HMS Victory's 'exciting transformation' opens up new areas to the public


Visitors will be able to "follow in Nelson's footsteps" thanks to a major refresh of HMS Victory, which has enabled major areas to be opened up to the public for the first time.

As part of a multi-million pound conservation project which has seen the 250-year-old warship repainted in its original colours, the route for visitors around the iconic warship has been redesigned and expanded.

The public will now be able to ascend on to the Poop Deck to view Victory's surroundings in the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, walk around Nelson's Great Cabin as well as see Captain Hardy's Cabin displayed for the first time as a working captain's accommodation.

On the Orlop Deck, the area has been simplified to prevent over-sentimentalising the legend of Nelson with the Devis painting of "The Death of Nelson" having been removed for conservation and display off the ship.

Another new area is a carpenter's store where visitors can learn about the toll the Battle of Trafalgar had on Nelson's flagship.

The length of the visitor route has been increased by an estimated 80% thanks to the revamp.

Andrew Baines, head of historic ships at the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN), said: "This is the most exciting transformation of one of the world's most iconic ships in nearly a century.

"The story of HMS Victory, and of Nelson, is now being told in a completely fresh way. The idea is to show visitors the ship as Nelson would have seen her, as part of an exciting new journey around his flagship."

As well as the new visitor experience onboard, the NMRN is launching a new exhibition "Sparring with Time" which tells the story of the history of the ship and its legacy.

Professor Dominic Tweddle, NMRN director general, said: "Victory is iconic and it is very much cherished by the thousands who visit her every year. In fact, 28 million people have seen her since she arrived at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

"Now people can see her in a completely new light. Visitors will get to experience her anew, and see all of the wonderful areas of the ship that could not have been accessed until now.

"They will be able to follow in the footsteps of Nelson, and get a real picture of what life was like onboard Victory as she went to Trafalgar."