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After living in London for 40 years, there's not much that I want to revisit, having now settled in rural Suffolk. However, preserved ships are a particular favourite, having survived my early years in the shipping magnet of the Gosport-Portsmouth-Southampton triangle.   We led the world in naval and merchant shipping development over the last 3-400 years, but we've preserved very little of it, the Victory, Mary Rose and Belfast being famous examples among so few. Perhaps it's because ships take up huge chunks of real estate, and have greater value as scrap than the perceived value to the nation's heritage (our many brilliant museums are stuffed with smaller items). Most of what we do have has only been preserved - or discovered - by a stroke of luck, like the Mary Rose.  As a child, I remember the old Napoleonic 'Wooden Wall' Foudroyant lying in Portsmouth Harbour for many years, rumoured to be a prison hulk. Then one day, it wasn't there any more. The last, beautiful late-WW2 battleship HMS Vanguard, gleaming at the head of the Reserve Fleet, should have been preserved for the nation but was scrapped in 1960. An island nation that has preserved almost none of its vital naval heritage.  The Cutty Sark survives only because of a generous donation to the country (but only just, after several fires). It's such a shame that it's not afloat, to be seen in the full glory of its lines, as are preserved sailing ships from so many other nations...                      
After living in London for 40 years, there's not
much that I want to revisit, having now settled
in rural Suffolk. However, preserved ships are
a particular favourite, having survived my
early years in the shipping magnet of the
Gosport-Portsmouth-Southampton triangle.
We led the world in naval and merchant
shipping development over the last 3-400
years, but we've preserved very little of it, the
Victory, Mary Rose and Belfast being famous
examples among so few. Perhaps it's because ships take up huge chunks of real estate,
and have greater value as scrap than the perceived value to the nation's heritage (our
many brilliant museums are stuffed with smaller items). Most of what we do have has
only been preserved - or discovered - by a stroke of luck, like the Mary Rose. As a child, I
remember the old Napoleonic 'Wooden Wall' Foudroyant lying in Portsmouth Harbour
for many years, rumoured to be a prison hulk. Then one day, it wasn't there any more.
The last, beautiful late-WW2 battleship HMS Vanguard, gleaming at the head of the
Reserve Fleet, should have been preserved for the nation but was scrapped in 1960. An
island nation that has preserved almost none of its vital naval heritage. The Cutty Sark
survives only because of a generous donation to the country (but only just, after several
fires). It's such a shame that it's not afloat, to be seen in the full glory of its lines, as are
preserved sailing ships from so many other nations...
After living in London for 40 years, there's not much that I want to revisit, having now settled in rural Suffolk. However, preserved ships are a particular favourite, having
survived my early years in the shipping magnet of the Gosport-Portsmouth-Southampton triangle. We led the world in naval and merchant shipping development over the last
3-400 years, but we've preserved very little of it, the Victory, Mary Rose and Belfast being famous examples among so few. Perhaps it's because ships take up huge chunks of
real estate, and have greater value as scrap than the perceived value to the nation's heritage (our many brilliant museums are stuffed with smaller items). Most of what we do
have has only been preserved - or discovered - by a stroke of luck, like the Mary Rose. As a child, I remember the old Napoleonic 'Wooden Wall' Foudroyant lying in Portsmouth
Harbour for many years, rumoured to be a prison hulk. Then one day, it wasn't there any more. The last, beautiful late-WW2 battleship HMS Vanguard, gleaming at the head of
the Reserve Fleet, should have been preserved for the nation but was scrapped in 1960. An island nation that has preserved almost none of its vital naval heritage. The Cutty
Sark survives only because of a generous donation to the country (but only just, after several fires). It's such a shame that it's not afloat, to be seen in the full glory of its lines,
as are preserved sailing ships from so many other nations...
After living in London for 40 years, there's not
much that I want to revisit, having now settled in
rural Suffolk. However, preserved ships are a
particular favourite, having survived my early
years in the shipping magnet of the
Gosport-Portsmouth-Southampton triangle. We
led the world in naval and merchant shipping
development over the last 3-400 years, but we've
preserved very little of it, the Victory, Mary Rose
and Belfast being famous examples among so
few. Perhaps it's because ships take up huge chunks of real estate, and have greater value as
scrap than the perceived value to the nation's heritage (our many brilliant museums are
stuffed with smaller items). Most of what we do have has only been preserved - or
discovered - by a stroke of luck, like the Mary Rose. As a child, I remember the old
Napoleonic 'Wooden Wall' Foudroyant lying in Portsmouth Harbour for many years,
rumoured to be a prison hulk. Then one day, it wasn't there any more. The last, beautiful
late-WW2 battleship HMS Vanguard, gleaming at the head of the Reserve Fleet, should have
been preserved for the nation but was scrapped in 1960. An island nation that has preserved
almost none of its vital naval heritage. The Cutty Sark survives only because of a generous
donation to the country (but only just, after several fires). It's such a shame that it's not
afloat, to be seen in the full glory of its lines, as are preserved sailing ships from so many
other nations...

Cutty Sark

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