Hartlepool tourist attraction HMS Trincomalee’s transformation is almost complete

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A historic vessel is nearing the end of its latest makeover.

Hartlepool tourist attraction HMS Trincomalee – the oldest warship afloat in Europe – has been given a fresh look just in time for summer.

The exterior of the ship has been painted in the historically correct shades of black and a creamy white, making it look even more like when she was first launched nearly 205 years ago.

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The paintwork is also helping to preserve the vessel by waterproofing it.

Workers are secured by harnesses as they paint the vessel.Workers are secured by harnesses as they paint the vessel.
Workers are secured by harnesses as they paint the vessel.

Clare Hunt, senior curator at the museum said: “The ship is great and everyone likes its slightly different colour.

"It looks more like an historic vessel, because it’s not quite bright white.

"I think people like seeing things going on showing that we look after the ship.

"People are interested to know how it’s cared for.

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Gilder Nigel Searle applying gold leaf paint.Gilder Nigel Searle applying gold leaf paint.
Gilder Nigel Searle applying gold leaf paint.

"The painting doesn’t just make it look nice, it does also help waterproof it, which is really important.

"It’s very, very nice.”

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HMS Trincomalee, which is at the heart of the National Museum of the Royal (NMRN) Hartlepool, at the town’s Marina, was built in India for the Royal Navy in 1817.

Seven painters have been working to spruce up the ship over the past six weeks.

And there was an added challenge as three of them had to use ropes and hang over the edge to paint the sides of the ship.

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Clare said: “It’s quite a tricky job hanging over the edge painting at the same time.”

To complete the task, the team needed 600 litres of primer coating, 115 litres of black paint, 50 litres of white paint, 10 litres of green paint and 10 litres of maroon paint – plus 2,500 gold leaves.

The work was carried out by Industrial Coating Services and the painters’ tasks included a significant amount of re-caulking of the ship’s sides – sealing failed seams which are letting in water.

Although there are a couple of finishing touches left, Clare has said visitors are welcome to view the vessel.

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With the school summer holidays approaching, visitors to the museum are urged to buy tickets in advance at www.nmrn.org.uk/book-your-visit.

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