1992-2001 Scottish Maritime Museum

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Scottish Maritime Museum

In September 1993 the City of Adelaide was slipped on a slipway near the Scottish Maritime Museum. From then a programme of work was planned and operated on two fronts. The first was the preservation and restoration.  The second was to allow public access and good quality interpretation.

To following restoration activities were undertaken

  • Removal of the 1923 additional superstructure.
  • Main deck sealed to protect lower decks from rain.
  • Removal of a large quantity of silt from the hull interior. Everything removed was checked for items of archaeological interest.
  • Removal of part of the concrete skin applied to the inner sides of the vessel.
  • Removal of remaining ballast, which was sorted and stacked on shore.
  • Recording of the weight of all rubble and other materials removed from the ship in order to facilitate the lightweight calculations.
  • Geological survey of the ballast and report on materials.
  • Survey of the timber skin and decking by specialist Non Destructive fine drilling techniques.
  • Spectrographic survey of iron framing.

In the late 1990s, Scotland obtained its own parliament.  A side effect of this is that previous UK funding sources for the Scottish Maritime Museum dried up.  This then had a snowball effect on the Scottish Maritime Museum.  An application for funding for the Museum’s other major project, under the UK Heritage Lottery Fund, was rejected.  Due to the eroded revenue position, the local municipality then reduced its funding, and then other grant aiding organisations adopted a similar position.

In 1999, all work on the City of Adelaide stopped and the shipwrights were moved to other projects.  An appeal to the Scottish Office prevented the museum from going into liquidation.  In September, the Museum Trustees received a report that looked at the current structure and funding of the museum.  The City of Adelaide was singled out in the consultants study as a "Scottish" project that required greater support than that of the museum alone.  The study recommended that, if the Trust failed to raise sufficient funds, the vessel should be offered for sale to other organisations with access to the resources to fund the restoration. Should that fail then the Trust should apply to demolish the structure.

In May 2000, the Trustees of the Scottish Maritime Museum applied to North Ayrshire Council for consent to demolish the Listed Building City of Adelaide.  The Council subsequently received over 100 objections to the Museum's application to demolish the vessel.  For the first time the Authority received objections from other countries.  There were representations from nine significant worldwide organisations who are involved in the history and preservation of ships.  Many Members of the UK and Scottish Parliament’s objected as well as Australia’s Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Senator Robert Hill.

The North Ayrshire Council refused demolition in February 2001.

The Scotish Maritime Museum was therefore left in a dire financial predicament with rental for the slipway beginning to accrue.

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