ESSENTIAL repair work has begun on the RRS Discovery ship in Dundee thanks to a major funding boost.

The ship was first launched in the city in 1901 before embarking on its first mission – Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s British National Antarctic Expedition.

However, the vessel is now beset with problems such as rotting timbers as well as severe rain and water damage.

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Now, Dundee Heritage Trust, who look after the ship, has been granted £1.4 million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund to preserve the popular attraction.

Speaking to STV, heritage and exhibitions director at Dundee Heritage Trust Emma Halford-Forbes said: “The Discovery is one of the most important ships that is still around in Britain.

“It was the first ship designed for Antarctic exploration and it was built right here in Dundee. The amount of money that we’re spending at the moment, we’ve got a £1.4m grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, without which we wouldn’t be able to do this work.

“The costs have increased more than fourfold since we originally priced up this project five years ago and, with Covid and the war in Ukraine, those costs have sky rocketed.”

Specialist conservationists have been brought in to help with the project, which is expected to take a few years.

The first phase of the project will focus on the ship’s stern with a steel structure to be put up to allow engineers to remove each timber beam before they are either restored or replaced.

Conservation engineer Jim Mitchell said: “I wouldn’t call it a high risk project but it’s very much digging into the unknown because lots of the structures haven’t been seen since it was built in 1901.

“The ship is largely built out of wood and it’s an organic material that is in a constant state of flux. It absorbs water, it sheds water, so it’s changing all the time.

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“The humidity and the Scottish climate is probably harder on this ship than Antarctica was.”

The RRS Discovery will still remain open to visitors while the work is carried out.