Dundee Heritage Trust - RSS

  • RSS Discovery Rigging Conservation Project
  • Grant Awarded: £50,000
  • Board approved: January 2017

A detailed inspection of the rigging, masts and spars of RRS Discovery has identified serious problems with rot, degradation and structural integrity. Repair work needs to be carried out as a matter of urgency. The repairs will involve removing the upper fore and main masts, spars and bowsprit along with the rigging, with much of the work being carried out offsite by specialist contractors T Nielson of Gloucester. The work is expected to take around eight months.


RSS Discovery Rigging Conservation Project

The RRS Discovery is of enormous international significance and is a unique survivor of the ‘Heroic Age’ of Antarctic exploration. Built in Dundee for the British National Antarctic Expedition of 1901-04 under the command of Robert Falcon Scott, Discovery was the world’s first ship to be specifically constructed for scientific research and for work in the polar regions, and incorporates a number of unique design features. Later used as the research vessel for the Discovery Oceanographic Expedition (1925-27) and the British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE, 1929-31), RRS Discovery is the only surviving vessel that is associated with such a long line of pioneering Antarctic explorers and scientists as Captain Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton, Sir Alister Hardy and Sir Douglas Mawson.

Since her return to Dundee in 1986, the RRS Discovery has become the city’s premier visitor attraction, now welcoming over 50,000 visitors a year.

As an unrivaled example of British Antarctic heritage, the experience offered to visitors as they tour the ship gives a remarkable insight into the life of a polar explorer at the start of the 20th century. In addition, the RRS Discovery is an exceptionally inspiring venue for the 5000 school pupils who visit annually for tours and workshops, often as part of a classroom topic on polar lands and explorers.

Preserving and maintaining the physical structure of the RRS Discovery is an integral part of Dundee Heritage Trust’s dedicated aim of bringing to life the story of our pioneering Antarctic explorers and the ships they sailed on. 


We support UK and overseas polar institutions and individuals with grant aid towards outreach and education projects that fulfil the mission of the Trust.

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We are very keen to promote the important heritage work that we do, telling the story of life in Antarctica both past and present. If you are interested in running a story about us, using our images or films or want to discuss an interview or potential collaboration opportunity we would love to hear from you.  Please contact either Sarah or Lewis at Limewash to discuss your requirements sarah@limewash.co.uk or +44 (0)1223 813 557.