On 25th September this year, The Wellington Trust announced entry into a period of phased re-opening of the WELLINGTON.  This followed several months of closure, since April, for a period of intense maintenance and statutory compliance work.

Following this announcement, we have been overwhelmed by good wishes, positive messages and offers of support.  Thank you so much; this means a lot to those who have been committed to the actions necessary to secure the future of WELLINGTON over the last few busy months. We are genuinely buoyed by the encouraging reaction and response to our re-opening plans.

The re-opening announcement has also prompted a welcome flurry of questions in three main areas of interest:

  • Visiting and access arrangements
  • The condition and safety of the ship
  • Future events and educational activity

For reference, we have answered some of these questions.

Access to the WELLINGTON


On Monday 2nd October, we announced that WELLINGTON had entered PHASE ONE of our progress towards her planned full opening to Friends, event hirers, schools on educational days aboard, visitors, and the public for periodic exhibition access.

We shall keep you informed of each Phase reached, and of the timing of the Ship’s full opening, through our Website and LinkedIn comments  and Friends of the Wellington through direct communications.


Relevant parties with access to WELLINGTON during PHASE ONE are:

  • Wellington Trust Employees
  • Contractors]
  • The Caterers (who are currently setting up and kitting out their part of ship)
  • Shipkeepers (who will be resident onboard shortly)
  • Wellington Trust Trustees and Ambassadors
  • Those Marine organisations licensing vacant offices
  • Friends of the WELLINGTON
  • Volunteers who help with Ship preparation, including painting

If you are interested in supporting the essential preservation of WELLINGTON and want to enjoy onboard amenities, please consider becoming a Friend of the WELLINGTON.  Please contact the Trust Manager, Fiona Sparkes fsparkes@thewellingtontrust.org for further details.

Friends of the WELLINGTON have a common, and always generous, interest in helping to secure the future of the Ship, whilst enjoying onboard hospitality and a chance to meet up with other Friends in the Wardroom, at our annual AGM and Reception, on those occasions when our Royal Patron comes onboard (as is hopefully planned, to celebrate WELLINGTON’s 90th Birthday next May), and at a number of other events that we now have in planning.

We will be announcing Phase Two of the opening of WELLINGTON in the coming weeks.  Please check our website for further updates.  Alternatively, please contact info@thewellingtontrust.org for further updates via email.

Condition of the WELLINGTON

The Wellington Trust was set up in 2005 with the charitable object of preserving the former HMS WELLINGTON, the last surviving Grimsby Class Sloop, for the nation. She is on the National Historic Ships Register as number 502.

The Trust takes its responsibility for her preservation extremely seriously.

Following departure of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners from the Ship in April, the Trust commissioned extensive technical surveys and works.  These were to ensure that the Ship is compliant with fire regulations, that her fixed electrical wiring system is safe and certified as being so (which it now is) and that the fire alarm system is fully operable, fully serviceable and supported by spares (which it is).

Fire Risk Strategy: As an historic ship that has particular heritage preservation considerations when it comes to fire strategy, we sought advice from the National Museum of the Royal Navy on this matter and commissioned a specialist fire strategy consultancy that has advised on fire strategy in other heritage ships, including HMS VICTORY.  Our consultant’s recommendations have been, and continue to be implemented by the Trust.  The Conclusion in their Fire Safety Strategy Report was that The proposals outlined in this document demonstrate and meet the general standard implied by compliance with the recommendations in BS9999:2017. This level of safety, therefore, satisfies the functional requirements of the Building Regulations relating to fire safety.

The Wet Hull:  The wet hull (that part of the hull at the vulnerable wind/waterline margin and below) underwent full survey in early 2022.  The wet hull is in good condition, thanks to the Ship’s cathodic protection system, a low-voltage charge that measurably reduces corrosion of the steel hull below the waterline.  Readings taken in August this year suggest a corrosion rate of less than 0.01mm per year, which is remarkable. The process of survey and investigation is ongoing, both within the Ship and outside via divers, who are due to be onboard the Ship later this year. This fully addresses speculation and social media comments that the Ship needs “significant repairs”, has a “thin bottom”, is being “left to rust and decay” or needs to conduct “vital repairs that will likely require a period in dry dock.”

Insurance:  WELLINGTON has full Protection and Indemnity and Hull & Machinery insurance cover from our longstanding insurers.  I take the opportunity to thank both A & J Gallagher Ltd, our marine brokers, and our Lloyd’s underwriters, The Shipowners P&I Club, for their advice and continued support when our insurance cover was put under immediate threat, back in April, following the departure of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners from the Ship.

Events and Education

Events and Hospitality

WELLINGTON has new caterers who are now onboard, re-equipping and fitting out their part of the Ship in readiness for Phase Two.  Full details of the event space for hire will be published soon.  They will be managing all catering and hospitality bookings and events onboard and are ready now to discuss these with interested parties.  Please contact  info@thewellingtontrust.org for all enquiries and booking requests for event and hospitality onboard WELLINGTON.


WELLINGTON is also a floating classroom, and our unique education programme will now return to life.  Our Education Committee is busy working on reinstating our popular education programme, and new bookings for these education days onboard are already in the diary.  If schools and colleges would like to be updated on our progress with this, please contact the Trust's Education Development Officer, Mrs Rebecca Swan, at edo@thewellingtontrust.org

The former HMS WELLINGTON, a national treasure, is statutorily compliant, safe to visit and return to, and fit for purpose for all to enjoy as she continues to grace that part of the River Thames on the Embankment where she has lain since December 1948, fifty yards from the geographical centre of London.

We look forward to seeing you onboard again soon!