£50M for HMS Victory

News Archive

6th March 2012
 
In a ground-breaking enterprise the Ministry of Defence has decided to transfer the custodianship of HMS Victory, the world’s most iconic ship, to the HMS Victory Preservation Trust, a charitable trust established as part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy to ensure the preservation of Nelson’s flagship at Trafalgar for future generations.
 
The move has been heralded by the announcement of a £25 million capital grant to support the new Trust by the Gosling Foundation, an amount which the Ministry of Defence has agreed to match with a further £25 million. This endowment totalling £50 million, with the opportunity of further charitable donations, will ensure that Victory will remain the centrepiece of the nation’s maritime heritage, continuing as a commissioned ship of the Royal Navy under her Commanding Officer and ship’s company.
 
Victory will remain the flagship of the Second Sea Lord until, as previously planned, she is made the flagship of the First Sea Lord. This enhancement in Victory’s status will reinforce the ship’s continuing special position within the Royal Navy.
 
The Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Charles Montgomery, said today: “The ship has been at the heart of the Royal Navy for centuries and is symbolic of the fighting ethos and values of the Service. These are as important and relevant in current times, for example in Afghanistan, Libya and the Gulf, as they were
at the time of Trafalgar.
 
“I am absolutely delighted with this initiative. It will significantly enhance the way in which Victory can be preserved for the benefit of the nation and future generations, while retaining her links with the Royal Navy. She will be in the hands of an organisation which will look after her unique status and has all the professional experience that her continued and enhanced preservation requires. On behalf of the Service, I am immensely grateful to Sir Donald Gosling and the Gosling Foundation for their generosity in making this possible.”
 
“This is fantastic news,” said Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, Chairman of the NMRN. “The National Museum of the Royal Navy is the Navy Board’s adviser on naval heritage and therefore we are the ideal charity to oversee the Trust that will be looking after this world-famous historic warship.
 
“The Headquarters of the NMRN is adjacent to the ship on a site where there has been a naval museum presence for over 100 years and where the ship lies alongside other heritage jewels such as the Mary Rose and HMS Warrior 1860 in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The Museum’s mission is both to educate and enhance the experience of the many millions of visitors to HMS Victory by displaying many of the artefacts relating to the ship and the Battle of Trafalgar.”
 
Talking of the donation by the Foundation in his name, Sir Donald Gosling said: “HMS Victory is a national icon and I feel privileged that the Gosling Foundation is part of this project to ensure its future for the Royal Navy and for the Nation.”
 
The maintenance of the ship was given a significant boost last October when BAE Systems Surface Ships were awarded a £16 million contract to support HMS Victory. The contract involves the most extensive restoration since the ship returned from the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and has already provided a greater understanding of the material state of the ship than ever. This work will continue and become the responsibility of the new Trust.
 
A 100-gun first-rate ship of the line, Victory was launched in Chatham in 1765. Her crowning place in history came 40 years later when she won fame as Vice Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar. This resounding triumph for the Royal Navy was instrumental in the defeat of Napoleon; led to Britain’s control of the seas for over 100 years; and provided the basis for much of the prosperity from which we still benefit today.
 
With the demise of the Navy’s wooden walls, she languished as a training vessel anchored in Portsmouth Harbour. In the 1920s her future was secured for the nation by the Society for Nautical Research when she was brought into dry dock in Portsmouth Naval Base. She was restored to the condition in which she would have fought under Nelson and opened to the public.
 
The only surviving example of an 18th century ship of the line, Victory has gained international renown and over the decades has been visited by millions of sightseers from Britain and the wider world.

HMS Hermes returning from the Falklands