New ship model provides 'astonishing insight' into the history of HMS Unicorn

15 March 2022
Close-up view of the unicorn sculpture at the head of the ship
The Unicorn Preservation has released a striking image of the 1824 ship HMS Unicorn, giving intriguing insights into its construction.

The Unicorn Preservation Society (UPS) received a grant from Historic Environment Scotland in 2020 to develop interpretation and materials around the data created by ongoing survey works of the ship.

Since 2020, a number of projects have gone ahead to support the next stage of preserving HMS Unicorn with the aim to eventually drydock Unicorn in the East Graving Dock in Dundee. The ship has now been surveyed by laser, photogrammetry and sonar by survey company Niras, has had every accessible timber surveyed by shipwrights Nielsens, and the 3D data and timber data collected has fed into a structural model developed by Fenton Holloway for a structural analysis of the ship.

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Matthew Bellhouse Moran, HMS Unicorn manager, said: “These surveys and models will give us the most complete picture of Unicorn’s condition and structural integrity since the ship was launched in 1824. Historic Environment Scotland, through their Coasts and Waters Heritage Fund, have made funds available to process the data we have received into interactive interpretation and materials so that visitors, both in-person and online, can have a better understanding of the ship’s construction and its current condition.”

Working with AOC Archaeology, the UPS has achieved one of the first milestones in creating a complete model of the ship. This model allows for an 'astonishing insight' into the structure and construction of the ship, in a way which is not possible without these modern methods.

As the project progresses, those interested in supporting HMS Unicorn and the Unicorn Preservation Society can help with the process of preserving the ship by making a donation or getting involved as a Friend, Patron or volunteer. Please visit the HMS Unicorn website to learn more.