Monday, 25 January 2016

Things we didn't know before

We lately received the results of paint analysis of Peggy and of George Quayle's cabin room in Peggy's boathouse. Crick Smith, the company undertaking the analyses, has done a great job and come up with some super results.
The paint layers confirm that Peggy and the cabin room were built at the same time as each other, and that the same paint was used on both so that one echoed the other. It would appear that in the 1790's Peggy was painted a creamy colour on the hull exterior, with the rubbing strakes (thin timber bands down each side) picked out in black. The lower part of the hull (under the water) was tarred black. There was a thick, green band running around the top and across the transom (the decorative board at the back of the boat). It was on top of this that the gilded lettering 'PEGGY' was applied. The cream/ green/ black colour scheme was used in the cabin room. Inside the boat, the bilges (below the water line) were tarred black and the rest of the interior was a bright, deep red.
In or around 1802 George modified Peggy by making her taller. He repainted her at this time in a dark-yellow ochre paint with black highlights. Again, the decor in the cabin room was changed to compliment the boat. We can also see that, contrary to received opinion, George continued to use Peggy in her modified form for up to eight seasons, until no later than 1810. As soon as I can I'll post some mock-ups so you can see how she would have looked. Crick Smith are also helping me investigate the safest and most effective means of removing the modern over paint from Peggy.

Meanwhile, this week we have researchers from UK consultancy Hutton & Rostron inspecting Peggy. They are going to report on her timbers: what species of wood are they and what kinds of decay have they suffered? They'll also help devise a strategy for drying Peggy safely .

Monday, 30 November 2015

Schools meet Peggy

The past few weeks we have been opening the doors of the Peggy Conservation Facility to members of the public and to school groups. About 200 of the former and 100 of the latter. Now that Peggy is unboxed and the Conservation Facility is completed (including toilet - "for this relief much thanks" as the Bard put it)*, things are beginning to happen at long last.
Here are some photographs of Chris Weeks entertaining the troupes.

Students from Michael School are introduced to Peggy

The children inspect the sliding keel slots
It's not very warm in there...

"Count the colours"
The kids discuss the paint cross sections

Vocation missed....

* Pedants' corner: Hamlet (1.1.10), Francisco to Barnardo

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Action at last!

In January 2015 Peggy was moved to her new conservation facility in Douglas on the Isle of Man. In anticipation of further work on that building, she was boxed-up in an environmentally conditioned container, and that's exactly where she has stayed since. 
The good news is that we at Manx National Heritage have been far from idle in the intervening 7 months, planning the upcoming stages of the yacht's stabilisation and preservation. Finally, too, this week we have local fabricators Wilson and Collins Ltd. building the partition that will create the workshop enclosure for Peggy, along with a mezzanine office and viewing platform.

New workshop steel-work goes in

Peggy in the background (boxed). The office wall, at the moment, is missing!

 As soon as W&C are finished we can deploy the humidification plant in the workshop and un-box Peggy into an atmosphere that will prevent her from drying for the time being. It looks likely that we'll need to do most of the work on Peggy in an atmosphere fairly dripping with moisture. Heigh-ho. 

My wild flower planting outside the workshop brightens up the industrial state a little 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Monday, 9 February 2015

Climate control

Now Peggy is safely tucked up in bed in her new home, I am concentrating on making the transition from her former one as comfortable as possible.

This is the enclosure in which she is sitting.

It's assembled from 50 mm foil-backed insulation panels screwed to a timber frame, and it is very close-fitting to the boat. Air humidified to 85% (relative humidity) is fed in though ducts on the port side (we're using a Defensor PH28A humidifier). Self-closing vents on the starboard side allow the release of excess pressure from the sealed enclosure. Because of this positive pressure we've not needed to worry about sealing every joint in the enclosure, though we could always do so if I think the enclosure isn't maintaining the desired level of humidity. For now it seems the efficiency of the enclosure is very high, because the humidifier appears only to have deployed once. Peggy herself of course presents 1.5 tonnes of humidity-buffering material containing 17-20% water, so perhaps it's not surprising we're not putting the machinery under too much stress! The conditions inside and outside the enclosure are monitored continually with Eltek GD10 radio sensors. I'm also recording the wall and floor temperatures using GD21 sensors with thermocouple probes, and there are flood sensors surrounding the humidifier in case it springs a leak. All the data is fed to a networked logger that is accessible over the internet. By these means I hope to make the management of humidity and it's eventual reduction as tightly controlled and energy efficient as possible.

Plant and equipment supplied by Novatron Scientific Ltd. (UK).

Monday, 2 February 2015

Big sister

I spotted this on the BBC website this morning,  featuring an interview with Andrew Baines whom I met lately in Belfast.  Though the scale is very different,  the problems are similar.
HMS Victory is 'slowly rotting away from the inside' -

Success at last!

Well, we finally did it! Six years in the planning, three days in execution. Everything went very smoothly and, since pictures speak louder than words, I make no apology for the following...

Setting out the rail lines

Removing the 1950 concrete threshold

Welding the central rail

Cutting steel for rail extensions

Testing Geoff Mitchell's jockey-wheels

Peggy emerging from the cellar with inches to spare

Free at last!

Laying out the steels for the lifting cradle

MNH staff building the lifting cradle...

... and working into the night to complete it.

Ready for lift off, complete with masts and spars

A great lift by Mann Crane Ltd, Isle of Man

Into Bridge Street

Along the street to the waiting truck

Loaded for transport

In the new conservation facility

Building a climate-controlled enclosure for temporary storage

Boxed-up safely

L-R: Geoff Mitchell, Kevin Kinnin, CW, Colin Cowie.