HMS Victory Museum
Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
The HMS Victory (1737) was the last first rate ship of the line to be equipped with a full complement of bronze cannon, one hundred in number, and is the only wreck site of a First Rate Royal Navy warship with an intact collection of cannons known in the world.
The proposal is to site a new museum within Dock 4 at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard next to the new Mary Rose museum. The main display would be of the guns. Other artefacts from the ship, if recovered, would be conserved, restored and displayed in an adjacent entrance pavilion.
The proposal is to display all the guns together in context in the open air, in a dramatic setting to maximize access and visibility. Galleries will be arranged to match the shape and profile of the original gun decks. As many of the 100 bronze guns that can be recovered will be positioned on each deck to match their original location on replica carriages fabricated in resin to ensure they are not interpreted as being real.
The 100 bronze guns were the main feature of the ship and the entire ship’s structure was built around the gun decks. Our proposal picks up this concept, providing decks for the guns in the positions where they would have been on HMS Victory.
Not wanting to replicate the ship structure, these new gun decks have however a clear reference to the setting out, structural lines and position of those of the ship.
Walkways and ramps will be arranged around and in-between the gun decks to enable visitors to see the guns at every level. If it proves necessary to enclose the structure then this can be achieved with a lightweight tensile fabric suspended from the supporting cables and side wall glazing.
Dock 4 is a scheduled ancient monument and the proposed structure sits within it with minimal interference to the existing dock. It is suggested that the dock remains flooded to hide the structural bases sitting on the bottom and removing the need to seal the culverts.