior

We thought we’d start with the latest conservation project we’ve been working on.

Take a look at what we've been up to in our latest video featuring master rigger, Andy Hodder Smith.

Wednesday 13 November 2019 was a big day for us, as the next stage of conservation work started on HMS Warrior.

The Victorian ship has a new look for winter as the top of mizzen mast, along with part of her bowsprit was removed for essential restoration.

The mast and rigging of Britain’s first iron-hulled, armoured battleship are 35 years old and were last repaired 20 years ago, so it's definitely time for some TLC! This is another stage of a wider £3 million project to conserve Warrior.

It's been pretty exciting too, as we've had to navigate a large crane through Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and position it alongside on the Warrior jetty. Not an easy task we can assure you!

We needed the crane to remove the large top section of the mizzen mast – the mast at the stern or back of the ship – leaving the lower mast in place.

The structural beams on the mizzen fighting tops need replacing and to achieve this, three yards, one gaff, the topgallant mast, top mast, tops platform and lower mast rigging needed removing.

The lower mast will remain supported by temporary rigging and while the spars and rigging are down they will be refurbished or replaced.

The martingale - part of the bowsprit, the spar or pole extending from the front, or bow of the ship is also being removed, along with the spritsail gaffs or spreaders.

Gone, but not for long

The mast is coming down but this work is truly important in making sure HMS Warrior lasts for years to come.

The salty sea air and windy conditions in Portsmouth Harbour take its toll so she'll look a bit different over the next couple of months but, trust us, it's definitely worth it!

Our plan is to reinstall the restored mast and rigging during Spring 2020. This will depend on the weather and the tides, keep an eye on the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Facebook page as this is where the most up to date information about conservation work is posted.

As a charity one of our biggest focuses is, of course, fundraising. If you want to support Warrior’s conservation project you can click on the ‘Donate Now’ button on www.nmrn.org.uk

We hope you’ve enjoyed a little insight into the work that’s happening and The Conservation Blog’s first post.

There’s going to be regular posts from various departments and people within the conservation team, so keep an eye on the ‘News & Events’ section on nmrn.org.uk

 

HMS Hermes returning from the Falklands