Saturday, 25 May 2024
Saturday, 25 May 2024

National Treasure HMS Unicorn receives largest donation to date

THE Unicorn Preservation Society, the charitable trust behind national treasure HMS Unicorn, has received its biggest single donation to date, £100,000 from The Headley Trust, to help fund the much-needed restoration of Scotland’s oldest ship.

One of the Sainsbury Family of Charitable Trusts, The Headley Trust has provided a welcome boost to fundraising efforts, with the donation amounting to 10% of the total £1 million financial investment needed for immediate conservation repairs to HMS Unicorn. These include structural weaknesses within the ship that need strengthening, as identified by recent extensive surveying and structural analysis of the ship.

The £100,000 will go specifically towards the replacement of missing or rotten timbers and engineering works to strengthen the ship’s weakest points and follows a significant donation of £20,000 by American entrepreneur and self-made billionaire, John Paul DeJoria, for the same purpose. The work will be completed in advance of the ship being moved to dry dock for major conservation works.

The popular museum and visitor attraction is temporarily closed to the public, undergoing urgent roof repairs. A temporary steel roof has been installed on the ship to ensure it is kept wind and watertight for the next five years until it can be treated properly. Once the necessary funds have been raised for the repairs and the structural work has been undertaken, the ship will be moved to East Graving Dock in Dundee from its current location, as part of Project Safe Haven. Project Safe Haven will see HMS Unicorn forming the centrepiece of the new Dundee Maritime Heritage Centre.

Museum Director, Matthew Bellhouse Moran, said:

“This very generous £100,000 donation by The Headley Trust is an incredible boost to our fundraising efforts to raise the £1 million we need to make the ship structurally safe, replacing rotten and missing timber from the hull of the ship, which will ensure a safe move to dry dock to continue with the much-needed conservation efforts. We are extremely grateful for this donation, which brings us a step closer to achieving our vision of HMS Unicorn becoming a central attraction of the new Dundee Maritime Heritage Centre, as part of Project Safe Haven.”

The Headley Trust is a charitable trust which supports Arts and Heritage projects in the UK, including regional museums and galleries, archaeology, arts education and conservation of industrial, maritime and built heritage, and the display, study and acquisition of British ceramics.

First launched in 1824, HMS Unicorn is the third oldest ship in the world and has been under the care of the Unicorn Preservation Society since 1968. Scotland’s only preserved warship, the Unicorn Preservation Society is working to protect and preserve HMS Unicorn for future generations to enjoy.

To support the preservation of HMS Unicorn, please visit:


Join our FREE mailing list and receive our Weekly Digest bulletin and other updates direct to your inbox.

Related News

Skip to content