Scotland's oldest ship reopens to visitors after £100,000 revamp

HMS Unicorn - built in 1824 - still requires a more extensive restoration.

One of the world’s oldest ships is reopening as a visitor attraction in Dundee following a £100,000 revamp.

HMS Unicorn, which first launched in 1824, was shut to the public while undergoing urgent roof repairs to keep it watertight.

The museum will, however, close again once £1m has been raised for a more extensive refurbishment.

Missing and rotting timbers still need to be replaced, while engineering works are also required.

Matthew Bellhouse Moran, director of the museum at the city’s Victoria Dock, welcomed Tuesday’s reopening.

He said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the ship once more, and we thank our many supporters for their patience.

“It’s been a long period of closure – but one that was necessary for the urgent roof repairs to be completed.”

HMS Unicorn arrived in Dundee in 1873.Contributed

Unicorn arrived in Dundee in 1873 as a training ship for the Royal Navy reserves – a role she carried out until the 1960s.

Originally constructed as a 46-gun frigate at Chatham Royal Dockyard, she is now the oldest ship left in Scotland, and one of the six oldest in the world.

The ship recently received a £100,000 donation from The Headley Trust and £20,000 from American billionaire John Paul DeJoria to help fund the full restoration.

Once complete, HMS Unicorn will become the centrepiece of the new Dundee Maritime Heritage Centre.

The trust behind the ship, The Unicorn Preservation Society, is offering half-price entry for all tickets until March 21, and free visits for school groups over the next six months.

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