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Scottish timber will help HMS Victory’s restoration

15 February 2016
Wood from three Scottish woods will help preserve Britain’s most treasured historic warship.

Owners of three estates in Aberdeenshire – Dunecht, Haddo and MacRobert Trust – are collectively felling 11 elm and ten oak trees and shipping the wood south and donating the wood to HMS Victory.

Nelson’s flagship at Trafalgar is in the middle of a 15-year conservation project  – and requires the very finest materials to ensure she survives a further 250 years.

The elm timbers will be largely used to maintain Victory’s hull below the waterline, especially her keel, or used to build new gun carriages.

The oak will be used to replace planking – but it must undergo up to four years of ‘seasoning’ in the rope walk in Portsmouth Naval Base so it is dry and strong enough to bear the strain of hundreds of thousands of people walking on it every year.

It demonstrates the serious archaeological research we are undertaking about the ship’s composition, from timber to paint analysis and our commitment to ensure she remains sustainable for centuries to come

Andrew Baines, National Museum of the Royal Navy

When Victory was built more than 250 years ago, it required the wood of more than 5,500 oak trees to complete the man o’war.

Over the years and through various conservation projects, much of that original timber has been replaced a variety of hardwoods.

“The return to oak is much welcomed,” said Andrew Baines, head of historic ships at the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

“It demonstrates the serious archaeological research we are undertaking about the ship’s composition, from timber to paint analysis and our commitment to ensure she remains sustainable for centuries to come.”

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