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RRS discovery to host historic ships roadshow

A public consultation meeting aimed at gathering views on the UK’s most significant surviving historic ships is to be held at Discovery Point, the home of RRS Discovery in Dundee this weekend (Saturday 3 June 2000).

The roadshow aims to explain the background to the Core Collection of Historic Vessels of the United Kingdom. The list, which will be finalised at the end of this year, will cover the most significant ships still based or operating in UK waters and will be taken from the National Register of Historic Vessels (NRHV), which was set up by the Scottish Institute of Maritime Studies at the University of St Andrews, on behalf of the National Historic Ships Committee.

The event, which will include a 30-minute presentation by the National Historic Ships project team and a question and answer session, will give everyone concerned about the future of historic vessels the opportunity to air their views on the proposed selections.

Speaking of the Dundee roadshow, the last in a series of public consultation events held throughout the UK, Dr Robert Prescott of the University of St Andrews said, “These public meetings are important for the Project Team. They provide valuable feedback on the outcome of our five-year research project. The previous meetings, in Belfast, Bristol, Ipswich, Liverpool, London and Newcastle, have generated lively discussion about a wide range of issues affecting historic ships and we are looking forward to a good turnout in Dundee, which holds an important position in Scotland’s maritime heritage. Views expressed by people at the meeting will be taken into account by the National Historic Ships Committee when they meet to make the final selection of vessels for the Core Collection, which will be published later this year”.

As well as hosting the event, RRS Discovery is one of the ships named in the draft Core Collection. Captain Scott’s famous polar exploration ship was built by the Dundee Shipbuilders’ Company for the Royal Geographical Society in 1901 and was one of the last wooden three-masted ships built in Britain and the first to be constructed specifically for scientific research. Since RRS Discovery returned to Dundee, a major programme of restoration has been undertaken by Dundee Heritage Trust, the charity which owns the vessel and its neighbouring award-winning visitor attraction Discovery Point.

Dundee Heritage Trust Chief Executive Alan Rankin believes that the vessel’s inclusion in the draft Core Collection confirms her importance to the country’s maritime heritage.

Mr Rankin said, “We should be absolutely clear that RRS Discovery is one of the most significant ships within the UK’s maritime heritage. Her inclusion in the Core Collection would be a fitting tribute to one of the greatest ships that set sail from our shores. RRS Discovery not only took the renowned explorers to some of the most inhospitable areas of the world but served generations of scientists who, in their time, were working at the cutting edge of research. Her life continues today, giving visitors an insight into the heroic age of exploration at the beginning of last century. As we approach her centenary in 2001, the international reputation and role of RRS Discovery within the local community continues to grow”.

To be included in the Core Collection, which will be a valuable management tool in formulating national policy towards the preservation of historic ships, vessels require to meet certain criteria. As well as being based/operating in the UK, they will be vessels of pre-eminent national importance, spanning the spectrum of achievement of UK waterborne transport history and illustrating changes in construction and technology. They will also merit a high priority for long-term preservation and a greater degree of support than other vessels.

Note to Editors:

You are invited to send a reporter/photographer to the roadshow at the Falcon Suite of Discovery Point, Dundee at 2pm on Saturday 3 June 2000. The event is expected to last 2 hours.

Ends

Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information please contact Claire Grainger on 01334 462530 or 07730 415 015 or Damon Rhind on 01382 562883 or 07730 415 016 Ref: sims.dundee/standrews/chg/31may2000

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