A wooden foremast from HMS Victory featuring a hole punched into it by a cannonball during the Battle of Trafalgar is to go on public display.
The previously unseen piece is set to be one of the star exhibits as the HMS Victory: The Nation’s Flagship gallery reopens at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on May 17.
A life mask of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson that was taken in Naples in 1798 and later used to produce a marble sculpture of him by Anne Seymour Damer is also set to be among the key attractions, along with a classical figurehead that was once appeared on the bow of HMS Minerva (1820).
Two historic ships, including Lord Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory and King Henry VIII’s Mary Rose, are based at Portsmouth.
The gallery is set to highlight the story behind HMS Victory as one of the Royal Navy’s most famous warships and her role in the Battle of Trafalgar.
The ship currently has a dual role as the Flagship of the First Sea Lord and as a living museum to the Georgian Navy.
Organizers say that construction and conservation will be major themes among the displays, which will compare ship-building skills 200 years ago and the painstaking work that is still undertaken today.
Andrew Baines, executive director of operations for the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) and lead curator on the new gallery, said: “Visitors love HMS Victory, and they never tire of her story.
“Even those who think they know all about the ship will discover something new.”
Tickets can be bought for timed slots to see the exhibition.