‘The Most Original Ship in the World’
Collection Care Audit of the HMS Unicorn in preparation for an AIM preventive conservation grant application.
The HMS Unicorn
The HMS Unicorn is a Leda class timber sailing frigate, built for the royal Navy in the Royal Dockyard at Chatham and launched in 1824 with a number of radical structural improvements aimed at improving the strength by selectively substituting iron for timber. The ship was not required for immediate service at sea, and instead was roofed over and held in ‘Ordinary’ (reserve) for a number of years, before being taken to Dundee to became an RNR Training Ship. She is now owned by the Unicorn Preservation Society and berthed in Victoria Dock in Dundee, and was identified as ‘the most original ship in the world’.
The Collection Care Audit involved an assessment of the collections on display and in storage on board, and identified priorities for the preservation and care of the collections, including completion of collection documentation, improvement of storage (with options for on- or off-ship storage), monitoring of environmental conditions and improvement of the display methods.