Chris Owen –
A quarter of a century ago today, one of Portsmouth Harbour’s landmark sailing ships left the city for what turned out to be the last time.
Twenty-five years ago the teak Training Ship Foudroyant arrived in Hartlepool to undergo a £10.5m restoration which lasted 11 years.
Today this 195-year-old wooden frigate is visited by about 50,000 people a year.
For decades she was a familiar sight moored in Portsmouth and was used by many children to learn seagoing skills.
But TS Foudroyant fell victim to changes in nautical training, and also a reduction in numbers of schoolchildren requiring the seagoing skills she offered.
However, as the second oldest ship afloat (only the USS Constitution, berthed in Boston, is older) it was decided, in 1986, that restoration was a fitting fate for this priceless relic from the age of sail.