Monday, 14 March 2016

Peggy Technical Committee Meeting

Last week we were fortunate enough to host a meeting of the Peggy Technical Committee, a group we have set up to advise and inform us on her conservation. The input of professionals with a broad and profound knowledge of comparable projects is really important to us. Conservation Projects in the UK (which this isn't) that attract charitable grant funding from the National Heritage Lottery Fund or other comparable bodies (which it cannot) would generally expect this level of 'peer review' to be visited upon them. Despite our relative isolation we want to 'get it right' at every level (documentation, analysis, diagnosis, remedial work, presentation), and we are aiming for an exemplary standard in every area. Obviously this will not be easy, but we have behind us the good-will of our colleagues, the support of our Trustees and the keen interest of local politicians and the general public, so we are off to a great start.

John Kearon (shipwright and conservator), Charles Barker (Mary Rose Archaeological Services) and Martyn Heighton (Chair, National Historic Ships UK) generously gave up two days from their busy schedules to visit Peggy on the Isle of Man and discuss the issues we face. Broadly these include:
1. Have we correctly diagnosed Peggy's state of conservation?
2. Is what we are proposing reasonable and proportionate?
3. Is our plan for eliminating Peggy's rusted fixings feasible and proportionate?
4. Do we need to remove the modern over-paint from Peggy?
5. How dry does she need to be to save her?
6. What are the risks of drying her and how can we lessen them?
7. How should we eventually display her?

Here are some photographs of us on the day.....

L-R Martyn Heighton, John Kearon & Charles Barker
The three visitors inspect Peggy's original keel

Matthew Richardson, Chris Weeks and Edmund Southworth from MNH
The Committee were broadly supportive of our approach but certainly keen to challenge us on the detail. I really enjoyed the day we spent together and learned an enormous amount. With respect to those outstanding issues we moved on quite a bit in the course of our discussions. The proposal to remove Peggy's nails was unanimously agreed upon, and trials will commence this summer. A further matter upon which our experts were adamant is that Peggy should be displayed with her masts up. The implications of this will need to be taken into account when, in due course, we commission an architect to look at issues and options for display (a very tall building would be required).

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