HMS Victory (1778-Present) (RN)

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HMS Victory (1778-Present) (RN)

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Introduction

HMS Victory is a 104-gun first-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, ordered in 1758, laid down in 1759 and launched in 1765. She is best known as Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

She was also Keppel's flagship at Ushant, Howe's flagship at Cape Spartel and Jervis's flagship at Cape St Vincent. After 1824, she served as a harbour ship.

In 1922, she was moved to a dry dock at Portsmouth, England, and preserved as a museum ship. She is the flagship of the First Sea Lord since October 2012 and is the world's oldest naval ship still in commission.


Construction

In December 1758, the commissioner of Chatham Dockyard was instructed to prepare a dry dock for the construction of a new first-rate ship. This was an unusual occurrence at the time, as the Royal Navy preferred smaller and more manoeuvrable ships, and it was unusual for more than two to be in commission simultaneously; during the whole of the 18th century, only ten were constructed. Then Prime Minister Pitt the Elder placed the order for Victory on 13 December 1758, along with 11 other ships.

The outline plans were based on HMS Royal George which had been launched at Woolwich Dockyard in 1756, and the naval architect chosen to design the ship was Sir Thomas Slade who, at the time, was the appointed Surveyor of the Navy. She was designed to carry at least 100 guns and was established with that number of guns; in practice, her armament varied from 104 to 106 guns and carronades.

The keel was laid on 23 July 1759 in the Old Single Dock (since renamed No. 2 Dock and now Victory Dock), and the name was finally chosen in October 1760. In 1759, the Seven Years' War was going well for Britain; land victories had been won at Quebec and Minden and naval battles had been won at Lagos and Quiberon Bay. It was the Annus Mirabilis, or Year of Miracles (or Wonders), and the ship's name may have been chosen to commemorate the victories or it may have been chosen simply because out of the seven names short-listed, Victory was the only one not in use. There were some doubts whether this was a suitable name since the previous first-rate Victory had been lost with all on board in 1744.

Once the frame had been built, it was normal to cover the ship up and leave it for several months to season but the end of the Seven Years' War meant that she remained in this condition for nearly three years, which helped her subsequent longevity. Work restarted in autumn 1763 and she was finally launched on 7 May 1765, having cost £63,176 and 3 shillings, the equivalent of £7.53 million today. Around 6000 trees were used in her construction, of which 90% were oak and the remainder elm, pine and fir, together with a small quantity of Lignum Vitae.

On the day of the launch, shipwright Hartly Larkin, designated "foreman afloat" for the event, suddenly realised that the ship might not fit though the dockyard gates. Measurements at first light confirmed his fears: the gates were at least 9½ inches too narrow. He told the dreadful news to his superior, master shipwright John Allin, who considered abandoning the launch. Larkin asked for the assistance of every available shipwright, and they hewed away enough wood from the gates with their adzes for the ship to pass safely through. Larkin petitioned the Navy for some reward for his decisive action, "he having a large family": but, he was denied. He retired on a small pension in 1779, and died in 1803.

Because there was no immediate use for her, she was placed in ordinary—in reserve, roofed over, dismasted and placed under general maintenance—moored in the River Medway for 13 years until France joined the American War of Independence. She was commissioned in March 1778 under Captain John Lindsay but he was transferred to HMS Prince George in May 1778 when Admiral the Honourable Augustus Keppel decided to raise his flag in her, and appoint Rear Admiral John Campbell (1st Captain) and Captain Jonathan Faulknor (2nd Captain).

The Victory was armed with smooth bore, cast iron cannon. Initially she carried thirty 42-pounders (19 kg) on her lower deck, twenty-eight 24-pounders (11 kg) on her middle deck, and thirty 12-pounders (5 kg) on her upper deck, together with twelve 6-pounders on her quarterdeck and forecastle. In May 1778, the 42-pounders were replaced by 32-pounders (15 kg), but the 42-pounders were reinstated in April 1779; eventually, in 1803, the 42-pounders were permanently replaced by 32-pounders. In 1782, all the 6-pounders were replaced by 12-pounders. Later, she also carried two carronade guns, firing 68-lb (31 kg) round shot.


Reconstruction

By late 1797, Victory was stationed at Chatham under the command of Lieutenant J. Rickman. In December, unfit for service as a warship, she was ordered to be converted to a hospital ship to hold wounded French and Spanish prisoners of war.

However, on 8 October 1799, HMS Impregnable was lost off Chichester, having run aground on her way back to Portsmouth after escorting a convoy to Lisbon. She could not be re-floated and so was stripped and dismantled. Now short of a first rate, the Admiralty decided to recondition Victory. Work started in 1800, but as it proceeded, an increasing number of defects were found and the repairs developed into a very extensive reconstruction. The original estimate was £23,500, but the final cost was £70,933. Extra gun ports were added, taking her from 100 guns to 104, and her magazine lined with copper. Her figurehead was replaced along with her masts and the paint scheme changed from red to the black and yellow seen today. Her gun ports were originally yellow to match the hull, but later repainted black, giving a pattern later called the "Nelson chequer", which was adopted by all Royal Navy ships after the Battle of Trafalgar. The work was completed in April 1803, and the ship left for Portsmouth the following month under her new captain, Samuel Sutton.


Nelson and Trafalgar

Vice-Admiral Nelson hoisted his flag in Victory on 18 May 1803, with Samuel Sutton as his flag captain. The ship was not ready to sail, however, so Nelson transferred to the frigate Amphion on 20 May and left to assume command in the Mediterranean. Victory later sailed to Ushant to serve as flagship to Cornwallis, but was not required and so went to the Mediterranean in search of Nelson.

On 28 May, Captain Sutton captured the French Embuscade of 32 guns, bound for Rochefort. Victory rejoined Lord Nelson off Toulon, where on 31 July, Captain Sutton exchanged commands with the captain of Amphion, Thomas Masterman Hardy and Nelson raised his flag in Victory once more.

Victory was passing the island of Toro on 4 April 1805, when HMS Phoebe brought the news that the French fleet under Pierre-Charles Villeneuve had escaped from Toulon. While Nelson made for Sicily to see if the French were heading for Egypt, Villeneuve was entering Cádiz to link up with the Spanish fleet. On 9 May, Nelson received news from HMS Orpheus that Villeneuve had left Cadiz a month earlier. The British fleet completed their stores in Lagos Bay, Portugal and, on 11 May, sailed westward with ten ships and three frigates in pursuit of the combined Franco-Spanish fleet of 17 ships. They arrived in the West Indies to find that the enemy was sailing back to Europe, where Napoleon Bonaparte was waiting for them with his invasion forces at Boulogne.

The Franco-Spanish fleet was involved in the indecisive Battle of Cape Finisterre in fog off Ferrol with Admiral Sir Robert Calder's squadron on 22 July, before taking refuge in Vigo and Ferrol. Calder on 14 August and Nelson on 15 August joined Admiral Cornwallis's Channel Fleet off Ushant. Nelson continued on to England in Victory, leaving his Mediterranean fleet with Cornwallis who detached twenty of his thirty-three ships of the line and sent them under Calder to find the combined fleet at Ferrol. On 19 August came the worrying news that the enemy had sailed from there, followed by relief when they arrived in Cádiz two days later. On the evening of Saturday, 28 September, Lord Nelson joined Lord Collingwood's fleet off Cádiz, quietly, so that his presence would not be known.

After learning he was to be removed from command, Villeneuve put to sea on the morning of 19 October and when the last ship had left port, around noon the following day, he set sail for the Mediterranean. The British frigates, which had been sent to keep track of the enemy fleet throughout the night, were spotted at around 1900 hrs and the order was given to form line of battle. On the morning of 21 October, the main British fleet, which was out of sight and sailing parallel some 10 miles away, turned to intercept. Nelson had already made his plans: to break the enemy line some two or three ships ahead of their commander-in-chief in the centre and achieve victory before the van could come to their aid. At 0600 hrs, Nelson ordered his fleet into two columns. Fitful winds made it a slow business, and for more than six hours, the two columns of British ships slowly approached the French line before Royal Sovereign, leading the lee column, was able to open fire on Fougueux. Around 30 minutes later, Victory broke the line between Bucentaure and Redoutable firing a treble shotted broadside into the stern of the former from a range of a few yards. At a quarter past one, Nelson was shot, the fatal musket ball entering his left shoulder and lodging in his spine. He died at half past four. Such killing had taken place on Victory‍ '​s quarter deck that Redoutable attempted to board her, but they were thwarted by the arrival of Eliab Harvey in the 98-gun HMS Temeraire, whose broadside devastated the French ship. Nelson's last order was for the fleet to anchor, but this was countermanded by Vice Admiral Collingwood. Victory suffered 57 killed and 102 wounded.


After Trafalgar

Victory had been badly damaged in the battle and was not able to move under her own sail. She was therefore towed to Gibraltar by HMS Neptune for repairs. She then took Nelson's body to England, where, after lying in state at Greenwich, he was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral on 9 January 1806.

In January 1808, the Victory was reduced to a 98-gun second rate. Victory bore many admirals' flags after Trafalgar, and sailed on numerous expeditions, including two Baltic campaigns under Admiral Sir James Saumarez. Her active career finally ended on 7 November 1812, when she was moored in Portsmouth Harbour off Gosport and used as a depot ship.

It is said that when Thomas Hardy was First Sea Lord, he told his wife on returning home that he had just signed an order for Victory to be broken up. She burst into tears and sent him straight back to his office to rescind the order. Though this story may be apocryphal, the page of the 1831 duty log containing the orders for that day has been torn out. Victory was largely forgotten, except for a brief period during 1833 when she was visited by the queen in waiting, Princess Victoria and her mother, the Duchess of Kent.

In 1889, Victory was fitted up as a Naval School of Telegraphy. She soon became a proper Signal School, and signal ratings from ships paying off were sent to Victory, instead of the barracks, for a two-month training course. The school remained on Victory until 1904, when training was transferred temporarily to HMS Hercules, and in 1906 the whole school was moved to a permanent establishment at the Chatham Royal Naval Barracks.

As the years passed by, Victory slowly deteriorated at her moorings. In 1903, HMS Neptune was being towed to the breakers yard when she broke free and ploughed into Victory, holing her below the waterline. Emergency repairs were carried out to stop her sinking, but it was only the personal intervention of Edward VII that prevented Victory from being scrapped. Interest in the ship was revived in 1905 when, as part of the centenary celebrations of the Battle of Trafalgar, she was decorated with electric lights powered by a submarine moored alongside. In 1910, the Society for Nautical Research was created to try to preserve her for future generations, but the Admiralty was unable to help, having become embroiled in an escalating arms race; thus by the time Frank H. Mason published The Book of British Ships in 1911, Victory's condition was described as "..nothing short of an insult". By 1921, she was in a very poor state, and the Save the Victory campaign was started, with shipping magnate Sir James Caird becoming a major contributor.


Preservation

On 12 January 1922, she was moved into No. 2 dock at Portsmouth, the oldest drydock in the world still in use, her condition having deteriorated to the extent that she could no longer safely remain afloat. During the initial restoration period from 1922 to 1929, a considerable amount of structural repair work was carried out above the waterline and mainly above the middle deck. In 1928, King George V was able to unveil a tablet celebrating the completion of the work, although restoration and maintenance still continued under the supervision of the Society for Nautical Research.

Restoration was suspended during the Second World War, and in 1941, Victory sustained further damage when a bomb dropped by the Luftwaffe destroyed one of the steel cradles and part of the foremast. On one occasion, German radio propaganda claimed that the ship had been destroyed by a bomb, and the Admiralty had to issue a denial.

In the 1950s, a number of preventive measures were instigated, including the removal of bulkheads to increase airflow and the fumigating of the ship against the deathwatch beetle. The following decade saw the replacement of much of the decayed oak with oily hard woods such as teak and Iroko, which were believed to be more resistant to fungus and pests. The decision to restore Victory to her Battle of Trafalgar configuration was taken in 1920, but the need to undertake these important repairs meant this was not achieved until 2005, in time for the Trafalgar 200 celebrations. Victory‍ '​s foretopsail was severely damaged during the Battle of Trafalgar, perforated by upwards of 90 cannonballs and other projectiles. It was replaced after the battle, but was preserved and eventually displayed in the Royal Naval Museum.


Current Status

Listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, HMS Victory has been the flagship of the First Sea Lord since October 2012. Prior to this, she was the flagship of the Second Sea Lord. She is the oldest commissioned warship in the world and attracts around 350,000 visitors per year in her role as a museum ship.

HMS Victory, officially, has a surprisingly large crew complement, though visitors are unlikely to see any naval personnel. It is a legacy of naval legislation that all naval ratings and officers must be assigned to a ship (which may include a shore establishment – still regarded as Her Majesty's Ships by the navy). Any navy person allocated to work in a non-HMS location (such as the Ministry of Defence in London) is recorded as being a member of the crew of HMS Victory.

In 2015 HMS Victory was repainted to the correct Trafalgar era paint scheme after 72 layers of paint were analysed.

Name: HMS Victory
Ordered: 14 July 1758
Builder: Chatham Dockyard
Laid down: 23 July 1759
Launched: 7 May 1765
Commissioned: 1778
Honours and awards:
Participated in:
First Battle of Ushant (1778)
Second Battle of Ushant (1781)
Battle of Cape Spartel (1782)
Battle of Cape St Vincent (1797)
Battle of Trafalgar (1805)
Status: Active, Flagship of the First Sea Lord, Preserved at Portsmouth
Class and type: 104-gun first-rate ship of the line
Displacement: 3,500 tons
Length: 186 ft (57 m) (gundeck),
227 ft 6 in (69.34 m)(overall)
Beam: 51 ft 10 in (15.80 m)
Draught: 28 ft 9 in (8.76 m)
Depth of hold: 21 ft 6 in (6.55 m)
Propulsion: Sails—6,510 sq yd (5,440 m²)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Speed: 8 to 9 knots (15 to 17 km/h) maximum
Crew Complement: Approximately 850
Armament: (Trafalgar)
Gundeck: 30 × 2.75 ton long pattern Blomefield 32 pounders (15 kg)
Middle gundeck: 28 × 2.5 ton long 24 pounders (11 kg)
Upper gundeck: 30 × 1.7 ton short 12 pounders (5 kg)
Quarterdeck: 12 × 1.7 ton short 12 pounder (5 kg)
Forecastle: 2 × medium 12 pounder (5 kg), 2 × 68 pounder (31 kg) carronade
Royal Marines armed with muskets
Armour: None, although oak hull thickness at waterline 2 ft (0.6 m)
Notes: Height from waterline to top of mainmast: 205 ft (62.5 m)

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Re: HMS Victory (RN)

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Documentary of HMS Victory (45 minutes)


Live automated webcam of HMS Victory, Portsmouth Harbour & HMNB Portsmouth as seen from top of HMS Warrior:
http://www.hmswarrior.org/webcam

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Re: HMS Victory (RN)

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Experts recently discovered that after peeling back 72 layers of paint, that HMS Victory was painted the wrong colour after being dry-docked in the 1920's for its Trafalgar-era restoration....
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... ation.html
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014 ... n-flgaship

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Re: HMS Victory (RN)

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Museum Sets Sail on Project to Keep HMS Victory Alive
MAJOR work to preserve HMS Victory for the future is under way – and it could cost as much as £40m, The News can reveal.

A new coat of paint is today drying on the hull of the famous warship as naval historians look to return her to the way she would have looked in Nelson’s time.

But beneath the paint lies rotting timbers and a structure which is in places suffering from the effects of wind, rain and time.

After years of undertaking work to get a handle on her current state, the National Museum of the Royal Navy is now putting together a conservation programme to lay down exactly what it will take to keep the ship around for future generations.
Read More: http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/defenc ... -1-6821096

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Re: HMS Victory (RN)

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Its about time that HMS Victory was given the proper lemon-yellow and dark grey Mediterranean Fleet colours she had in 1805. That ugly orange and black scheme she has now has always been a 20th century invention.

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Re: HMS Victory (RN)

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The cost of the upgrade is estimated at £40million+. I wonder if she will be returned to active duty in the Med as we need all the ships we can get our hands on! Maybe station her in Gibraltar to replace the pathetic patrol boats we have there now. Although possibly one of the new OPV's could go there instead?

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Re: HMS Victory (RN)

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HMS Victory's hull being repainted with a historically more accurate paler shade of ochre. Recent research peeled back 72 layers of paint to discover the correct shade of paint used at the time of Trafalgar in October 1805.

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Re: HMS Victory (RN)

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New colour comparison photos.

Before:
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After:
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Photos: Portsmouth News

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Re: HMS Victory (RN)

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Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard (featuring HMS Victory) has won Best UK Attraction. It beat other nominees such as Bletchley Park, The Shard, The Harry Potter studios and Warwick Castle.
More: http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/portsm ... -1-7024621

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Re: HMS Victory (RN)

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Documentary about HMS Victory's repainting

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Re: HMS Victory (1778-Present) (RN)

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Lord Nelson's HMS Victory cabin on view

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Visitors can now see Nelson's Great Cabin as it would have looked during the time of Trafalgar, rather than the dark stained wood she had during the Victorian era.

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For the first time, visitors now have access to the Poop Deck.

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HMS Victory is undergoing a thirteen year long restoration costing £35,000,000.

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Re: HMS Victory (1778-Present) (RN)

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Isle Of Wight distillery to produce official Royal Navy strength 'HMS Victory Gin' !
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http://uknip.co.uk/2016/05/isle-wight-d ... ength-gin/

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Re: HMS Victory (1778-Present) (RN)

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21st October 2016 - Trafalgar Day, 211th Anniversary
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Re: HMS Victory (1778-Present) (RN)

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On board HMS Victory with a Go Pro

(21 December 2016)The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) are testing out a new way to make HMS Victory more accessible. Using a Go Pro, we went on board to do some filming and here's a sneak peek at what happened.

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Re: HMS Victory (1778-Present) (RN)

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An 18-month programme to re-support the world’s most famous warship HMS Victory sagging under her own weight is now underway.

HMS Victory has been sitting in a dry dock in Portsmouth since 1922 supported by 22 steel cradles positioned six metres apart. It has been well documented that the 252-year-old ship is creeping under her own weight and following a detailed laser scan of 89.25 billion measurements and computer modelling, a new support system has been designed to mimic how the ship would sit in water.

Rather than the existing steel “blades” which are placing considerable strain on the hull structure, these will be replaced by 134 15-foot adjustable steel props fitted over two levels. This will completely revolutionise the support system and share the ship’s 2000 tonnes load between them. Each prop is telescopic and features a cell monitoring the load around the clock and which is easily adjusted.

Read more of her story here: http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/hms-victory-support

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Re: HMS Victory (1778-Present) (RN)

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Happy Trafalgar Day :)

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Re: HMS Victory (1778-Present) (RN)

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So cool. Thanks for posting!!

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Re: HMS Victory (1778-Present) (RN)

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That is definitely the coolest thing I've seen in a while.

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Re: HMS Victory (1778-Present) (RN)

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The daylight version is just as impressive:

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Re: HMS Victory (1778-Present) (RN)

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A visit to HMS Victory
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Took these photos of Victory today ;)
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Re: HMS Victory (1778-Present) (RN)

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The restored condition of the ship looks great!
It's a shame that upper sections of the mast and platforms have been removed. Does anybody know when and why this removal was undertaken? And if its permanent?

Cheers

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Re: HMS Victory (1778-Present) (RN)

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More
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Re: HMS Victory (1778-Present) (RN)

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Flybri wrote:The restored condition of the ship looks great! It's a shame that upper sections of the mast and platforms have been removed. Does anybody know when and why this removal was undertaken? And if its permanent? Cheers
The masts have been removed for conservation and preservation work offsite, but they will eventually be placed back onto Victory when they're ready. It may be quite a few years before they're back though. I did see a section of the bowsprit layed down on the ground to the starboard side of Victory.

I did notice some new rust streaks down the three lower mast "stumps". A tour guide explained to me that years after Trafalgar, the Victorian's strengthened Victory's original solid pine masts with an outer iron cladding. Since the ship was last repainted in 2016, some of that iron has begun to rust through the new pale lemon coloured paint, which spoiled its look a little bit. Nothing major though.

Almost all of the original cannon have been removed. The cannon have been replaced onboard with lightweight wood or fibreglass replicas to reduce the overall weight and strain on the ship supports and hull, as Victory has been sagging for decades under its own weight in drydock, unsupported by the absent seawater. Also, many of Victory's guns were removed after she was reduced in rank from a First Rate ship after Trafalgar and replicas have been used for decades to fill in the gaps.

There are eight of the original Trafalgar era cannon on the ship if you know where to look. There is definately one on the portside middle gundeck next to the galley range as I've seen and touched it. As you can see from my photo V17, its the real thing, the black paint is worn away and solid metal is easily visible.

The topside decks (quarter, forecastle and poop decks) have "new" teak deck planking interestingly donated from the former Royal Yacht Britannia! The rear poop deck is now open to the public for the first time in Victory's career. Just underneath the poop deck, you can now also go inside Captain Hardy's cabin, positioned just behind the main wheel and near to where Lord Nelson was shot.

A bit disappointed by the sparseness of Nelson's cabin furnishings compared to how it used to look a few years ago before restoration began. It's far less "luxurious" looking now, the carpets are gone and replaced with a cheap looking black and white checkered fake linoneum tile effect floor and most of the dark stained shiny wood is gone or repainted a pale blue. Maybe the luxury wasn't really there at the time of Trafalgar and was put in by the Victorians or incorrectly by previous generations of the conservation team with idealistic artistic licence?

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Re: HMS Victory (1778-Present) (RN)

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Re: HMS Victory (1778-Present) (RN)

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^ Found a short 1920 era Pathé film reel of HMS Victory FLOATING in Portsmouth Harbour and firing gun salutes.


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