Weekly 'Snaps': Maintaining Britannia

Britannia's dedicated Maintenance team work 363 days of the year on a rolling programme of preservation and restoration. Their overarching philosophy is one of perfection, ensuring everything is done correctly, as would have been expected when Britannia was in service to The Queen and Royal Family.

Britannia is now owned and cared for by a charitable trust. All surplus funds from ticket salesevents, the Tea Room and Gift Shop go back into this preservation work, to ensure she is here for future generations to enjoy.

Below you'll find a photo diary from our Photographer in Residence, Ruth Armstrong, which shows the various tasks the team undertake each week.


Photography has always played an important role on Britannia. While she was in service, there was always a Yottie appointed, nicknamed 'Snaps', to take photographs of life on board the Royal Yacht.

In keeping with this tradition, we now have our own Photographer in Residence, Ruth Armstrong, who has been capturing our very own Weekly 'Snaps' - a collection of snapshots of life around the ship today.

April 2018

14 - 20 April: This week, Gary sanded the edges of a Perspex board before attaching the Royal Tour supplement. Tony secured a rope in place on the Verandah Deck awning, as Mark L. fitted a new filter for the No.6 Air Handling Unit. Martin repaired a scupper board, whilst Mark S. fitted beading around a pillar in the Junior Rates Dining Hall and Jay framed the new onboard staff Laundry.

7 - 13 April: Ian, Stuart and Dean S. worked on the flange for the Royal Galley drainage, whilst Mark L. fabricated the seating for the washing machines in the new onboard staff Laundry. Jay framed the new staff Laundry, as Gary fitted a new panel in place in the Junior Rates Dining Hall and Martin repaired a scupper board.

March 2018

31 March - 6 April: With the ship’s binnacle undergoing a complete refurbishment, Paul A. removed old base paint and prepped the binnacle for the fine paintwork and gold leafing to follow. Martin and Jay re-fitted a handrail on the Port side Verandah Deck. Mark L. worked on a base plate for the seating in the new in-house Laundry, whilst Ian carried out his monthly checks on the Activity Boat. Stuart fitted a temporary repair to one of the Royal Galley drainage pipes and Ian adjusted the hinges on the new gate on the pontoon.

24 - 30 March: This week, Martin and Jay washed down the Starboard hull, whilst Mark S. sanded the wooden panelling from Royal Nore. External contractors, Greco-Tech, had to be called in this week to replace Britannia’s snapped halyard. Meanwhile, Martin from our Maintenance team, repaired a scupper board. Mark L. manufactured a seating for our in-house laundry machines and Stuart tightened the adjustable pipe clamp in the Boiler Room.

17 - 23 March: Tony applied a black undercoat to areas of silver primer on the Royal Brow. Stuart worked in the Junior Rates Shower Room checking the drainage, whilst Martin and Jay fitted the repaired scupper boards on the Verandah Deck. Martin then changed a lightbulb in the Wheelhouse display in the Visitor Centre. Gary made a flexible vent for the punkah louvres and a connection piece. Mark S. added silicone to seal the joint and fitted the vent in place. On the pontoon, Jay and Ian measured the space for a new gate. 

10 - 16 March: Ian carried our winterisation checks on the Royal Barge, as Mark L. tightened up the belt tensioner. Stuart vacuumed a water leak from the washing machines, whilst Tony prepared the dress ship flags for changing during the summer. Martin repaired a scupper board and Jay gave a Verandah Deck handrail a light sand, prior to varnishing, as Paul D. ran a cable to the Security Suite.

3 - 9 March: Paul A. worked on preparing the Ship’s Binnacle for gold leafing, as Ian grinded and soldered the bow plate from the Admiral’s Fast Motor Launch. Gary manufactured and fitted panels in the Junior Rates Dining Hall, whilst Dean M. painted the Junior Rates Scullery. Dean S. painted drain pipe work from the Royal Galley and Ian repaired a silver candle stick.

February 2018

24 February - 2 March: This week, Tony cleaned the Royal Barge, as Martin cleared the bolt threads on the handrails. Tony and Martin re-fitted the handrails on the starboard Shelter Deck and port side Verandah Deck. Dean S. dug an access trench to the forward access gate, whilst Ian and Tony loaded the air compressor to take to Royal Nore. Tony washed down the hull and Solomon painted the perimeter fence.

17 - 23 February: Martin moved the newly varnished handrails back to the Shelter Deck, as Tony checked a life jacket. Ian machined the shaft couplings from Royal Nore, whilst Gary fixed strapping in the Junior Rates Dining Hall. Mark L. and Dean S. re-positioned a small lathe in the engineer’s workshop and Stuart painted in the electrical workshop. Martin repaired some scupper boards, as Gary removed a redundant bracket in the Junior Rates Dining Hall. 

10 - 16 February: This week, Jay sanded and oiled scupper boards from the Verandah Deck, whilst Paul A. sanded and prepared handrails, prior to varnishing. Stuart fitted and riveted the non-slip tread in place on the gold level gangway and Ian continued work on the ring spanner, to enable removal of the shaft locking nut from The Royal Nore. Mark L. manufactured a rabbit’s head tool, used for welding, as Tony and Mark S. worked in the Junior Rates’ Mess.

3 - 9 February: This week, Tony worked on a new gold rope barrier for the Grand Staircase, as Paul A. continued to varnish the final pieces of the display units for the Gift Shop. Mark S. re-fitted the soap dispenser and air freshener in the Visitor Centre toilet, whilst Martin sanded a scupper board. Stuart measured and cut the non-slip tread for the lift tower gangways, before Dean S. riveted them in place. Ian assembled a jacking fitting to assist removal of the shafts from The Royal Nore.

January 2018

27 January - 2 February: Mark S. removed the mirror from the Visitor Centre toilets before Dean M. painted the walls. Jay worked on the top of a rope box as Martin removed the damaged sections of the scupper boards from the Verandah Deck. Martin buffed a brass end cap for a handrail, whilst Ian removed the grub screws from the propellers from The Royal Nore, in preparation for collection to be repaired. Stuart cut the non-slip treads for the lift tower gangways and Ian manufactured a ring spanner, to remove the shaft locking nut from The Royal Nore.

20 - 26 January: Tony and Ian measured the mast on Bloodhound, whilst Mark S, Gary and Paul A. prepared and varnished new wall display units and side panels for the Gift Shop. Martin glued wooden plugs to the handrails, before Jay sawed off the excess wood. Jay and Dean M. removed varnish from the handrails and passage way door. Stuart dismantled the lathe in the electrical workshop, before relocating it to the engineer’s workshop.

13 - 19 January: Mark S. replaced the door handle on a toilet door in the Visitor Centre, whilst Stuart lifted and re-laid the popped tiles in the Laundry. Jay prepared a handrail from the Starboard Shelter Deck for varnishing and added the brass end cap back in place. Nigel washed down the Quarter Deck and scupper boards on the Verandah Deck, as Mark L. removed redundant ventilation trunking from No.1 Fan Space. Tony washed down the Fo’c’sle whilst Mark S. worked on a new display unit for the Gift Shop.

6 - 12 January: Jay retrieved the two fenders from Royal Nore as Tony and Mark L. re-aligned the plate at the bottom of the Laundry gangway. Ian worked on a new plinth and Stuart removed the No. 1 pump from the after Sewage Treatment Space. Dean S. grouted new tiles in the Royal Galley, whilst Gary repaired a door lock. Mark S. and Gary moved a completed display unit for the Gift Shop, as Jay and Martin took down some Christmas decorations. Gary made a new display door for the Bridge Chart Room. 

1 - 5 January: The New Year got off to a busy start for the Maintenance team too, as Ian checked dimensions on HRH Prince Philip’s former Royal Racing Yacht Bloodhound. Martin fitted handrails on the Royal Bridge as Paul A. painted fine details on to the cypher. Mark S., Gary and Ian built a display unit for the Gift Shop whilst Jay and Martin worked on the Quayside fence. 

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