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HMS Victory: Conserving A Piece Of Maritime History

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Two men in Vinci Response hi vis jackets looking at HMS Victory.

It’s been an exciting time for our technicians in our new home city.

As you may know, earlier this year we moved our headquarters along the south coast to a new facility at Central Point in Portsmouth.

Portsmouth is a city steeped in maritime history and home to one of the world’s most iconic naval landmarks.

As part of a monumental conservation and renovation effort, we are delighted to embark on a significant clean-up contract at the heart of this national maritime treasure, HMS Victory.

Victory Live: The Big Repair

Our work is focusing on clearing dirt, algae, and weeds from the ship’s dry dock, the oldest operational dry dock globally, dating back to 1922.

This meticulous cleaning is a crucial preliminary step for the upcoming stonemasonry preservation works, part of a larger £35 million conservation and renovation programme for HMS Victory (read more about the ongoing project).

The dry dock itself, a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade I listed building, is facing challenges such as water leakage, structural cracks, corrosion, and the impacts of climate change.

Vinci Response’s involvement extends beyond the ship, encompassing the repair and restoration of the dry dock.

This comprehensive approach aligns with the conservation project’s goal to protect both the ship and the dry dock, enhancing their educational and cultural value.

It’s a 20-year process which got underway in 2016, and we are delighted to be playing a small but significant part in the renovations.

What We’re Doing & How We’re Doing It

A Vinci Response technician working on the HMS Victory.

Our technicians are employing a specialist form of cleaning known as DOFF, a process using steam where pressure and temperature are carefully controlled.

The DOFF machine superheats water to create steam at high temperatures, making it an ideal method for cleaning stone surfaces.

You can read more about the process here.

In the case of HMS Victory’s dry dock, this technique proves effective in removing various contaminants, including paint and biological matter, such as mosses, lichens, and algae.

The temperature, typically set to 150 degrees Celsius, can be adjusted to suit different types of stonework substances, ensuring a tailored approach to the specific needs of the historic structure.

Proud To Help Conserve HMS Victory

We are incredibly proud to be entrusted with the monumental task of helping conserve the rich maritime history embodied by HMS Victory.

This project is not merely a cleaning endeavour but a commitment to safeguarding a national treasure and a testament to our dedication to heritage conservation.

Being chosen for such a significant role underscores the trust placed in Vinci Response’s expertise and professionalism.

We take immense pride in contributing to the legacy of HMS Victory and the historic dry dock, knowing that our work plays a vital part in ensuring these treasures endure for generations to come.

It is an honour to be part of this journey.