HMS Trincomalee: Figurehead of oldest warship afloat to be restored

HMS Trincomalee Image copyright HMS Trincomalee
Image caption HMS Trincomalee celebrated its bicentenary in 2017

A wooden figurehead of the oldest warship still afloat is to be restored.

The so-called Turbaned Man was carved for HMS Trincomalee, which itself was built of teak for the Royal Navy in India in 1817.

The vessel is now the main attraction of the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Hartlepool.

More than £55,000 is to be spent restoring the figurehead, which has been in storage since damage was discovered in the late 1980s.

The vessel was brought to Hartlepool in 1987 and restored over 10 years after spending more than 100 years in private ownership.

Image caption The 1854 figurehead has been in storage for decades

The Turbaned Man was the second figurehead to be made for the Trincomalee and dates from 1845.

It was carved by Dorset-based Hellyer & Son and depicts a native of Sri Lanka where Trincomalee is also the name of port.

A replica of the figurehead is currently in place on the vessel.

The four-month restoration will be carried out in Hartlepool and include the replacement and re-carving of decayed timber and the reinstatement of original colours.

The figurehead will then be wall mounted at the museum.

Clare Hunt, curator from the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Hartlepool, said: "We are delighted to be able to get this object, which is so significant to the history of HMS Trincomalee, restored and on display.

"Even in his present state, the figurehead is an engaging and colourful character who I'm sure our visitors will fall in love with."

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