Nelson’s flagship – HMS Victory is best known for her role in the Battle of Trafalgar. However, she currently has a dual role as the Flagship of the First Sea Lord and as a living museum to the Georgian Navy.
On assuming custodianship of Victory in March 2012, the National Museum of the Royal Navy resolved to approach the ship’s conservation in accordance with the guidelines set out in UK National Historic Ships’ publication ‘Conserving Historic Vessels’. These guidelines call for a sequential approach: stabilise the ship, improve understanding, assess and document the ship’s significance, plan the conservation project and then execute that plan.
Previous works carried out on the ship were more akin to maintenance and repair, and really very similar to what she would have experienced 150-200 years ago. Now it is something closer to the way a historic building or national trust property would be approached. “We do as little as possible, but as much as is necessary,” says Andrew Baines, Curator & Project Director – HMS Victory, National Museum of the Royal Navy. “There is a fine line that you have to tread to protect your asset and make sure that it is safe and looked after, but not do so much that you end up with a replica ship.”

To find out more, visit DryDock’s sister magazine PCE-International, where the article can be found here.