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. 

Friday, 16 January 2015

Flood protections go in

Geoff, Kev and Colin, MNH Technicians, have just installed temporary flood defenses outside Peggy's cellar. These should see us through the upcoming high tides until we get Peggy out in ten days time...

Looking towards Peggy in her cellar

Looking away from the cellar door, across the dock

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Coconut Conservation

I am currently preparing exhibits for the new Quayle Gallery at the Nautical Museum. The idea of the gallery is to tell the story of Peggy and of George Quayle during the absence of the boat itself.
We are planning to show some of the objects from last year's archaeological dig. Some, like this coconut (one of two), are rather unusual.

Drinking coconut with marine accretion

It would appear that the conservation of marine archaeological coconuts is a new or at least rare discipline! Would the two hundred year-old coconuts (fashioned as posh drinking cups) shrink and crack when dried out? Would sea salt destroy them as they dried?
To counter any possibility of the latter they have been soaked for several months in clean water. I measure the amount of salt in the water regularly to see at what point it is at a negligible level.
One of the coconuts was squashed and split when we found it. I am now allowing this one to dry, and I'm recording the width of the cracks and splits to see if they change as it does so. I'm not expecting any dramatic changes, after all and as my colleague Matthew Richardson pointed out, coconuts have evolved to withstand long periods floating in the sea - it's a primary means of propagation.

Monitoring the split coconut while it dries

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Deadline Dawn

I often recall the title of Anthony Booth's hostage drama Deadline Dawn at times of intense activity and pressure. Our sixth form production of it was stoked with hysterical tension and was totally over-cooked.
Readers would be surprised therefore to witness our calm, in spite of the fact that we are working furiously in the lead up to removing Peggy, finally, from her cellar on the 28th of this month (January 2015).
The Conservation Facility is in our possession now and we will be painting the floor next week. I will be buying material to make a temporary, insulated, climate-controlled enclosure there for Peggy. In the next few days we'll be installing flood barriers at Peggy's cellar to protect her from the tidal flooding predicted for 22nd/ 23rd of January, and we will be preparing the scaffold platform outside the cellar for Peggy, and putting up a temporary roof over the yard to protect her from the wind and rain. Gallas Foundry are making last minute adjustments to the lifting cradle. The crane and lorry drivers are lined up to undertake the lift and transport, and the necessary road closures are in place. Our staff photographer will be on-hand to record the proceedings and we will be filming the lift from a remote controlled drone.

As Harrison Ford might say, "punch it, Chewie".