Flagships of the Year appointed

Posted by Chris Graham on 27th July 2023

National Historic Ships UK has appointed six historic vessels to act as its Flagships of the Year, flying the flag for maritime heritage.

Flagships of the Year

Flagships of the Year: The passenger vessel Lady of the Lake was built in 1877 and operates on Ullswater in the Lake District. She was one of the original ships of the Ullswater Steam Navigation Company, that was founded in 1859 to transport goods, mail and passengers up and down Ullswater.

The latest news from National Historic Ships UK (NHS-UK) is that it has appointed six historic vessels to act as its Flagships of the Year for 2023, and ‘fly the flag’ for maritime heritage. The vessels chosen are as follows: 

Swan, a former Shetland fishing vessel converted to a sail training

Lady of the Lake, a Victorian steamer believed to be the oldest working passenger vessel in the world 

The Chieftain, a former Barmouth lifeboat which now offers public boat trips from Whitstable 

HMS Caroline, the last remaining survivor of the Battle of Jutland, now a museum ship in Belfast 

LV21, a 40m, steel-hulled lightship which now operates as an art, culture and performance space and is moored at Gravesend

Marjorie R, a former West Yorkshire coal barge converted into a floating bookshop in Leeds Dock.

Flagships of the Year

The ‘Fifie’ Swan was built in 1900 in Lerwick, Shetland, and fished under sail until 1935.

The 2023 Flagships received special broad pennants to fly at the masthead as well as brass plaques. Each Flagship held flag-hoisting ceremonies during June and July to celebrate their new status. NHS-UK’s annual Flagship Awards have been running since 2009, and provide an opportunity to celebrate the value of historic vessels to the wider public. This can be through a variety of online activities, events, open days, workshops and tours. 

The 1963-built, steel-hulled light vessel LV21 at Gravesend, Kent, was recognised by the NHS-UK for its year of planned celebratory activities to commemorate the 60th anniversary of its launch, including public open days.

Applications were received from a range of operational and static vessels on the National Registers, based on their seasonal programmes and planned level of outreach. The Flagship status was awarded to six very different craft, of which three are operational and three are static vessels.

Flagships promote the role of National Historic Ships UK by publicising its annual Photo Competition, Excellence in Maritime Conservation and Marsh Volunteer Awards. They will also be flying the flag as ambassadors for the UK’s maritime heritage sector. 

The Chieftain was built in 1948 and is now based in Whitstable, Kent, offering day trips as part of her 75th anniversary. She retains 90% of her original timber and all her original fittings.

NHS-UK is a government-funded independent organisation which gives objective advice to UK government and local authorities, funding bodies, and the historic ships sector on matters relating to historic vessels, and it maintains the National Register of Historic Vessels, which lists over 1,500 historic craft. 

This feature comes from the latest issue of Ships Monthly, and you can get a money-saving subscription to this magazine simply by clicking HERE


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