Financing the Preservation of Historic Ships: should the UK Taxpayer Pay? An Overview of Past, Present and Future Policy
Historic ships help to define our national pride and represent our glorious traditions. A survey of ship preservation in the UK reveals a mixed story with successes and failures. Attempts to create a coherent policy on preserving ships have suffered setbacks. Tables set out the distribution of public funds to ship preservation projects. The age-old debate about what amounts to a ship preserved in authentic condition still continues. It is complicated by attempts to re-create our heritage to provide an ‘authentic experience’. The US and Norway provide international comparators. There need to be strict boundaries to what the UK taxpayer should finance. Future ship preservation must be more strategic and business-like, focusing on a limited number of genuinely historically significant vessels which have a clear public benefit.