Heritage and Craft Committee

This Committee’s remit is to oversee all aspects of the Society’s activities related to matters of maritime heritage and historic craft, to make recommendations to Council on policy and to provide advice on national and international developments in this field. Discharging this remit is achieved in a variety of ways and through the monitoring of numerous projects.

 

HMS Victory 

The SNR continues to support HMS Victory through its Save the Victory Fund and the Committee has noted the progress which has continued to be made with its restoration over the last year. The Heritage and Craft Committee has also noted and been impressed by the publicity there has been through the media to engage the public with this major project. Details of work on HMS Victory are due to be given later in this meeting.

HMS Victory Cutter

HMS Victory’s Cutter remains non-operational and has been since 2012. The Heritage and Craft Committee continues to feel that the operation of the cutter is not viable without the involvement of a third party, preferably one which has experience of operating and maintaining wooden boats, with the assistance of volunteers. However, former Sailing Master Keith Chittenden has initiated the production of the history of the Cutter’s operation in conjunction with former members of the Cutter’s crew and is in contact with the Editor of The Mariner’s Mirror, Dr Martin Bellamy has to how and where this might be published.

HMS Victory 1744

The role of the Committee has been to keep a watching brief only and monitor the complex and controversial developments concerning this project during the year. The SNR’s policy concerning it has been and continues to be a matter for Council. It has not proposed action by the Society following the Defence Secretary’s withdrawal of the previously agreed salvage permission for this wreck.

Clipper City of Adelaide

It is understood that conservation work has continued but that there are no plans for restoration as such. At the conclusion of this report, if he is present, I will ask the Director of National Historic Ships, Martyn Heighton if there is anything he can add.

HMS Caroline

HMS Caroline is a light cruiser and was an RNR Training Ship, at Alexandra Dock, Belfast and is the last survivor of the vessels which fought at Jutland. The Committee has been pleased to note the further funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund of a grant of £12m, enabling the National Museum of the Royal Navy to turn her into a floating museum in time for centenary commemorations of the battle in 2016.

HMS Unicorn

It has been noted that the Directors of National Historic Ships (UK) and the National Museum of the Royal Navy have been seeking to persuade the current Board responsible for the vessel to affiliate with the National Museum. Meantime, it is understood that the vessel is deteriorating which is of concern.

Steam Pinnace 199

During the year, the Society exceptionally made a donation to assist with the further restoration of Steam Pinnace 199. It is understood that it is now afloat and we look forward to its return to operational status.

Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust

PNBPT are creating a Boatbuilding & Heritage Skills Training Centre here in the Dockyard which, amongst its many benefits to the Community, it is understood will initially provide more than three hundred graduates with a recognised qualification in boatbuilding over the next five years. The courses will be directed primarily, but not exclusively, towards the construction, repair and maintenance of wooden boats.

It is understood that the facility is due to become operational this year.

Dunkirk Little Ship Count Dracula

This vessel was originally a German Admiral’s barge and somehow survived into private British ownership when the German fleet was scuttled at Scapa Flow in 1918. During Operation Dynamo, she ferried more than 700 troops from the beaches at Dunkirk to larger vessels waiting offshore. Her present owner plans to restore her to her original condition, with which SNR is not involved but a member of the Committee assisted with efforts to have her added to the Register of National Historic Ships, where she is now listed.

Yacht Peggy of Castletown, Isle of Man

This was an armed yacht built for a Mr George Quayle circa 1789. She is described as being the oldest surviving schooner and the SNR was of some assistance in 1935 in ensuring that she was not lost to the nation. She is now in the care of Manx National Heritage who have embarked on a programme of stabilisation and long term preservation. Following an approach enquiring if SNR could offer any assistance in respect of her restoration, it has been explained that SNR does not normally have funds for projects of this kind being more involved in funding and supporting research. However, the Committee is looking into whether a modest contribution towards the drawing up of a funding and restoration programme might be possible, subject to any financial initiatives which National Historic Ships (UK) might be making in this respect.