Hampshire & Isle of Wight

HMS Victory £16m restoration begins at Portsmouth Dockyard

HMS Victory in Portsmouth
Image caption Engineers started preparation works on the ship in July, which included removing the masts and booms

A £16m restoration of the warship used by Lord Nelson in the Battle of Trafalgar has begun.

BAE Systems has been awarded a five-year contract to overhaul HMS Victory in a project that will preserve it for the coming decades.

Engineers started maintenance work in July to prepare the 246-year-old vessel at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for the renovation.

The work will include repairs to the middle-gun deck.

A fire suppression system will also be installed and planking will be replaced.

'Greater insight'

The project is one of the most extensive restorations of the warship since it was damaged in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Prior to the renovation work starting, the masts, booms and rigging were removed.

John O'Sullivan, BAE Systems project manager for HMS Victory, said: "It's our intention to keep the ship open as we carry out the rest of the work.

"The restoration will give the visiting public the opportunity to gain an even greater insight into the build of this iconic vessel."

Work will be carried out in partnership with subcontractors Bell Rigging, of London, and Gloucester-based T Nielsen & Company, who will carry out traditional specialist shipwright work and joinery.

Work to build HMS Victory began in 1759 and the ship was launched from Chatham Dockyard in Kent in 1765.

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